Combat Zone

Thanksgiving Alone

This week we are running a feature article on Willy Bleck-Riggleson, a poor boy who, like many Puget Sound students, didn’t leave Tacoma this Thanksgiving weekend, having made no plans to celebrate. He didn’t arrive welcome and loved to a warm, loving family, around a warm, delicious turkey dinner in front of a crackling, loving fire. Instead, Willy stayed on campus, cold and alone, fending for himself amidst the tempestuously cold, lonely winds of Tacoma.

Having already visited his parents in Eugene, Ore. over fall break, Willy thought he might as well hang out here and party with his friends, taking advantage of the long break to unwind from all the stress of school. Unfortunately for Willy, everyone—literally everyone—that he knew went home or to a friend’s parent’s house or on a road trip or something equally cool. Even his girlfriend peaced, leaving Willy, in a cruel twist of fate, completely alone during a holiday marked by community, friendship and family.

“It was hard at first,” Willy said during an interview Sunday. “Wednesday was chill. I just stayed home, did laundry, played some Skyrim, drank nine beers, started putting on all my jackets at once to see if I could, alphabetized my books, swept the carpets, read Catcher in the Rye again and cried a little. But then Thursday, it started to get depressing. Like, really, really sad.”

Willy began the day by waking up at 10 a.m., full of excitement and optimism, only to remember that nobody was there. He proceeded to crack open some alcoholic cider, and drank by himself while watching the Texans vs. Lions game. As a 49ers fan, he did not care at all about either team. He then took the turkey he had spent the night basting out of the oven, cut out a slice of the breast, ate it with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and immediately after started dividing the rest inside 29 different tupperware containers for leftovers.

Broken and disheartened, Willy sullenly staggered across campus, tanked on cider. In a fit of rebellious rage, he grabbed a pumpkin, kicked down the doors into Thompson, stomped up the stairs to the second floor, opened a window and hurled the pumpkin down onto the courtyard. As it made impact and exploded, a metaphorical dam simultaneously burst in his heart, and he fell to his knees, weeping openly into his hands.

Finally, feeling guilty about the fact that the custodians would have to clean up his mess in the morning, Willy went down and scrubbed the ground with his own shirt and picked up every single tiny piece of rotten pumpkin goo, hot tears still simmering on his cheeks.

When his roommate Gregory Carmelo-Andopolis finally got back, Willy reportedly jumped up, screamed and flung his arms around him, yelling, “I’m thankful for you!”

We should all remember this story when we think about what we’re thankful for. During this holiday season, go visit your parents. Don’t end up like Willy.

 

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