Occupy Thanksgiving: Steal, Forage & Barter Your Way To An Off-the-Grid Holiday Dinner

Though your oven is already yawning for a twenty-seven pound steroidal turkey in a way that will grotesquely foreshadow your Uncle Jerry's reaction to the drumstick you'll wave in front of his face tomorrow, you, like the other 99 percent (and some self-loathing members of 1 percent) of Americans who will celebrate Thanksgiving this year, are paralyzed with the guilt of feasting on a bounty packaged, processed, and marketed by corporate America. Right about now, all of you conscientious consumers might be politely shaking your heads, smiling patronizing smiles, and saying, "Oh, well I bought my turkey at an organic farm where the turkeys aren't slaughtered — they're lullabied to a peaceful death by an empathetic farmer." That's not what I'm talking about. I'm going to provide you with a (mostly) fool-proof guide of ways to spend absolutely nothing on your Thanksgiving dinner and thereby wriggle out of the greasy clutches of the corporate food giants that are eating all of our jobs.

  • If you're brave and you don't have any misguided scruples about inconveniencing that corporate fucker who lives next door to you and is always getting really fancy Brookstone packages delivered to his door, steal as much of your meal as you can. People have been stealing ever since they've been greedily hoarding, so it's really not that big a deal unless you're a coward or have such an impoverished sense of humor that you can't see the storytelling value in a how-I-spent-last-Thanksgiving-in-central-lockup anecdote. On Thursday, you'll want to take up an inconspicuous position outside — maybe pretend like you're harvesting your herb garden or something — and wait until the savory smell of a cooking turkey flesh tickles your nostrils. Hopefully your neighbors guests haven't arrived yet but if they have you're going to have to be fast. Delicately knock on your neighbor's door on the pretense of borrowing a cup of sugar and when he, she, or a demure son or daughter answers, club them on the head, run inside, and grab as much as you can before people start to scream. A little tip — this works best if you don't really know your neighbors, which would make sense because only a monster would steal from an acquaintance.
  • The great thing about the world is that it's full of crap and most of it, if you're patient and creative enough, is edible. Worried about buying an expensive turkey? If you live in the city, you have access to literally thousands of fowl and if you're looking to impress your guests with a more refined Thanksgiving menu, squab sounds way less bourgeois than turkey. Have a car? Of course you don't, and anyway fossil fuels kill alpacas or something. Steal your neighbor's kid's bike and you'll have just as effective a hunting tool and a few accelerated circuits around your neighborhood will yield a sizable enough bounty of woodland creatures to satisfy even Uncle Jerry's ogre-like appetite. Tree bark seems like it makes an at least structurally-sound pie crust and those little sour berries that grow in bushes could do a competent cranberry sauce impersonation if you mash them up in a bowl and pour in the cranberry cocktail you stole from your corporate slave neighbor. Grouse looks pretty much like a miniature turkey and, from what I read on the bushmeat discussion boards, is pretty reckless at crossing the street (in other words, an easy target). If you're truly fed up with the Wall Street fuckery and not merely one of those smooth talking Zuccotti Park denizens with an affinity for wearing knit caps in the summer, you'll show your disdain for the wealth and plenty created by the financial industry and forgo traditionally purchased Thanksgiving fare for whatever the land offers your, just like the Pilgrims, who would have literally massacred a whole tribe of Native Americans to sink their teeth into some pan braised squirrels.
  • Speaking of Pilgrims and Native Americans, if you want to express your disdain for American commerce by eschewing the almighty dollar, you can always trade some of the crap that you bought with that dollar for some Thanksgiving fixings. Pull out some of those throw pillows and extra blankets that you only use to festoon your bed in the hours you're not sleeping in it, box them up, and trade them for a few boxes of stuffing or some ears of corn. I don't know if anyone would actually make a deal like that, but if you really want to cinch the karmic irony of the whole endeavor, cough on the blankets so whoever you do barter them to will contract...well, not smallpox but definitely a virulent head cold.

    Really, having an an occupy-themed Thanksgiving is more than protesting an inscrutable and esoteric banking industry whose inner-workings you may or may not understand — it's about carrying America's blue-blooded traditions of scratching around in infertile soil, being short-sighted and therefore woefully under-prepared for seasonal changes, and leeching off of indigenous communities to survive in order to propagate the myth of self-reliance. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Image via Yutilova Elena/Shutterstock.com