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The Most Depressing Places to be in OKC for Thanksgiving…

9:40 AM EST on November 26, 2014


While it’s nowhere near as suicide-inducing as being alone on Christmas, it still sucks pretty hard to be alone on Thanksgiving. The nagging knowledge that, out there right now, people have forgotten all about you, cold and alone in your dark dwelling, routinely contemplating between popping a DVD or a full bottle of pills, nowhere to go and no one to love you.

I feel ya, kid. When I moved back to Oklahoma City from Colorado, I had all these grand designs in my head that, maybe after a decade away, my family had changed and we’d have these wonderful semi-Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving celebrations together, but here it is again, a few years back, and it hasn’t happened yet. It will probably never happen. So, of course, you learn to make due. You learn to create your own celebrations. You learn to live (or die) within that frame of reference.

Over the past couple years, however, in searching for an alternative Thanksgiving, I’ve only found even more pain and sadness out there. Truth be told, in Oklahoma City, it’s probably just best to keep your ass at home and let nature takes its course. Here are a few places to emotionally avoid on this magical holiday, all based on personal experiences, of course.


The Buy for Less at 23rd and Penn

Sure, it seems like a great idea at the time: buy a 99 cent Banquet frozen turkey dinner and passive-aggressively post a picture of it on Twitter in the hopes that somebody sees it and takes pity on you. It’s practically become my own Thanksgiving tradition, and I can’t wait to pass it on to the children I’ll never have. But that means you actually have to go to Buy for Less to purchase the TV dinner and…ouch. They’re all sold out.

And there you are. At a half-deserted Buy for Less, surrounded by empty shelves. If you’re anything like me—and pray you’re not—you end up eating five Kid Cuisines in your underwear and calling your ex-wife, asking where everything went wrong.


northpark mall

The Northpark Mall Movie Theater

Lights, camera…no human interaction! Forget going to the first-run movie theaters on Thanksgiving. They’re packed with sweater-wearing, dinner-having friends and family all clamoring to see the biggest Hollywood offering, and when that sells-out, the second biggest Hollywood offering. You don’t stand a chance of getting in and even if you do, enjoy that little brat kicking the back of your chair as you watch the latest Lars Von Trier diatribe.

So, of course, you figure that maybe it’s time to catch up on something you missed, maybe at the cheap movies at Northpark Mall. You pay your $3 to see a movie that’s already on DVD in a chair that’s definitely not made for the husky gentleman in a theater the size of your pathetic studio apartment living room. And, even worse, instead of spreading out, every other lonely dude with nothing else to do just has to sit next to you. Might as well forget it and just stay home, watching your wedding video and wondering where everything went wrong.


the blue fox

The Blue Fox

I would like to say that any strip club is sad on Thanksgiving, but those little burnt-out ones that, even on a good day only have two dancers working, are the erotic equivalent of the R. Budd Dwyer press conference. Think about it: it’s pathetic enough that you’re at a strip club on a sacred national holiday, but it could be worse: you could be having to get naked for lonely, repellent strangers in piss-stained sweatpants as a job on Thanksgiving. Where’s your protest of that, Occupy Wal-Martyrs?

The Blue Fox, an apt name if there ever was one, looks like a rest area restroom, and, even worse, smells like it. It’s dank and dark and wet and the whole atmosphere just screams “rock bottom.” But what makes it even more depressing, if you’ve read the reviews on websites like or is that, for about $50, you can get a little bit of giblet gravy on your lumpy potatoes, if you know what I mean.

And while that’s a great deal for some festive cornucopia copulating, I would honestly just pay them to hold me tightly to their withered bosoms as I cry and remember back to when I was married, before everything went wrong.



Golden Corral

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that eating your feelings doesn’t work. But that doesn’t stop me every year from going to a Golden Corral by myself and gorging enjoying their well-stocked Thanksgiving dinner buffet with all the trimmings—and by trimmings, I mean lasagna, beef fajitas and bourbon chicken—usually in a corner table where no one can see my secret shame. Occasionally you’ll pass another whimsically obese man and knowingly give each other a look that screams “I wish I wore my dressy sweatpants!” before staring silently at the floor in regret.

As I’m trying to choke down another helping of cornbread stuffing and strawberry cheesecake, there’s always that point where you hit the wall and realize there’s no more room, leading to a quick trip to the restroom where, in a locked stall, purging commences, gagging between the uncontrollable tears as you finally start to remember where everything in your marriage went wrong.


dollar tree

Dollar Tree's Early Bird Black Friday Sale

I always thought that it was pretty depressing to be first in line for when Dollar Tree opens their doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for their Early Bird Black Friday sale, that is, until last year, when I saw a middle-aged man half-dressed as a hobo-trope clown, filling up a basket with cheap $1 toys in a bid to have something for his kids to open up this Christmas, unlike last year when, he said, he got divorced and laid off in the same week and had to take a gig as a freelance “dirty” clown to pay the bills.

He stood with a stoic-yet-defeated pride that should have made me count my miniscule blessings, but all the while he was talking, all I could think was how I wasn’t able to give my ex-wife kids and, even though she never said it, point to that as the moment where things went wrong.


bethany cemetery

Your Father's Grave

My father is buried in the most depressing cemetery in town, that one out there around NW 63th and Rockwell in Bethany near the most depressing airport in town, Wiley Post. It’s a pauper’s grave, one that hasn’t been visited by me or any of my family for, at the most, a decade or so and is so covered in weeds and dirt that it’s about to be swallowed up by the elements at any minute.

What better way to cap off a depressing holiday than with an even more depressing visit to your abusive father’s grave, where you sit down on the wet grass and alternately remembering how, when he was alive, sure, there was always a Thanksgiving meal but dessert was always a painful verbal notation on how much he hated you for being born, so much so that he had to destroy everything, both mentally and physically, that brought you happiness in life, even from beyond the grave. Forget wondering where your marriage went wrong—your entire life went wrong from the moment you barreled your way out of your mother’s unwanted womb.

But, as I begin to cry frozen tears of salty hope at this fully realized psychological breakthrough, I pull that turkey leg I stole from Golden Corral that I was going to eat later from my hoodie pocket and place it on dad’s tombstone, a little treat for the vermin that infests both our dead souls.

And with that, I hope you and your family have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

Follow Louis's cries for help on Twitter at @LouisFowler.

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