Happy (Early) Thanksgiving, iFanboy community!

This article is most likely going to be a little more personal than the things I usually write for iFanboy. That being said, I am just relaying a story that is oddly appropriate for this time of year. We are nearing (in America) a little thing called Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving happens to be my least favorite holiday. Boo and hi
ss all you want. Throw the tomatoes. Call me unpatriotic. Go ahead and get it all out. Okay — now let me explain myself. First of all – when I was in grade school Thanksgiving was a holiday that meant half the kids dressed up like “Pilgrims” and the other half dressed up like “Indians” and then we all sat down and ate food together. The conversation typically sounded like this –

“Wow, this is just like the first Thanksgiving.”
“Yeah, this is great. Pass me a Twinkie.”
“Mrs. Teacher, did Indians always wear feathers?”
“It’s so cool that Indians showed the Pilgrims how to grow food and the Pilgrims showed the Indians how to make modern stuff.  That’s why they were all such good friends.”
“Thanksgiving is the best holiday ever – until we get Nintendo for Christmas!”

Not that kids in kindergarten or first grade need to hear the whole truth – but the fallacy got a little out of control in my opinion. My wife tells me that it’s taught with more sensitivity in schools now… but genocide, religious persecution, and slavery rarely deserve a holiday in my book.

There are, of course, other reasons I’m not a fan of the holiday. I get frustrated that we pick one day out of the year to be “thankful.” Why aren’t we thankful all year long? Another reason is that I’m a vegetarian – so the turkey doesn’t mean much… and the rest of the food I can make any day. Then of course there is family. I love my family dearly – but there is only so much “family time” I can handle. And stuffing my face with food and watching football is not different than what most people do every Sunday. Sure – there is a day or two off work – so I guess that is a positive.

But the other day something happened. I’m not saying that it completely transformed my thoughts on Thanksgiving – but I am going into it with a different attitude this year. And this is where iFanboy comes in.

iFanboy is not only about comics for me. iFanboy is about community. That means different things to different people at different times. To me it means making friends, helping friends, talking with friends – the list goes on and on. It would be easy to sit here and talk about all the things that Josh, Conor and Ron have done for me – and why I’m so thankful for their friendships. But I’m not taking the easy route today.

I want to talk about my friend Susie – or you may know her better as Siouxsie. Susie and I met in 2006 at SDCC.  She was one of the first “Booth Babes” that I ever interviewed. For whatever reason we became friends.

When iFanboy headed back to SDCC in 2007, Conor and I had the pleasure of hanging out with Susie even though she couldn’t attend the convention.

This past year, 2008, Susie agreed to be one of our “Booth Babes” and she was even kind enough to help us out with our party at Bar Basic. What are the chances? Randomly meeting somebody through some interviews for iFanboy – and have them become a friend? But there’s more than just that. Our friendship is not as superficial as I’m making it sound.  

As a matter of fact Susie is aware of some of the fertility issues that my wife and I face. She’s never made a big deal about it. She has just always lent an ear or given support – she’s done all the things you would expect somebody that cares about you to do. But that all changed earlier this week with a text message. A text message that nearly knocked me out of my chair and left me in tears. Here’s the exchange.

“Hey! How are you? I just wanted to let you guys know, you have inspired me to help others. I am going to be an egg donor! I discussed it in depth with Rob (her finance) and he supports my decision. I just wanted to say thank you for opening my eyes.”

Now – you can imagine my shock. I was just sitting at my desk doing some work when that came through. I immediately responded…

“What? Really?”

“Yes, really. I didn’t realize how many couples were out there that have tried to have a baby and couldn’t. It saddens me, so I want to do what I can to help.”

“Wow. That’s incredible.”

Several other text messages went back and forth with Susie explaining in detail what she was doing and why. All of my responses consisted of one or two words – usually “wow” or “awestruck.” I’m so eloquent when I’m awestruck.

Finally, Susie said – “Like I said, I owe it to ya’ll for opening my eyes. I am happy to have friends like ya’ll in my life to teach me new things.”

I wish I had something amazing to say back to her. But even now, rereading the exchange I am completely dumbfounded. All I can do is be thankful that I do have friends like this is in my life. I wouldn’t even have this friend if it weren’t for iFanboy. And the real kicker that Susie is not the only friend I’ve made through the iFanboy community!

So this year I’m making a point to look at Thanksgiving differently. I’m not going to beat myself up about the past – history sucked – but Thanksgiving is less about genocide and more about a story. It’s a story of people helping people. It’s a story of great things happening. I’m not going to bitch and moan about family time. I’m going to cherish all the moments I have with my family – even the three hour drive! I’m still not going to eat turkey – but I will enjoy the feast! I still hope to find time to be thankful everyday – and this year marks a new beginning.  

Happy Thanksgiving – even those of you in other countries!

PS – One of the reasons that Susie and I are friends is that she uses whole words and complete sentences in her text messages. That goes a long way in my book.




  1. Ah yes Thanksgiving, the only time of year where it’s okay to eat 20% of your body fat.

    Was anyone else horrifed when you learned on how bad we treated the Native Americans? Here I thought (from watching cartoons no less) that we we’re peaceful and respectful towards the natives….Now the stories I hear about what we actual did to them….I dont see why this is such a thankful holiday.

    Anywho, great article Gordon.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Gordon, as well as Susie’s.  That’s a great thing she’s doing.  

