I opened my bedroom and, to my great surprise, was confronted with a large and frightening apparition.
“What are you?” I asked timidly.
“I am the ghost of your digestive system,” the squishy, glistening object replied. “I am here to give you a warning.”
“Why, there’s more of giblet gravy to you than the grave,” I retorted.
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“Hmm, you’re probably right about that. Nonetheless, I am here to show you what might happen to your own innards if you continue to ingest your traditional gluttonous repast each Thanksgiving.”
“You are nothing but a figment of my imagination. Be gone with you,” I shouted.
“OK, but don’t say I didn’t tell you,” said the ghost, shaking what looked like a piece of large intestine at me.”
I put the apparition out of my mind but found it hard to sleep. And, as the bells signaled the passing of another hour, I again heard a knock at the bedroom door.
Throwing it open, I encountered a still larger specter, the looming carcass of roast turkey, picked almost clean to the bone by hungry revelers.
“I am the ghost of Thanksgiving present,” the skeleton announced. “Come with me.”
And momentarily we were flying through the air, high over houses with the smells of cornbread dressing, pumpkin pies baking in the oven, roast turkey, candied sweet potatoes, buttery rolls and green bean casserole with condensed mushroom soup topped with dehydrated onions – the inimitable aromas of Thanksgiving.
We slowly approached a home much like my own, and my guide brought me to the dining room window.
“Why, that’s me!” I said, peering in at my family sitting around a table groaning with food.
“Indeed!” said the carcass. “Observe.”
I did as I was told, watching intently as the Thanksgiving me shoveled food into his mouth and then got up in ungainly fashion for seconds, then thirds, then both pumpkin and pecan pie, with whipped cream, and then just one more little piece of turkey with cranberry sauce and maybe one more bite of pecan pie ...
I did not actually witness the end of my eating. It must have gone on for some time. As I and the flying carcass departed, I could hear groaning and cries for mercy emanating from my house.
The scene was a disturbing one, but, as I again returned to my bed, I told myself this epicurean orgy was not often repeated. I ate sensibly at Thanksgiving, didn’t I? What’s wrong with a second piece of pie once a year?
Then came another knock at the door. Opening it with great trepidation, I spied a pasty looking spirit vaguely shaped like a turkey.
“I am tofurkey, the ghost of Thanksgiving future,” said the faux-fowl before me.
“For the first time tonight, I am genuinely frightened,” I sputtered. “Why have you come here?”
“Follow me,” it said, gesturing with a flabby boneless drumstick.
The spirit took me once more to my own house, where again the family was gathered around the dining room table. This time, however, instead of turkey, dressing and the usual Thanksgiving fare, we were grimly staring at plates of fat-free tofurkey, gluten-free rolls, undercooked stalks of broccoli, cauliflower pureed to resemble mashed potatoes, boiled carrots (no butter, of course!) and gravy made with low-sodium vegetable broth. Dessert was soy-milk ice cream.
“Is this my future?” I asked, despairingly. “Is it written in stone?”
“Not necessarily,” said the spirit. “If you resolve in the future to eat more sensibly with reasonable portions and a few more healthy vegetables, you might well avoid this awful fate.”
“Oh, thank you!” I said, vowing to never, ever eat such an enormous amount of food on Thanksgiving no matter how good the cornbread dressing and the sweet potatoes and the pecan pie ... Well, good luck with that, I thought to myself.
“God help us, everyone.”
James Werrell is editor of The Herald opinion page.