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

by | Nov 26, 2015 | Headline News | 58 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 eight 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. Hope all have a great Thanksgiving…

        Let cooler minds prevail in running this world, because those that do now are not doing too good of a job…

        Eyes open, no fear…

        • To Mac and all the great posters here.

          In the last 2 years, what have we learned?

          Do NOT walk in a freeway, high on pcp, toting a knife, taunting LEOs.
          Do NOT reach in LEOs car trying to take his weapon.
          Do NOT vacation in Syria.
          Do NOT fly in Russian airliners.
          Do NOT piss into the wind.
          Do NOT pull on Superman’s cape.

          And don’t mess around with Slim…

            • Mac, Tess, Team, and all posters.

              Thank you to all of you from whom this Coonass has learned so much! May we be able to celebrate Thanksgiving again next year. It becomes more special with each passing year. Please keep those Black Swan events away forever. This story did remind me of how I did feel for those two turkeys earlier in the spring who never saw it coming. Enjoy the leftovers!

              Louisiana Eagle

      2. i’m thankful for this site that has taught me so much about prepping, and MOST importantly, WHY we need to prep! to all the newbies here, keep reading the comments after the stories, there’s MUCH to learn!

      3. Happy Turkey Day! … not for the turkey though. I’ll stick to the veggies and non meat items.

      4. Happy Thanksgiving!…..except for O.

        • Ya thanks a lot m’fers! Remember what comes around goes around. It’s your turn next.

          • Yeah, because we know where you and your family would be without our help


            Now, go pick up your welfare.

            We will keep you in good health (just like the horses)

      5. Thanks for this site, I just want to know the truth with current events “Enjoy the holiday”

      6. Something ominous in that story not for the turkey,but for the US, sadly most Americans are as clueless as the truck full of turkeys hopelessly crammed into one on another in a metal cage on their way to a processing facility,a terrifying thought to contemplate that the ax may soon fall upon us…

        • Nightwolf

          We be shuffling off to the FEMA camps in rail road cattle cars.

          Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.

          • Fatten up for the slaughter 🙂

      7. I am very grateful for the extra time God has given us. I will enjoy this day with my family, but keeping one eye on the world around me. Everyone, I hope this is a blessed Thanksgiving for everyone. God Bless Mac. Talk to ya later.

      8. Happy Bird Day all!This country is full of turkeys who cannot/will not see it coming!Sticking ones head in the sand still leaves neck exposed to the ace!So,in summation,”Black Fridays Matter!”

      9. happy thanksgiving to all! Remember to count your blessings
        Regardless of your beliefs. Be thankful we have another day,
        and that we have food to eat today. We are not promised tomorrow.

        I still can’t figure out why the farmer would feed the turkey for 3 years though, waste of resources.

        • The farmer is making money, that’s why.

          • Why did the farmer cross the road?

            Because his pecker was stuck in the chicken.

        • Perhaps he didn’t have the latest monsanto turkey feed with ultra steroids. Maybe he should have injected them with growth hormones and antibiotics. Must be an old school farmer…

        • citizen

          That is how long it took for the turkey’s appeals process to run out.

          • You get extra gravy today with that answer !

          • LMAO, slingshot!

          • Good one sling!

      10. We Are Still Here! On the right side of the grass.

        That amounts to something. I hope people are better prepared than they were this time last year. That they have muddled through the good and the bad exchanges and picked the gems from so many texts and topics. I hope many have learned that it not all peaches and cream out there. It is called the Real World. Chances are it is not going to get any better in the short run. May the Vail of Normal Bias be removed and we make the adjustments needed to set our country back on the tracks to prosperity again. May we also regain the Qualities of what made this Nation Great so we can pass them on to our next generations. To secure those Thanksgivings in the future.

        Happy Thanksgiving.

      11. Happy T-day all. Crazy, crazy days for sure.

        Take today off, enjoy the family, the food and the ‘freedom’.

        SHTF tomorrow.

      12. To all of you May God Bless You and Keep You Safe Always…Mac Thank You For All You Do…

      13. OH. And have a happy thanksgiving yall….

      14. And I hope the musloid and chief in the WH chokes to death on his turkey, paid for by the U.S. tax payers. God Bless us everyone.

