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By Martha Stewart’s Tax Accountant

I didn’t have an easy life growing up. I didn’t have an easy life shrinking down. The days, weeks, months, years, decades, and half-century of my life have been filled with execrable excretions of the devil into my outstretched hands. When I was born, the doctor said, “Well Miss Bloom, I tried my best, but he came out alive!” When I was growing up, my dog tried to put me down. When I graduated high school, the teachers threw a party when I left. When I got my CPA license, I single-handedly created the depressed-accountant stereotype. The one light of my life was Ilse, my wife. Her sparkling yellow teeth, lusciously thinning hair due to male-pattern baldness, and girlish emaciated figure enraptured me when I first saw her in that crack den. We were wed in a picturesque Korean laundromat by a senile Baptist priest who later hung himself in that same place. We spent our honeymoon cruising the Greyhound (“Ridin’ the dog,” we called it) from Binghamton to White Plains, barely able to keep our crabbed, bony hands off of each other, nor our eyes open to the reality around us, gazing only into each other. Norman Rockwell himself couldn’t have captured the idyll. 

But now, there is a fly in the ointment, an eyeball in the soup, a thorn in the rose, a poison in the nectar, a bone in the drumstick, a sex scene in an otherwise good movie: I hate my wife. You see, like most Generation X males, I have a gene inherited from my ancestors which induces me to despise the opposite sex after about age 50. That heaving, braying bellowing laugh, which once cast me into the effervescent reveries of rapine, now grates on me like a cheese grater grates on the cheese that is my skin into this recipe which I am to shortly reveal. Her rattling frame, which once pumped my blood harder than climbing up a flight of stairs too quickly, now haunts me whenever I close my increasingly sunken eyes. Her shining yellow teeth, with which she would adorably nibble on my scalp in more halcyon days, have all but fallen out, except for Old Chomper, which she uses to chew the peanut butter soup she makes for me every Sunday (I’m severely allergic—I know because once my mother figured it out, she would send me to school with not one but TWO PB&J sandwiches every day). I loved Ilse with all my heart, but three heart failure incidents by age thirty have left it bereft of the capacity to love as it once did. To recap: I hate my wife, and I want her to leave.

Despite this, I inherited my father’s cowardice, and like him, I can not bring myself to formally confront my wife, nor even divorce her quietly. No! I am proudly a man of inaction. I have always let things happen TO me, never to react, never to get angry, but always to be Kierkegaard’s Knight of Resignation (I should get around to reading again). If I am to be relieved of her, my bête noire, SHE must be the one to leave. To that end, I must expose her sole Achilles heel, the one treasure kept through the strife of her life but for me: Thanksgiving. To her, Christmas cheer is a farce; Halloween frights are a bore; the “hope” of Easter has long since been extinguished. But the idea of Thanksgiving, a feast for which you count your blessings, rekindles her dispirited heart enough to live another year, a miracle for which she gives eternal thanks. Thus, to finally make her hate me enough to leave our Johnson City studio apartment, I must target that one point of failure: I must ruin her Thanksgiving.

As you may guess, stuffing is beyond our means, cranberry sauce too fancy. Turkey is a distant dream, one which Ilse can’t see. But cheap potatoes, fair and true, preserve us in our misery. Her favorite meal, which makes her squeal, are mashed potatoes. Without anything else available, I would make my personal specialty: an elegant mashed potato feast involving a special ratio of russets and Yukon gold potatoes, Irish butter, black and white pepper, green onions, a pinch of cayenne, and a little bit of love. Beyond all things, this feast was what made Ilse love me, the provider of succor. To make her hate me, I must profane this sacred moment, to betray her with the cold agony of Iscariot. This Thanksgiving, in the year of our Lord 2022, I must serve a mashed potatoes feast that says nothing more than, “I hate you. Leave.” Hence begins A Thanksgiving Recipe to Make Your Wife Leave You:

  1. Purchase a pouch of IdahoanTM Instant Mashed Potatoes.
  2. Follow the instructions on the back.
  3. Serve, and under no circumstances enjoy. 

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