The Life and Times of the Thanksgiving Turkey: He Never Saw It Coming

by | Nov 27, 2014 | Headline News | 91 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    The Black Swan Theory is used by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain the existence and occurrence of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations. One example often put forth by Taleb is the life and times of the Thanksgiving Turkey.

    The turkey spends the majority of its life enjoying daily feedings from a caring farmer. Weeks go by, and it’s the same thing day-in-day-out for the Turkey. Free food. Open range grazing. Good times all around.

    The thinking turkey may even surmise that the farmer has a vested interest in keeping the turkey alive. For the turkey, it is a symbiotic relationship. “The farmer feeds me and keeps me happy, and I keep the farmer happy,” says the turkey. “The farmer needs me, otherwise, why would he be taking care of me?”

    This goes on for a 1,000 days.

    Then, two days before Thanksgiving on Day 1,001, the farmer shows up again.

    But this time he doesn’t come bearing food, but rather, he’s wielding an ax.

    This is a black swan event — for the turkey.

    By definition, it is a high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event for the turkey, who not only never saw it coming, but never even contemplated the possibility that it could occur.

    For the farmer, on the other hand, this was not a black swan event. The farmer knew all along why he was feeding the turkey, and what the end result would be.

    The very nature of black swan events make them almost impossible to predict. The point of this parable is to put forth the idea that sometimes we are the Thanksgiving turkey and understanding this may make it easier to begin to, at the very least, contemplate the possibility of far-from-equilibrium events.

    This year, when you enjoy that drumstick or Turkey breast, give thanks to the latest victim of the black swan for being non-contemplative, otherwise, he may have bugged-out long ago and you’d be eating a chicken instead.

    Editor’s Note: We’d like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you for visiting our web site. Many of you have joined our community and often hang out in our comments area sharing your ideas with others, making new friends, and keeping us all abreast of developing news that we may not catch. It is you, the SHTFplan community, that has made this web site what it is today. In fact, without you, what we’ve achieved would simply not be possible. 

    Thank you for the many years of good times. I have personally met numerous folks directly via this web site that have become good friends – and not just online, but in real life! I hope others have had the same opportunity. For newer readers, this is a fantastic community. Sure, things might get a bit heated at times given the substance of the topics being posted, but all-in-all there are a lot of people here ready to share their knowledge, inspirations and friendship. It’s a great way to meet new friends who may have similar interests and beliefs, so if you’ve never posted please don’t be afraid to do so! 

    It’s been a great experience for the last six years and I hope we have many more ahead of us. 

    Thank you all! Have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving Day!


    Mac Slavo


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      1. Thank you Mac…

        • Speaking about turkeys: Take note:

          Remember when turkeys used to be free? You would go to the store and if you bought more than $20 worth of stuff you got the turkey free.

          Also, anybody else notice how small the turkeys were this year? I could not find one single turkey over 19 pounds. We had to buy two turkeys this year.

          Last year we had a 26 pound turkey. Maybe the drought?

          I miss the good ole days………..

          • Those free turkeys are out there @ john .
            They are in the woods behind my house and they are laughing at me right now .

            Hunting tip : Dont think you can sneek up on a turkey , be patient and he will come to you.
            Just sayin…

          • My wife bought a 21 pound turkey. And there where larger ones at the store. She didn’t have faith that I could harvest a wild one. I got one. And cut two rick of firewood today.

            • I got the wood cut , but a HUGE FAIL on the turkey LOL.
              Good thing i got chickens .
              Seems my wifes faith was misplaced for the first time in a lotta years , my bad .
              Good job baggin the bird , Old Guy .

              • Thanks Mac and ditto back at ya.

                Hope most of you had a blessed Thanksgiving….I know we did.

                Got to top the day off with a 2.5 hour phone convo with NetRanger from here 🙂

                • I read today that 1 in 5 families celebrated today on food stamps, somehow I think the numbers are worse than that, much like what we are told about inflation and unemployment. Made me sad for them and even more thankful for what I have. The amount on food stamps and even the rise in homelessness and hunger is disturbing and definitely something to be praying about.

