Mary Schmich published this in the Chicago Tribune today. I am going to do my best to follow her lead.
1. Thanksgiving is the most peaceful of holidays, and therefore I pledge that I will not initiate, nor will I be dragged into, a discussion of Sarah Palin. Should the conversation turn to aforementioned person, I will promptly switch it to a topic on which we can all agree, such as Charlie Sheen.
2. I pledge that if I am traveling this Thanksgiving I will stay as cool as Chicago's weather, even if the weather messes up my travel plans. If I am in an airport, I will be pleasant to airport personnel. They'd like to be on holiday too, remember? I will not use the phrase "Don't touch my junk," and frankly wish I had never heard it.
3. I will not eat too much, though I make this pledge with the understanding that "too much" has an expansive definition on Thanksgiving.
4. I pledge that if I am dining with my (choose up to 4: siblings/children/parents/ex) I will not revert to my worst role-defined behaviors. When I do, which I will, I hope that they will not revert to theirs, which they will. I pledge not to blame them if they don't blame me.
5. I pledge — let me take a few cleansing breaths first — I pledge that I will not resurrect insults and arguments from previous Thanksgivings, even as a joke.
6. I pledge that I will not make a big deal of my dietary preferences. Nor will I make fun of anyone else's. No one should be tortured into eating food they don't like at Thanksgiving, but neither should diners insult their dinner mates or the cook.
7. I pledge to praise the cook. If I am the cook, I pledge that I will not pout if the praise for my hard work is insufficient; I also pledge that I will sit down and enjoy the meal while somebody else replenishes the mashed potatoes.
8. If I am watching football on TV, I will do so at a volume that doesn't deafen others. Maybe. If I loathe Thanksgiving football at any volume, I will use this day to Google the visa requirements for residency in France.
9. I really hope I will not spend the day checking my BlackBerry or iPhone, or otherwise engaging in self-abusive technological addictions.
10. I pledge I will not drink too much. Sobriety will make all of the above easier.
11. I pledge that after eating and drinking too much, I will not whine about how bad I feel. The only thing more annoying than people who whine after their self-indulgence is the overindulgers who piously announced beforehand that they would behave.
12. I pledge not to spend one minute of Thanksgiving thinking about shopping on Black Friday. Day of peace, remember?
13. If I did not help cook, then I pledge to help clean up. Or at least offer.
14. Here is the pledge that will enable all my other pledges to come true: I will get some exercise before I eat.
15. I pledge to take a few moments to reflect on the bounty in my life and to acknowledge how much I have to say thank you for, even if I and my Thanksgiving aren't quite perfect.