    I see Thanksgiving as an opportunity to hear stories like these, and to hopefully learn from them.  The fiction we learned about Thanksgiving as kids in school is an idealized proverb about community.  It certainly didn’t happen that way, but we like to think that it can some day.  Thanksgiving isn’t so much about what happened.  It’s about the way it should have happened, and what should be happening every day.  It’s a holiday that should be viewed as a celebration of its own eventual obsolescence.  We come together in celebration because there was once a time when we did not.  Also, cranberry sauce.  

  3.  that was a very personal post…thank you for that, it was unexpected and really really nice to see real experiences and genuine emotion in a post where you wouldn’t expect it. friends often come from the least likely of places but you never know who is going to touch your life in unexpected ways and how you are going to affect the people in your life. the fact that your friendship had affected suzie so much is awesome. imagine how many others you affect and will never know it. i’m a brit so don’t have thanbksgiving but i have plenty to be thankful for and try to remember that day by day.

    keep up the great work, this site rocks and i wish i could get on it more often

    The brit in a hat

  4. That’s an amazing story, Gordon, thank you for sharing it. Susie sounds like one of those one-in-a-million friends you find so rarely.

    And you’re right about this site too. We may bitch and moan, and praise and celebrate comics here, but I could do that on any site. The main reason I love this site so much is the people, it’s the community. I’ve never found a place like it, and I doubt I ever will again. Taking a leaf from Susie’s book I honestly do believe that any single person in the iFanbase, if they could, would do anything to help another. And that’s special.

    I’m a Brit so no thanksgiving for me technically, but in spirit I wish every single person here a great Thanksgiving and the very best to all your families. 🙂

    ps: I’m with you on the texting thing, Gordy!

  5. Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to bury all that White Liberal Guilt under a heaping mound of turkey or whatever turns you on.  Happy Holidays, all!

  6. Wow, great story Mr. Gordon!  Deep and personal, I love those kind.

    I second what Eyun stated about this site.  We get into some scuffles together, but its because we all love comics.  And having a place like this to talk about comics and not feel intimidated and talked down by "comic book experts" is amazing.  I’m thankful for that!! 

    P.S. So I’m not the only one that gets more eloquent when I text??!?!

  7. Thanksgiving my least favourite holiday as well.  My wife and I are vegans and raising our kids as such is difficult when we are expected to attend the family celebration of animal eating.  I think it is definately one of the worse holidays maybe Columbus day could be a little worse but my family always dreads this day.

  8. @neer: What is so wrong about Columbus Day? It’s basically a normal day except stores close. lol

  9. yeah I know it is jst a normal day but I don’t know whether celebrating Chris Columbus is a good idea.  I know it isn’t really a big deal but he isn’t someone that a nation should really celebrate.   

  10. On Columbus Day I like to celebrate Peter Falk’s Columbo.  I always ask people an additional question after they assume the conversation is over.  

  11. Wow, Gordon. thank you for sharing this with us. It is a nice reminder during the holidays of the many reasons why iFanboy is a community that i feel so grateful and blessed to be a part of. 

    You are right. It’s not about all of the stuff we learned and facutal basis of those things. It is about the communities (noun) we belong to and the community (verb) that we share. I will be sitting down to a table of family and friends so dear to me that, regardless of blood, they are family. I will also be wishing that I could be with others that I love, but are unable to be with due to time and distance. And I will focus on those connections rather than old history lessons. And stuffing, which I will also focus on.

  12. Thank you for sharing this story, Gordon.  I think a lot of people who observe fan culture from the outside only see the outer trappings and don’t give enough credit to the kind of personal connections that you can make.

    (Incidentally, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and my nomination for the greatest American invention, but I can understand how people feel differently).

  13. I have two tattoos.  One says "Christopher Columbus" and the other says "Thanksgiving".

    Actually, those are probably better than the tattoos I do have, unfortunately.

  14. @Paul: "Oh, and uh, just one more thing…"

  15. Don’t worry about it. The british sent away ships of holocaust survivers that came to Israel, and started a drug war in China. The germans did everything. Israel has the "300 line" controversy. The polish people got screwed by the russians and the british when they revolted against the nazys.  Gipsyes are still to this day screwed over. Everybody gets screwed a little at least.

    Come to Israel and celebrate Purim. It’s a holiday where people are told to give food to the poor, but it evolved to giving sweets to each other (middle class to middle class) and getting drunk which is a mitzvah.  You should drink until you can’t tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai which means good and evil.

    Yom Kippur is when people need to think about the bad things they did all year and ask forgiveness from both god and the people you hurt and you also need to fast turned to "let’s read some newspapers and sleep on the couch".

    Holidays and important days have evolved to what they are now. I’m probably a sick and twisted individual but I always get a kick at the hypocrisy that is celebrated with each holiday. Seeing people going to temple in their best clothes – clean ironed white shirt with buttons and black trousers, during Yom Kippur is a laugh. If there is a satan he’s probably laughing his ass off at what this important day has become.

    The day after is also fun. People chastise me for not fasting but don’t feel they need to ask forgiveness from someone they hurt if they have fasted, turning this to a christian repent – say the right prayers and god will forgive you.

    You need to see the comedy of life – like The Comedian. Humanity is hilarious 🙂

  16. great article Gordon. very amazing. 

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!! 

  17. Gordon, great article.

    "Oh, Wednesday is really hump day" -LOL

    Gordon, the not so innocent intern at iFanboy. Good times at SDCC. 🙂

  18. @danj – innocent is one thing I have never been.