          • The free turkeys are out there, locally it’s $150 in groceries gets you the free bird. A holiday dinner for 6 or 8 is going to cost you $100 to feed ’em the whole day.

            First turkey I bought myself was 19 cents a pound in 1974, sure are more than that now. What hasn’t changed is that Acme Butterball is still the best.

          • The store my son works at had free turkeys if you spent $35.00. I would have got one myself but we already had a 27 lb bird in the freezer. Peace

          • We don’t feed a large crowd, so a 12-14 lb. bird is plenty for us. But, we did get a “buy 1, get 1 free” deal at the local grocery store. Only “catch” was we had to buy $35 worth of food at the same time… and how hard is that these days? Getting 2 birds for the price of one was good and the turkey we had on Thanksgiving Day was delicious. The other, we gave to our son and his wife. They appreciated that. 🙂

        • Happy Thanksgiving Mac and to all the SHTF plan readers! What a great parable for preppers on this national holiday!

          • Thanks for all the good info from all the good folks that contribute. The writers that add to the articles and topics. Thanks for the many memories from SHTF plan, and Mac, the best site owner going.

            I have learned a lot over the past five years as a regular poster (under a few different handles). I have met many folks that i can relate to.

            In my 18 years of work, traveling around all areas of the lower 48, I met many folks from many walks of life. I missed that weekly experience until i climbed aboard the SHTF ship. Now i meet folks from around the world.

            Slavo has kept things moving along and kept a fairly interesting bunch revolving thru the galley each year, and it has surely filled a void that i was having shortly after i retired from the road.

            Many of the friends that I have met here, I will never get the chance to meet face to face in this life; but, somehow i feel we will meet again in the eternal community gatherings.

            Thanks for the kind words that so many have shared.

          • I agree, FreeSlave. I have seen this story several times and it still brings a smile to my face.

            As to this web site, it’s great and a joy to read all the info here. Mac does a tremendous job with this and it is one of the premier prepper / alt-media web sites.

        • Happy Thanksgiving, Mac, and everyone.

        • Happy Thanksgiving to you Mac and your family and all the good people at SHTF Plan from Down Under.


      2. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here at SHTF.

        • SAME HERE.



      3. yep
        big thanks to Mac for hosting this site

        and Happy Thanksgiving to all !!!

        enjoy the day,be thankful for your many blessings
        and be sure and tell your family and friends that you love them

      4. Happy TG Mac, and even to those other Turkeys on here.

        There is a time to be Thankful and reflect, But I refuse to celebrate this traditional American Thanksgiving, based on the Genocide of the Native Americans and their culture, which we could have so greatly learned from, in our own prepping skills Pre-Grid 1800’s era.

        That too is another “Sad Chapter” in our True American History Nobody can deny.

      5. Gobble Gobble

        Thanks Mac for you’re efforts!

        • Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

      6. Thanks from Canton, Mac.
        And thanks to those here that contribute.
        Peace to you and yours.


      7. I’m thankful that I have grown to understand there are many, many like-minded people out there just like me…… (looking for a few million more)….

      8. Very insightful Mac, Happy Thanksgiving to you/yours.

        Went to the 3rd. Hunger Games movie this week. For those who have seen it, it’s about how the main Character is “used” for political purposes. This got me thinking as to how her Majesty Queen Barry, her staff in the White House, and the media are “using” Mike Brown’s shooting?

        Then I remembered the 4 stages of a Marxist takeover told to us by the late KGB Col. Yuri Besmenov. The third being “Crisis”.

        I believe that in the next two years Queen Barry, Valerie Jarrett, and all of the Czars are going to do everything that they can to promote Crisis!

