Like many Los Angeles transplants, I don’t go home for every holiday. And since I don’t want to miss out on sick-ass Christmas gifts, I usually opt to stay here on Thanksgiving. Luckily, I’m not alone. So every year I gather my closest friends for a Friendsgiving to rival any family Thanksgiving in warmth, good food, and togetherness. Yes, our yearly Friendsgiving is close to my heart indeed. But I’m no fool. That’s why I keep my Enemiesgiving just a bit closer.
Friendsgiving is all about spending time with the family of sorts you’ve made along the way, and it’s important. But what’s more important is rubbing elbows with your enemies, creating a near laboratory-condition environment where you can study them, figure out what they’re up to, and size up their weaknesses before you make your next move.
Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving I reach out to the people directly in my way for a thinly veiled game of cat and mouse under the pretense of social engagement: “Enemiesgiving.”
To the uninitiated, it may seem silly. “Why would someone accept a dinner invite from an enemy?” you may wonder. Well, they often don’t accept and that’s half the point. The enemies who decline or outright ignore your invitation are not a threat to you. They lack the abstract mind necessary to play chess in three dimensions.
Perhaps you’ve received such an invite and thought, “Why would this person invite me to dinner? I’m ignoring this.” Well, congratulations. You essentially just rolled over and showed your soft pink belly to a shark.
The true fools of the lot are the ones that offer an excuse for their absence. Sue has been seeking the same promotion as me for months now and it’s neck and neck. Today she told me she couldn’t come to my “dinner party” because she had black Friday shopping to do. In doing so, Sue has given me something far more valuable than money; information. Now that I know Sue is struggling financially, I can exploit for my own gain down the road.
Of the 80-some-odd Enemiesgiving invites I send out, about a dozen actually show. This is the cream of the crop. The enemies that deign to play your little game are the ones you need to watch out for. They know that your little olive branch is nothing but falsehood, but they are savvy enough to step into the lion’s den and show you they are not afraid. Respect.
And so the game begins. A dozen sharks hiding behind false smiles. It’s a feeding frenzy and the main course is secrets. Ted, the accountant who audited my expenditures last March, isn’t having any stuffing. Does he have a gluten allergy? Mark and Sabrina aren’t making eye contact. Overcompensation? An affair, perhaps? Our sales manager Yevon hasn’t touched her wine. Does she have a problem?
Over canned platitudes and hollow food-related compliments (it’s pot-luck), I note these things, creating a catalog of observations. The seeds of cut-throat long-term plans I will enact to burn these people’s lives to the ground. Are they doing the same with me? Of course. It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise. Go ahead and call us cold, calculating, manipulative, etc. But if you look at the history of Thanksgiving I think you will find our little soiree is a little more on-brand than yours.