Tryptophan—an amino acid found in turkey that purportedly makes people tired.
Scientists have repeatedly asserted that the drowsiness frequently experienced on Thanksgiving can be attributed to the eating of a big meal and not specifically to eating turkey. Still there are some who continue to believe that eating turkey makes a person tired. (See wikipedia – tryptophaniacs). I’m with them. It’s true. I’ve experienced it. I offer a summary of my day’s happenings as living proof.
This morning I was in bed dreaming about turkeys, and I didn’t fully wake up until all the cleaning around the house was done and the real turkey was prepared and in the oven.
And then the smell of the turkey cooking made me so tired that I couldn’t even help set the table and prepare the side dishes that I insisted that no one else make but me.
Then came actually eating the turkey. I was so sleepy during the meal that even though I honestly wanted to go back to the kitchen for seconds, I had to settle for just swiping things off the plates of those around me. I know that my behavior was not following proper Thanksgiving Day etiquette to the tee, but you can’t tell me that there weren’t some days that the pilgrims were so exhausted that they too had to rest their heads on the table and then use a fork to scrape the food off the side of their plate into their opened mouths.
Then after the turkey dinner, I barely had enough energy to ask someone to bring me a turkey sandwich, while I sprawled out on the couch watching the game. Truth be told, I couldn’t even stand up when my team scored a touchdown. I had to just raise my two hands above my head—then fold them back behind my head. I was asleep by the time the extra point went through.
I probably should not have had that last turkey sandwich. My drowsiness got so bad that I could not even control what I was saying or doing. There’s no way that I normally would have kept asking Aunt Gilda to loan my thirty-five dollars. And I certainly wouldn’t have slipped her a note that read: put the cash on my plate or a Pilgrim gets it.
I was so tired from all that turkey that there was no way I could help with the dishes or even tell anyone that I had put my dirty plate under the couch because I was too sleepy to take it to the sink. It took all my energy just to shout to my wife in the kitchen from the other room to come join me and I would do the dishes later. Although, I think that last part was the turkey talking. I meant to say the dishes would get done later.
At one point my mother pulled me aside and said she needed to talk to me about something really important. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she drew me close. I could smell the turkey on her breath, and I was asleep by the time she could control her tears enough to start talking.
As our guests were leaving, I didn’t even have the ambition to tell them to come again sometime or even to give Uncle John his coat back—even after he asked for it a couple of times. Give it a rest John. Man, give that guy some more turkey.
Then before dozing off for my third nap, I thought about all the pilgrims and why they were so set on eating turkey all the time. Were they having trouble sleeping? Did they want their Native American guests to do the dishes? Was that really “so rude and embarrassing?”
Before crashing for the evening, I complained to my wife about the effects of all this turkey on my system. She said that she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary in my behavior today. I guess maybe she wasn’t quite as sharp as usual; she did have a little turkey herself.
Well, when all is said and done, maybe I still haven’t convinced you of the effects of tryptophan. But at least, I can leave you all with this—the pilgrim’s Thanksgiving prayer:
A happy turkey to all, and to all a good gizzard. Gobble, gobble. Amen.