        Once the economy crashes, the Cities are burning, we’re invaded by Central/South American aliens and Muslim Terrorists, and fighting to hold on to our churches/homes/families/jobs/guns, then our good Queen Barry, will declare martial law. THINK ABOUT IT

        Stage 4, game/set/match/

        • Well when he does declare martial law, he should outlaw ALL unsolicited pop up ads. When I opened this page today I had to close 3 and then when I clicked on this article to read it, they all popped up again along with 4 more. Since they are on top of the article I had to deal with them.
          If this is a new trend I will read elsewhere.

          • It must be a problem on your end. I don’t get any popup or popunder ads when I come to this site. I do get them on a couple of news sites.

            • You are leaving cookies that track your search history. Google and Amazon are notorious for that. Clear your cooking and history cache often. And don’t leave your email open when doing searches either.

          • CARA – You gotta bug to deal with, sorry.
            Happy Thanksgiving.

            Its probably the ruskies LOL .

          • @Cara Try Malwarebytes – need to clean the machine.

            • Go to internet options and set browersing history to delete upon exit and try disallowing pop ups.
              There are many things you can do to eliminate a lot of the crap that creeps in.

              Be careful with the spyware/antivirus software. Most have incrypted/dated, bugs, that eventually will instigate a need for an updated version that will cost you $$. It’s their way of recurring revenue at the expense and ignorance of the general public.

              If something seems too good to be true, or free; there usually is a catch somewhere, at some point and time.
              A trusted computer tech at a pooter repair shop is a good friend to have when needing answers and repairs.

              Our guy has loaded up free stuff for us that can be trusted and has given us gigs of free space. A $75.00 bench fee, can be worth three times that much if you are dealing with a “reputable” person.

          • The Name says it all – download the freeware, install.
            It will take care of your pop-up problems, and most advertisements on pages.

            Don’t automatically accuse an issue, when the problem itself may be your inability to operate a computer.

          • Cara, you’ve got adware in your browser. go to and they’ll help you remove it all. You can even get free software for it. Good luck

          • Hi Cara – we have made it a point to never include popups on page loads when visiting this web site. They annoy me very much personally and I could never do such a thing to our users!

            It definitely sounds like adware on your computer.

            Thanks and have a good one!

            • Thanks for all the helpful responses. I run a daily and weekly security and cleaning so I assumed it was the site. Especially because the adds are for things and sites I never use and they have only popped up here. I’ll run it through the washer again and then do a search. Thanks all.

              • i have a bug in this computer, and i loaded maxthon dot calm as my new browser, and now i very seldom have problems…i tried mozillo for a while, but it eventually stated with all the popups to. this has been going on for well over a year. and it’s been to my computer guy many times for cleaning. it kept coming back until i went to maxthon…it’s free. good luck.

        • Think about this: rent from Red Box for about 1/6 the price of going to a movie. That leaves more money for preps. No need to rush out and pay through the nose for the latest movie. Whenever you see it, it will be new to you. 🙂

      9. Among my other blessings, I am thankful for the SHTF forum.

        Cheers !

        • Indeed so, Coach. Having a great family, good friends, enough money to live decently, and good health works for me. 🙂

      10. Good Thanksgiving for everyone here. Our family shindig is tomorrow and all weekend. The cabins get put to first real use this weekend. The snow dont matter, there will be food on the table and good family time to share.

      11. Thinking of all of you, Especially Manos, Burt the Brit and others that perhaps could use a thought. Happy Thanksgiving; keep your powder dry, and your gun handy.

        • We haven’t heard from Manos for a long time. We must pray for him and his family. Happy Thanksgiving to the family here.

      12. OK, Get this: FOX News just reported that: “ISIS has offered to help the Ferguson related Protesters Take on the Cops here in the US.”

        OK so Obama’s and the CIA’s Trained, Armed, Funded and Resupplied ISIS/ ISIL, has now claimed to help the Rioters and Protesters take on American Cops.. via FOX News.

        So how much of a FALSE RED FLAG can this Get? We are being SET-UP to be Destroyed from within from the Race Baiters Playing all sides, for NDAA Executive Control. Our country is about to be Ripped apart in every direction.

