The Pilgrims: America’s First Mooches

first-welfare-caseThanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Looking back on my younger school days, I can remember the lame way we were taught about the first Thanksgiving like it was a wholesome party on top of Plymouth Rock. They ignored the fact that the Pilgrims had no business being there and the Native Americans would have been perfectly within their rights to shove a hot spear into thou’st rectums; but they didn’t.

This is not a piece of work where I’m going to argue how unjust the discovery/founding of America was etc. because those arguments are stupid. I was born in 1986 and didn’t have a damn thing to do with any of that. But the Pilgrims do remind me of that friend everyone has who conveniently has no cash, stays on your couch too long, cleans out your fridge and then puts pox infected blankets on your bed so you’ll die and he can take your house.

The popular understanding of why the Pilgrims came to America is so they could gain religious freedom, a tale simply untrue. The Pilgrims originally moved to Holland where the laws regarding religious practice were much less restrictive. But, after 12 years, they decided to travel to North America because of financial troubles. In other words, they were tired of paying for stuff and set sail across the earth looking for some free stuff. Well, they found it and then some, and it didn’t take them very long, either.

511RMxYZIALAbout five minutes after landing, the Pilgrims began looting some Native American graves they found near the shoreline. The Wampanoag Indians left supplies, as many civilizations did, for their dead’s journey into the afterlife. The Pilgrims mistook this for some sort of community chest and began hoarding the sacred items for themselves. Naturally, when the Indians found out about this they began to shoot arrows at the thieves. Thus, the first Thanksgiving fight was born.

Thankfully, as in every typical Thanksgiving throw down, there was a moderator who eased relations between the Pilgrims and the natives. Squanto is like that uncle who doesn’t drink and is sane enough to stop the fighting before it comes to blows. It is typically taught that Squanto spoke English because of interaction with past settlers. Actually, Squanto was kidnapped five years before the Pilgrims arrived by explorer Thomas Hunt and brought to Spain. There, he learned English and promptly got the hell on back to North America. When the settlers arrived, after muttering, “not these mo-fos again,” Squanto decided to make peace between his people and the Pilgrims. He taught them how to grow corn so they wouldn’t steal anymore from graves. He also taught them a lot of other things that I’d rather not research and write about. Squanto made the fatal mistake when it comes to moochers: he showed them where the beer is.

“If you offer a man a beer, he’ll have a drink; if you show him where they are, he’ll drink all day.” – An Alcoholic who doesn’t fish.

peanuts-thanksgivingThe first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621. It is thought to have begun because the sorry-ass Pilgrims weren’t prepared for the coming winter and begged the natives for food. This also isn’t true. The Pilgrims weren’t totally stupid and were aware they needed to stockpile food for winter. What we call “Thanksgiving” started when the Wampanoag became suspicious of the Pilgrims one day after hearing gunfire. They feared the settlers were preparing for war and became defensive. Instead, the Pilgrims were hunting. Squanto once again was the voice of reason and it was decided that the two sides would enjoy the fall harvest feast together. Happily for us, the Thanksgiving tradition was born.

(Too bad they didn’t follow through on those war suspicions and kill all the Pilgrims in their sleep because in ten years they would become hostile and start trippin’)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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61 thoughts on “The Pilgrims: America’s First Mooches

  1. Son, this reminds me of an episode of Prof. Peabody and Sherman and the Wayback Machine. Have you got a segment of Moose and Squirrel teed up?

  2. Brilliant. You made me laugh and I agree completely. Especially about the beer.

    As Calvaros said in The Magnificent Seven: “Generosity. That was my first mistake.”

  3. Hysterical! Perhaps an even bigger shock is when you realized later in life that those nice sweet Pilgrims in their belt buckle hats were the same folks–Puritans– who burnt people as Witches. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  4. Love this post! You can bet this one will be shared round the table tomorrow…
    Thanks for an enlightening perspective on why we all ought to give thanks- we can be grateful we don’t have to be Squanto running interference with the interlopers!
    Again, best to you and yours.

  5. Pingback: The Pilgrims: America’s First Mooches | SERENDIPITY

  6. Pingback: HAPPY THANKSGIVING | SERENDIPITY

  7. For a cogent reminder of what has happened to those Native Americans who first shared Thanksgiving with Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock (the Wampanoag peoples), a must see documentary is We Still Live Here.

  8. Love the story. Originally from Nebraska, I throw a Thanksgiving shindig every couple of years in Australia, where I have lived for most of the last 31 years. I’ve always told guests that the first Thanksgiving was probably the Indians and Pilgrims coming together to give thanks that they hadn’t killed each other YET. Who knew I was almost right!

  9. Brilliant! I’m a pakeha (white) New Zealander, and you’ve made me want to go and look at my own nation’s founding myths with a more critical, not to mention, humour-seeking eye. Thanks for making me chuckle.

  10. I just read through many of your well written posts, and enjoyed every one of them! I like how you have the ability to take these every day thoughts and experiences and write about them in a way that makes the reader laugh and/or think in a new way! I look forward to reading more. Thanks for following my blog,

  11. Another fine moment in history that was bowlderized so it wouldn’t upset the kiddies.
    But at least America’s Thanksgiving made it into schools. Most Australians didn’t know anything about Alexander Pearce and the escape from Sarah Island until Robert Hughes wrote about it in The Fatal Shore. (Warning; this is not a funny story like the one above).

  12. Pingback: How not to be an ass at your family’s Thanksgiving | Covered in Beer

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