      15. That’s right eat that Perdue bird that was raised on steroids and growth hormones in 500 day then sent to death so we could eat it. It was produced to help keep the masses from having to kill their own bird. The wife was driving down a road near our house Tuesday and some guy went flying by her and ran his car off the road and it rolled over into a ditch and he was hanging out the window. Well she stopped right away and called 911 they came out and dealt with it. She was concerned to know if he had died in the wreck. So she called the police and they told her what happened. She called me all stressed out I said calm down it’s probably some drunk and to just be glad he didn’t hit her van and hurt her or the kids. The cops didn’t say he was drunk but they did say he hit a girl and fled the scene leaving behind his license plate which wasn’t valid he had a suspended liscence no insurance. This is why he fled the scene the first time. I’d be willing to bet he was oui. Recently there was a girl that was speeding by my house I mean going 80 in a 20 wife called the police with the plate and they said the plate didn’t belong on that vehicle. People be careful there are a lot of people driving with out proper registration or insurance and to boot they are driving recklessly too. Guy that rolled the car was in his 50s police said. These people are scumbags they probably sleep on someone’s couch and have nothing to lose. Stay safe out there.

        • Cop I know told me a couple of years ago that about 1 in 4 or 5 of the people he pulls over for a moving violation have a suspended license, no insurance, traffic warrants, or some combination of those.

          And after 9:00 on any holiday weekend, 1 out of 3 drivers is impaired to some extent.

        • AssHat

          Over the past year there have been more vehicles running into “Parked Homes” Private residence, Churches and businesses. Sitting there minding there own business and a vehicle crashes into them. The Interstates and state roads are Indy 500 race tracks with Tractor trailers, Dump trucks and private cars competing for faster lanes. Forget about the speed limit. Roll overs, fires, crashes and occasional romps off road, into the trees are claiming lives. We are not talking about DUI’s or drugs. Cells Phones, texting, speeding and not paying attention.
          Seventeen Mexicans in one van involved in a crash.

          I see Chicago will become what Ferguson Missouri was last year. Protestors ripping Christmas lights off the Christmas trees. Protesting Black Friday.

          This is supposed to be Thanksgiving. Yeah, Right.

      16. I would like to thank the site and all who visit here.
        Especially those who have answered my posts in a
        kind and generous manner. I hope those who read
        commenters realize that composition is not rewarded
        financially but there is a wealth of knowledge being
        given freely. For that I am grateful. That is why I have
        taken the time to participate. Happy Thanksgiving.

        • B from CA:

          Happy Thanksgiving. Your truthful posts are much appreciate by me and lots of others here at shtf. Keep them coming.

      17. The bird is the word!

        (and the wishbone is for praying that Turkey does not kick off Armygeddon with old Vlad.)

      18. For the stuffing in those metaphorical turkey birds, I suggest we preppers give a second reading to a couple of our regular participants:

        Sling said: “Again, this site is informational and not instructional. There is a difference. If the newbies keep reading here they will become certified preachers and have zero survival skills.”

        Acid Etch said: “The element of surprise is by far the most dominant element in any confrontation. This is why we prep. Got to be ready to react at all times.”

        We are most appreciative of your labor to produce this site Mac; if some of the best quotes are retained much good can result.

        Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


      19. Happy turkeyday everyone. Been busy cleaning up the mess from the home invasion. I already had a new long gun safe new in the box for my babies before the incident. they ruined the other one when they pried it open so I had to toss it. I still had one other handgun stashed away at my office at the time of the incident so I brought it home for now. 2 of the 5 handguns that were taken were my favorites so I will be replacing those 2 out of pocket. No homeowners or renters’ insurance. Next gun show in my area is Dec.12-13 so I’ll get something then. Whoever did this had better watch their six.

        • Braveheart 1776

          As I said big time bummer.

          That being said I always wanted one of those built in the wall sliding book cases that hid stuff. The best one was featured in the 1967 movie with Jason Robards, “The St Valentines Day Massacre”.