        • Let’s see if the people in Ferguson accept this help or not. Let’s see if our Justice Department acts on these claims. I do not think this threat should be taken lightly. Jesse Jackson’s brother was convicted of plotting terrorists attacks on Americans. Jesse was in Ferguson so he might be involved. Let’s lock up Jesse and demand a congressional investigation . We all know that mental illnesses run in his family. His son might be involved also. Lets keep the nine thousand dollars a month his son gets from the govt. and send it to Mikey’s mom.

        • More like they will all get a bad case of massive lead poisoning,
          Top down
          They like to rule us like that so they can die like that,,,

          Wishing all a great Thanksgiving,

        • More propaganda , plug yer ears with a drimstick :).

      13. History is a series of Black Swan events where complacent people are suddenly wiped out or forced to move by other stronger people. Prosperity attracts the have nots. Bugging out for along distances is not a valid option. The US Army had that idea in the Phillipines in WWII as it turned out there were not enough trucks, time or gasoline to do it right. Stillwells march out of Burma illustrates that unless you have a large well armed party the locals will rob you. The Communists did their long march in China but they suffered horrific losses also. Most people do not have the bodies to put on a back pack and march any distance. If you need to bug out do it now or hunker down where you are

      14. 400, 000 home without power in the SHTF N.E. -U.S.SNOWSTORM Area.

        Abe Lincoln said, “He who cuts his own wood, heats himself twice.”

      15. Love this site and the bloggers here, even tho, as Mac says, some get a bit over heated. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and take time to listen for His voice. He will, perhaps even thru an encouragement here, guide us thru the months and years to come. God Bless!

      16. Another ZIonist Farmer.

        aside from that…

        Be Thankful
        By Author Unknown

        Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
        If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
        Be thankful when you don’t know something,
        for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

        Be thankful for the difficult times.
        During those times you grow.
        Be thankful for your limitations,
        because they give you opportunities for improvement.
        Be thankful for each new challenge,
        because it will build your strength and character.

        Be thankful for your mistakes.
        They will teach you valuable lessons.
        Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
        because it means you’ve made a difference.

        It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
        A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
        are also thankful for the setbacks.
        Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
        Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
        and they can become your blessings.

        Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving!

        • EA – Nice post.
          I for one am thankful that William Bradford discovered that socialism does not work .
          And i will be thankful when Barry figures it out.
          Well , thats a Christmas wish……….

          • More like Christmas fantasy, never happen

            • LMAO , KULA ,I can still dream , right ?

          • I agree, Hammer. Good post.

          • I’m thinking that if Barry could figure it out, he would have by now. 🙁

      17. Happy Thanksgiving everybody, or should I say Happy Turkey Day. I saw the nature show on PBS last night about wild turkeys, second time I’ve seen it. Some guy in Florida collected abandoned turkey eggs and incubates them until they hatch. They see him first and imprint on him as their leader and he raises them for a year and a half, never leaving their sight except for a few minutes once when a snake crawled through the cage wire and ate one. He basically points out how remarkably smart creatures they are, dispelling the myth that they are dumb animals. What a marvelous 20 million year old creature they are and I won’t be eating any of the farm raised variety either. Have a great holiday.

        • Clearly, this fellow is in love with his pets. Also, raising a few turkeys will disabuse you of the notion that they are smart. They are not. There IS a reason for the term “bird brain”. lol

      18. We have lots of wild turkey here. They commonly eat the corn from my deer feeder. its possible to glue corn to the pan on a steel jaw trap and catch them. There eye sight is very good and its difficult to hunt and successfully kill one. And yes I hunt over deer over a baited field Its legal In Arkansas. I know its akin to shooting fish in a barrel. However in not a sportsman I hunt and kill for the meat.

        • Old man that is called a Food Plot. I see nothing wrong if a farmer bags a couple extra. Hell, he fed all of them during the year, that ate half his crop. Be smart about it.

