Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: A Thanksgiving guide to cutting your turkey, maiming your children, and stealing white meat from your women; and banning baby kissing

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Matt Labash
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      Matt Labash

      Hi, welcome to “Ask Matt Labash.” I’ll be your host, Matt Labash. The idea for this column – if idea isn’t too strong a word – is that it is not a column at all. Rather, it’s a conversation. One in which I do ninety-five percent of the talking. If you did most of the talking, you’d have to watch my eyes go dead and my attention wander until it was my turn to talk again. So trust me, it’s better this way.

      For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow. But wisdom is what they gave me, so wisdom is all I have to give back to you.

      This is not, you should know, a mere advice column. If you need advice, I’ll give it. But the only rule here is that there are no rules. You can ask me a question about anything that’s on your mind: current events, pop culture, media, theology, string theory, fishing tips, wicker repair. The only limits we have are those of your imagination. And those of my knowledge base. Which is considerably limited, truth be told. So try not to ask me anything that requires research. Though they tell me I have access to Google on this computer if we need it.

      If all goes according to plan, ours will not be a traditional writer/reader relationship. It’s more complex than that. I might empathize or cajole. I might educate, instruct, or inspire. I might pretend to answer your question while actually reporting you to Social Services, since you’re a dangerous person who should not have contact with children. I might tell you to climb up on my shoulders, that you’re not heavy, you’re my brother. Or I might tell you that you are heavy, and that you should hop down until you lose a few pounds. I might just sidle up behind you, put my big strong man hands on the small of your back, and whisper in your ear the words of the poet, Kenny Rogers: “We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?”

      To which you’ll say something like, “I can’t, I’ve got to go home and wash my hair.”
      To which I’ll say something like, “Shhh. We’ve got tonight babe, why don’t you stay?”
      Wherever this takes us, our journey begins now:

      <i>Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, <a href="">Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys</a> will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.</i>

Editor’s Note: Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here

Dear Matt, With Thanksgiving here, who should cut the turkey and how should the meat be distributed? – Jonathan Winthrow

At my Thanksgiving table, we traditionally leave the turkey-carving to the one who has had the fewest drinks, and who can saw through bone without losing a finger. So it usually falls to my Puerto Rican houseman, Chulo. Ever since he quit his Christian street gang, Loco Para Cristo, where he committed street crime for Christ, it helps him to stick something in order to have a productive outlet for his righteous anger. Also, he has a lot of experience cutting people/things, and can separate the clavicle from the coracoid with the skill of a surgeon.

I’m therefore no expert, since Chulo handles our carving duties. But I have generally found that the sharp, serrated edge of the knife works best on the turkey. While the dull side of the blade is good for whacking lippy children who keep yelling out which part of the bird they want before you’ve asked for their plate.

As for meat distribution, it might sound childist/sexist, but in my house, we prefer the traditional Thanksgiving hierarchy. That means children get dark meat/drumsticks. Because screw ‘em, they’re smaller than we are. What are they gonna do about it? All wives and women-folk get second-rate white meat. Not out of malice or gender superiority, but because there’s such a surfeit of desirable chick food (green-bean casserole, fruit salad,  marshmallow-and-cranberry sweet potatoes) that they don’t seem to notice. That leaves the choice white-meat-eating to the men, which is appropriate since we are, after all, the hunters. Or we were, before we all grew into soft , khaki-panted, sweater-wearing cowards who need other people to do our killing for us. Still, we honor the old ways.

A common Thanksgiving mistake is to wait for dinner to be over to unbutton your pants for the tryptophan-induced catnap that you take while sitting on the couch, watching football. But why wait? Chulo unbuttons my pants right there at the table. Not only is it an excellent conversation starter (who wants to hold the turkey baster?), but it also promotes comfort and better circulation if you pass out from overeating.