          The can’t steal what they can’t see. A guy I know built his wife a cedar closet. Whats my favorite term? Ostensible. His guns were behind the cedar. He passed away and his wife too. Someone else has the home. I assume the guns were sold prior as both knew they were going before hand. Regardless the future home owners got a surprise. maybe they know about the hidden place, maybe not.

          We were broken into two decades ago and two revolvers were stolen. Should have had them in the safe (which was untouched) as we went on vacation.

        • Brave, I am sad to hear this. About 20 years ago my home was burgled and some of the items stolen were irreplaceable. They got my knife collection, my Browning Hi-Power, antique jewelry, and a lot more. Since I had just moved in and wasn’t settled yet, I had basically my life savings in cash at the house (“it will only be here for a few days” – that turned out to be more true than I realized) and they got all that money too. These shitbags burglarized literally dozens of homes, eventually were caught, and got laughable, slap-on-the-wrist sentences. (None of my stuff was ever recovered.) One of the guys was AWOL from active duty. In one home, they kicked and stomped an elderly, harmless dog to death for their own amusement. The DA’s office didn’t really care about the victims, and treated the whole thing as “nothing important” because no people suffered any physical injuries. Burglars are usually given light sentences because limp-wristed bleeding hearts say “it was just property, nobody was hurt, material things don’t really matter” — well, horseshit. Throughout 90%+ of human history, stealing was punishable by death. I have no sympathy for burglars whatsoever and I sincerely hope that karma falls with a heavy hand on the scum who stole from you. Best Wishes for the future ~ KV

          • A few years ago one of our neighbors was walking with his wife and 4 y/o daughter and hollered “Slow down” when some ‘gangstaz’ roared recklessly through our neighborhood. They got out and beat the tar out of him so loudly that we heard them from inside our home. My oldest son and I ran them off as they were slamming his head against a metal truck bumper (the guy was on coumadin for a pulmonary embolus). Our neighbor suffered permanent cognitive damage. We ID’d the perpetrators in court and they were convicted. The black judge gave them a sentence of 90 days. Clearly, black lives matter, but white lives do not.

      20. Blessings and Peace.

      21. All I got was a rock……….

        • Your Pumpkin Patch wasn’t sufficiently sincere!

      22. Happy turkey Day! Best to everyone…you too Acid! Good luck Braveheart with replacing your armory and everybody keep looking over your shoulder.

      23. Wal mart report….made it and let me tell you there was only about half the people there that was in years past not a good sign

        • What do you mean that’s not a good sign? That maybe people decided it was more important to stay home with family instead of foolishly rushing to Wallymart for more unnecessary stuff? That seems like a great sign to me.

      24. Or just buying on line who knows but i can say that the items that were limited and controlled by employee did not sell out like use to just not enough people or demand not looking good at all

      25. Happy Thanksgiving Day to all of you and especially Mac and his family! Three years has flown by, and I pray we have another to be able to finish preparing for whatever comes along!

      26. Gobble! Gobble! Y’all!

      27. No don’t buy online and don’t go to the store either. Don’t buy at all retailers don’t deserve your $. The teals are not that good this year IMO. Looks like marked up then reduced to reg price for Black Friday. People get all exited over nothing. Let’s make it black eye day for retailers by keeping our$. One thing I must say though if you need 22 ammo dicks sporting goods has it. I think the flyer said 550 bricks $24.99 that is not bad last year it was $$19.99 I already stocked up but thought I’d share this info with the brethren.

        • The Ghost war.

          Two ten minute road flares. Walmart.

      28. I am cruising through the Utube video’s of last nights Black Friday and although I did not see as much strong violence. There was plenty for the Prepper to observe.

        What I saw should give you cause for concern should an major incident occur. It is a strong visual conformation why you need to prep. The yelling and screaming and Drama. A possible interaction with Law Enforcement and injury for a stupid Flat Screen T.V.
        Imagine if you needed water or food? People are one level above animals and Black Friday is all the proof you need.

      29. We SO appreciate your timely, informative commentaries… one of my “can’t live without’ web sites!

      30. Here for the first time. Cool site!

        • Thanks Kirk!

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