          • I feed corn in a feeder. Its a four foot long piece of 4 inch PCV pipe with a 90 & 45 elbow at the bottom. fill it with corn and it can be eaten at the 45. Also I fill a plastic jug with sweet grain and soak it with apple cider. let it ferment a few days. I hang it on a wire about 5 feet above the ground. Poke small holes so when the deer rare up and hit it some of the tasty grain falls out. I also plant a little bit of oats & wheat. I keep a salt lick there all year round. I pour loose stock salt into a hole in the ground. Ive got a old van parked within range. A hole cut in the side for shooting, comfortable seat and out of the weather & Wind & rain ect. I always manage to get my legal limit of deer. Its also lots of fun to set in there and shoot crows that come for the corn.

            • “rare up”, that’s funny, old guy.

              Is that something like, Sears and Rareback Catalog?

              Just kidding, cause I’m from the country too.

              Some of the words spoken round here, is just plain funny shit.
              My Dad, with his eighth grade education says funny shit all the time. My favorite is “rurnt”. His favorite saying for “broke shit” which is slang for “ruined”.

              He says, ” I hit a big rock with my lawnmower and “rurnt” the blades”.

              I “used” to say, “i drank too many beers and i’m rurnt”.

              One of my neighbors used to say “crunk”.
              “He crunk that car up and held it wide open”.

              Hillbilly slang…gotta love it.

              I’m gonna rare back and pull on this jug of whicky, till I’m rurnt. lol

              • Yes Im a fixin to have a snort or too myself. Instead of pry we use prize. Im a fixing to prize that apart! all male goats are named billy. Every coon hunter has a dog named blue. In addition to You All there is We Uns and You Uns. Its bob wire instead of barb wire. A beagle dog is called a beetle. The percentage paid to the owner of a tract of timber to be sold is Stumpage. A barred Plymouth rock chicken is called a Dominecker. A guys beer gut is called a pussy pusher.A old timer once told me a thanks giving story. It was during the depression and they lived in a small town. Many folks in town had chickens. They where poor and had ate all of their chickens. However the neighbors had some. So they where looking at beans for thanksgiving. At their mothers suggestion. They soaked a few kernels of corn to make them soft. The houses where built on stacked flat rocks and not underpinned. The neighbors chickens commonly went under their house. So they baited a fish hook with the corn and slipped it between the cracks in the floor. Very quickly caught a chicken and prized the floorboard loose to retrieve their prize catch. So they had chicken for thanksgiving. They continued the practice afterwards.

              • Lol, Passin… some of those words reminded me of my grand dad. He passed back in the 1980s but used to say “wretched” for “reached”. Guess that was normal for the part of Missouri he came from originally.

        • that gives me an idea, old guy. maybe we could catch some of those people across the LOOTED plain of america that are burning down their towns with some fried chicken and watermelon glued to some bear-traps.

          • Better be ready to put out LOTS of traps. Or, better yet, put out a little fried chicken and watermelon. They get to fightin’ over that and who knows what’ll happen then.

        • That’ll really piss off the Mormons and the Islamists—they all thought THEY were going to be the top guy in the NWO. 🙂

      19. Thank you fir this website Mac. I am a long time reader, first time poster that wants to sY happy thanksgiving

      20. MAC – Just thought i should fully disclose …
        I failed to bag a turkey hunting , so we are eating CHICKEN!
        But its great !
        Happy thanksgiving all .

        • BTW – The chicken never saw it coming either .

      21. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

      22. ….maybe the black swan did bug out and that’s why we are eating the dumb turkey?

      23. I friends gobbler got to be to aggresive so he whacked it with his walking stick. Nobody in his family wanted to dress the thing so he called me.

        I got the bird and the feathers for regalia too.

        Lots of people will starve if they have to kill and dress their meals, or plant and harvest.

        • “Lots of people will starve if they have to kill and dress their meals, or plant and harvest.”

          Could be. Lots of people have never had to get food for themselves. They’ve always been able to pay others to do that for them. Lots of them consider such things as “icky”. That thought disappears when they get real hungry, though.

