I swear I only visited for observation's sake. Not to peruse the specials or to buy so much as a bauble, but to examine why human beings would spend America's great holiday scrounging for savings on the department store floor.
Like Lilliput in reverse, it was an encounter with the comically super-sized: the aisles, the savings and the clientele. Yes, you've never seen humanity like Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving.
Four billion years of evolution, I thought, as I wandered around. Descending from thousands of ancestors, many of whom survived extraordinary, perilous journeys, defying disease, an ice age and sabre-tooth tigers to pass down their blood to the waddling Wal-Martian masses.
Four billion years of evolution: countless opportunities for bloodlines to be snuffed.
Four billion years of evolution. And these were the winning sperm.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh. Perhaps.
It was the Wal-Mart employees I really felt sick for. And of course an argument could be made that a trip to Wal-Mart for its mammoth "Black Friday" Thanksgiving sale is actually a legitimate celebration of America's purest holiday.
Over-stuffed turkeys, cut-price TVs: It's all consumption, after all.
For those of us not working the department store tills, though, Thanksgiving provides a rare holiday occasion where all Americans are on the same page.
In a city such as New York (which takes no public holidays for Easter, Eid al-Fitr or Hanukkah and has public sport matches on Christmas Day) it's a welcome change in the holiday season, when the crowds and the cold and the candy canes mean you can never be entirely sure what anyone is actually celebrating.
Having endured several slightly awkward encounters over the past few years, I urge you to take my advice: if you happen upon a Benjamin O'Brien, it's best not wish him "Happy Hanukkah" or "Merry Christmas", but to hedge your bets in ambiguity and wish him "Happy Holiday".
It's diversity that makes America special.
But for specific holidays, diversity sometimes divides. That's the beauty of Thanksgiving.
It's open to interpretation, beautiful in simplicity, with an invitation to all.
"I am thankful for ..."
Fill the gap. I'm thankful I got out of Wal-Mart alive.