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Do I Have To Touch It?

Sheree Burlington3 Comments

Thanksgiving, 2000. I'm married and living with my new husband, his son and mine. The whole gang is coming over at 2 pm. A week earlier, Dad stopped by with a huge frozen turkey and stuck it in my refrigerator. We have an arrangement. He cooks. I clean.

It's 7:15 am. I've just finished washing the floors, cleaning the bathroom, ironing the table cloth. The phone rings. It's dad. He's still making pies and won't be over until later. Will I put the turkey in the oven?

Crap. I've never done this. I don't want to do it now. "Do I have to touch it?" I ask. Jesus Christ, he mutters. Of course you have to touch it. Just take the god-dammed thing out of the wrapper, pull out the gizzards, rinse it out, put it in the pan...He drones on. I'm not listening. I'm on my knees in front of the sink base, searching for my rubber gloves. No fricken way am I touching that thing with my hands.

I slip them on. Open the refrigerator door. It's sitting in a pink puddle on the lower shelf. Plink. Plink. Bacteria laden droplets slide across my kitchen floor. I dial the phone. What do you mean inside? Inside the turkey? Je-sus H. I unclamp the legs, no easy task. Reach inside its neck. Waaait a minute. This is not the neck. Stick my yellow rubber hands up its butt. Fricken great. Whatever is stuffed in there - it's still frozen. I fricken hate this. I am so going Veg.

My turkey is actually is a success. The whole family is ga ga over the fact that I actually cooked a turkey. If I don't think about its rubbery, pink pimpled skin and its head up its ass, I find that it tastes pretty good. They all get huge mileage out of the rubber glove thing. "Do I have to touch it?" has become the quote of the day. Consensus is that next year, I should have more fashionable cooking accessories - mayhaps something with leopard cuffs?

They laugh because not one of them has ever spent four hours sitting on a toilet, vomiting into a trash can after eating bad chicken. Four hours of laying on the bathroom floor, alternating between sweating and freezing. Four hours of wishing I would hurry up and die already.

Eight years have passed. My penance for refusing to ever touch one of those foul creatures again: Hours at the sink, wearing rubber gloves, while the rest of them are passed out in the living room. I'm full. I'm happy. I'm cleaning.