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Bones to pick

NO TURKEY tonight. On this Saturday after the great feast, the bird is luscious no more. The bird is boring, say the rising voices of the turkey rebellion, who also pronounce the rest of the leftovers to be exactly that: over.

Pizza tonight, they say. Mexican tonight. Chinese tonight. Anything but a third bird dinner tonight. Another round of lunch sandwiches is optional for the turkey loyalists, but the defectors would rather not have to watch the carcass hefted out of the refrigerator again. The defectors think the bird has been in there long enough to start paying rent.

The rebellion may be fueled by the memory of the intense meal preparation, which went on for days and was planned for weeks. Looking at the bird now can cause the celery-chopping muscles to twitch. Looking at leftovers brought home from somebody else's table can cause the same reaction, because a person never forgets sweating over Thanksgivings past.

Pizza may beckon because a person can no longer stand the clutter on the refrigerator shelves -- bowls of this and foil-wrapped packets of that, not to mention all the not-quite-one-serving portions of mashed potatoes, squash, green beans, and cranberries saved in what looks like a traffic jam of tiny plastic dishes. Oh, how fleeting is public adoration, especially for a turkey, which achieves superstar status on the fourth Thursday in November but is merely a silly bird without press, portfolio, or greeting card lines the rest of the year.

It is a metaphor for life, this rejection of the once-hot property, salivated over by millions. Many a forgotten rock star or movie idol must feel the sting of being a leftover in the media refrigerator as public tastes move on to cheer steamier, spicier dishes.

The passed-over politician might well feel like a bit of an aging turkey, too, given that he or she once brought the powerful -- and the poll numbers -- to the table but is now an also-ran, or, simply, ''Who?" The idea of making another run at the big state or national job dies amid the voices clamoring for new ideas, something different -- in short, political pizza after too much fowl, be it right wing or left.

The rejection can unfold on a much smaller stage as a child becomes estranged from a once-worshipped parent, a loyal friend proves fickle, or the passion for a career cools into ennui. And nothing grows quite as icy as the heart of a betrayed lover whose torrid affair had once seemed to burn like the fires of the sun.

The leftover feeling can land hard on many a soul and in many ways. The one that comes two days after Thanksgiving is probably the easiest to assuage.

Pepperoni or plain?

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