Giving: Here for It, #312

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

Look, I'm not pointing any fingers but it seems that Friendsgiving has been getting earlier and earlier every year. Online I started seeing people gathered at their friends' houses for an evening of bonding and Beaujolais as early as November 1st this year. The Beaujolais Nouveau isn't even out that early! It's Beaujolais Nou-NO.

SNL gif. Kirsten Wiig is pouring herself a glass of wine from a huge water dispenser that has wine in it. She mocks someone by opening and closing her mouth noisily.

What are we doing with all this early mirth-making? And by we, I mean you because I was not invited to any Friendsgivings this year. And I'm not pointing any fingers about that either. Not at all! My hands are just cramping and I'm trying to stretch them out!

No, it's totally fine that everyone was hanging out without me because honestly that's a lot of turkey. A whole month? And, furthermore, if you start Friendsgiving early, then you get Christmas creep, where the decorations go up mid-November. And that, of course, is a gateway to Premature Valentine's Day, where everything is hearts and flowers the day after New Year's. And that means that by January 15th you're all holiday'd out and have nothing left to celebrate for, like, months. A barren expanse with nothing on weekends but sit around and google things like "Did The Crown really happen?" and "AI hacks for my job" and "What is my job, exactly?" and "Easy Friendsgiving recipes for busy working professionals who are re-watching The Crown all winter"

And that's when I'll pounce. I said I didn't care about Friendsgiving but I was LYING. I will have my own Friendsgiving in mid-January and I will call it Enemiesgiving because haters need cranberry sauce too and everyone will be confused about whether they want to be invited and thereby be my enemy or not be invited. Chaos!

Fire This Is Fine GIF

Actually, now that I've yelled about it, I realize I did have a Friendsgiving of sorts. And by that I mean, the weekend before Thanksgiving my bestie Chris Newcomer and I went to New York and had martinis and dinner at Sardi's in tribute to the scene in The Muppets Take Manhattan where Kermit and Rizzo try to get Kermit's photo up on the wall and if that's not a special religious holiday celebration I don't know what is.

The eavesdroppers took this and we love them!

We were sat between two impossibly close tables. We spent much of the evening, when we weren't cracking each other up, eavesdropping on one of the tables. Then, midway through our meal, one of us said something funny and the other table laughed and then apologized for listening to us. We were like "DO NOT APOLOGIZE, PUBLIC ADULATION IS OUR LIFE BLOOD. EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE IS PERFORMANCE AND YOUR OUTBURST IS LIKE A TONY."

I aspire to be the Audra McDonald of people saying "I'm so sorry for eavesdropping but what you said is very funny."

We later went to Marie's Crisis where the average age was "NYU freshman orientation" and Chris, an astounding countertenor, blew the roof off the place as I stood at the bar and yelled "THAT'S MY FRIEND" at a 21-year-old with more self-possession than I've ever had in my life.

Another Friendsgiving, of a sort, is happening on December 11th in Baltimore when I, president of the Ann Patchett fan club (and its employee of the month) will be IN A FRIENDLY CONVERSATION WITH ANN PATCHETT (of the Ann Patchett fan club fame as well as other uniformly excellent works) in conjunction with The Ivy Bookshop.

An Evening with Ann Patchett and R. Eric Thomas
The Ivy Bookshop is over the moon to be hosting Ann Patchett and R. Eric Thomas for an evening of conversation about their latest books!

Beloveds, I don't know how this happened. As you know, I love Ann Patchett, I wrote about Ann Patchett's influence on me and my therapy sessions in Congratulations, I worked very hard to be the employee of the month at the Ann Patchett fan club I run out of my home office. But I never conceived of a world in which Ann Patchett knows my name, let alone wants to have Friendsgiving dinner on stage in front of hundreds of people. (We will actually not be eating dinner, but we will be talking about our books, which is the same as eating to me.)

If you're in the area, please come! It's free and you have the option of getting a signed book from both of us or one of us (ANN, OBVIOUSLY).

Lastly, today is the last day to vote in the Goodreads Choice Awards preliminary round, where Congratulations is up in the Best Humor category. If you had told me, while I battled gay frogs in my backyard, that one day this will make a potentially award-worthy funny story I would have said "Okay, interesting, but did you have a Friendsgiving and who was invited, for instance, just out of curiosity..."

Currently reading: Tom Lake, again, obviously. Also, The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez

Current song obsession: "Whole Again" by Daõi Freyr. I heard this in my friends' basement, which is less a basement than a fully decorated, furnished bar. They have banquettes and a fog machine! A FOG MACHINE IN THEIR HOUSE.

Currently watching: Fellow Travelers 👀 🫢

Random thing on the internet

A $1,600 Octopus-shaped bowl.

Haters need cranberry sauce, too,