      24. …. and to attract the stupid, idiot turkey to its death, instead of making a gobbling sound, you just make a bleating, ignorant sound that to the undiscerning ear sounds something like mindlessly chanting “Yeswecan, Yeswecan”


        1 in 5 celebrate T’Giving on food stamps. Nice work, Obama! And I guess we no longer give thanks to God at Thanksgiving (OK, well for leftists, I suppose it’s Gaia), but rather the socialist state, which bountifully (well, after it is passed through 90 layers of bureaucracy and corruption, maybe not so bountifully) “provides” for us with our own tax dollars they took from us so we couldn’t pay for our own Thanksgiving to begin with .

        “…according to the most recent data released by USDA (at there were 22,729,389 households on food stamps. That equaled 19.75 percent of 115,048,000 households in the country at that time. In each of the two previous fiscal years, the percentage of American households on food stamps in the average was near 20 percent, hitting 19.4 percent in 2012, 20.4 percent in 2013. As of August, according to the Department of Agriculture, there were 46,484,828 individuals in the food stamp program.”

        • I wonder how many went hungry…

        • “… but rather the socialist state, which bountifully (well, after it is passed through 90 layers of bureaucracy and corruption, maybe not so bountifully) “provides” for us with our own tax dollars they took from us so we couldn’t pay for our own Thanksgiving to begin with .”

          Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me that those who do the paying for and those who do the collecting of unearned benefits are NOT the same folks. Also, your description of how this funding process works seems realistic… and a lot like the digestive system.

      26. This story fits nonpreppers to a T. They’re in for the surprise of their lives when TSHTF. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

      27. I’m thankful for my teeny weeny privates. I’m thankful for my mommy’s basement and that she lets me play on her computer down here. I’m thankful that mommy hasn’t found out that I am homo. I’m thankful that Braveheart doesn’t know where I live. I’m thankful that mommy hasn’t read any of my filthy alpha as @#$% posts on SHTF. I’m thankful for slammin’ fudge with my queer homeys. I’m thankful that none of the scary old people I know have seen what I post on the interwebs. I’m thanful that my butt is finally stretched out enough that it don’t hurt me too bad when I get the Cosby treatment from my friends every day….

        • Ass’d Itcher is gonna be loved in Hell. He will have plenty of company with all the “good buddies” in the world.

          • sounds like he’s ALREADY in HELL!

          • Yep, and like the moose-limbs, he’s gonna find that those 70 virgins are actually wild donkeys… MALE wild donkeys… and they will love him long time… much boom-boom for him.

      28. Haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving yet. That will be tommorrow. I always work nights on Thanksgiving due to my shift rotation. However, one should always have a attitude of gratitude. You do not need a holiday to be thankful. God has,is,and will always give me many reasons to be grateful everyday. I am thankful that I have a very good job that so many people are looking for. I have good health, a great wife, two wonderful sons that call me dad and so many other things to be thankful for. And should my life end tonight, I am grateful that I have an eternal home. In the end, I know who wins. So I am thankful for that as well.
        Anyway, hope you all have a great holiday weekand. I much rather be here at work than wal-mart currently. I do not fear for my life here.

      29. Thanks Mac. Perfect story.


      30. Oh and I’m also thankful that in the springtime I get to strap on a backpack and a buttplug and go hiking in the desert in search of desert dwelling, shirt lifting, mud packing, rod gobbling, goo guzzlers.

      31. Happy Thanksgiving! Keep your powder dry.

        I think acid etcher needs to quit etching so much acid.

        On a Black Friday note: Dicks Sporting Goods in my local paper- Savage model 320 12ga self-defense shotgun, 189.00, 50 rounds of buckshot included!

        • Never say the word “Dick” around Acid… gets him WAY too excited for our own good.

      32. possible arriving scond time of Jesus Christ?
        If you calculate the data of the bible, it really can happen. I do not know! But times getting more and more worse comparing to he 80th and 90th.

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