The Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

Happy Thanksgiving

Here in America, Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

Now, normally, when I talk about the things for which I’m most thankful, (which I’m about to do so buckle up, buttercup), it actually is on a day when we’re supposed to be giving thanks for such things.

However, since I’m doing this online and most readers will be too busy gritting their teeth to bite back angry comments about Uncle Carl’s neolithic understanding of modern politics or laughing at Aunt Carol’s turkey-patterned pantsuit to actually sit down at a computer and read some idiot blathering on about why he’s grateful, I thought I’d do it a day early. Although, really, I’m hoping Aunt Carol and Uncle Carl stay home this year and you can have a restful, relaxing and fun day on Thanksgiving.

And also I like Wednesdays as a day to post. So it all works out.

The thing is, I don’t like this whole focus on giving thanks for things on Thanksgiving. Like New Year’s Eve and resolutions, I like to think we can be grateful for the good things in our lives on something closer to 365 days, rather than only one. Sometimes we get caught up in the hustle of everyday life and we forget to stop, take a breath and appreciate all the good things we’ve got.

And if you’re sitting here, reading this on a computer, inside a warm house, wearing clothing that fits and keeps out the cold and the rain, then, yeah, you’re doing pretty darn well and you have a lot for which to be thankful.

Normally, I’d just make a snide post here about the whole being-forced-to-show-gratitude-sort-of-goes-against-the-whole-concept part of Thanksgiving and leave it at that, but I actually read over my contract here. Turns out, there’s a standard bit of boilerplate in the contract language that mandates anyone with any sort of regular column must write a pre-Thanksgiving post in which she/he talks about being grateful. I talked to the editors here at Charlotte Parent to see if I could get out of it. My wonderful and talented editor said something about hunting me down and dragging my guts out through my nose if I tried to skip out on my obligations, but I’m sure she meant it in a loving way and not at all as a threat. Although, it’s sort of hard to tell once she gets back from her daily five-martini lunches, you know?

Hmm. I wonder if that was the smart thing to write? Nah, I’ll be fine. I mean, it’s not like she reads the thing, you know?

But, just to be on the safe side, let’s talk gratitude. I could spend the entire column talking about all the things I’m most grateful for this year. However, I’m willing to face facts and understand that I’m not as astonishingly, inherently interesting as I might think I am. So I won’t force you to sit through too many. As if I could.

  • I’m thankful to even be here. As I have been every day since Nov. 5, 2004, I’m so very glad my heart didn’t succeed in trying to kill me and I was able to live ten more years (so far) and watch my wife age into an even more beautiful woman than she was when I married her, watch my sons grow older and begin becoming the men into which they will grow, and meet our dog, Buzz Aldrin Jones, and his smile.
  • I’m thankful I love my in-laws and even more thankful my wife loves her in-laws. I’ve met families where the in-laws are barely tolerated and I really feel a great deal of pity for them. My wife and I are very close to our in-laws and always enjoy their company.
  • I’m thankful I’m a Gator fan. I mean, I could have been a Criminole and that’s. . . That’s. . . It’s too awful to contemplate.
  • I am more grateful than I can say that I was given the opportunity to stay home and rear our three sons. FSM knows I had no thought to do this when I was younger and would never have believed it, but I would not give up the last 15 years for anything. I love being dad. A large portion of who I am is based on the fact that I think I’m a pretty good dad. There’s nothing outside of the home that I could even conceive of as being able to give me even half the satisfaction I receive from being the Dad.

Here’s the thing about gratitude. Sometimes it’s hard to understand that you should be grateful. Often, we find that we become accustomed to things being good and we begin to take that for granted. We begin to think we deserve to get what we want whenever we want it no matter what. That is not a pretty attitude.

No one likes to be around a self-serving, self-interested boob who cares nothing for anyone outside his or her own skin.

And, yet, sometimes we all start to look like that because we forget that we have so much for which we should be grateful. The problem with that, of course, is that the little Spawn Of Our Loins are like sponges. They soak up everything they see and everything they hear. Which means when you’re acting like a narcissistic boob, they see it and begin to think that’s the way they should act.

If you want to do better, and I know you do, it’s not like you have to make some huge production every time someone gives you something, or you start spouting loud and effusive thanks for everything around you.

Maybe just show the little things. When you see a well-made brick wall, just as a for example, maybe stop and point it out to the Spawn Of Your Loins. Talk about how you’re thanksful that there are people out there who understand how to do this and how to do it so the wall lasts a long time. Because, without them, you’d have to do this and things would be falling down all over the place.
Make sure and thank the little Spawn when she brings you something you requested. Show her that you appreciate what she does for you. If it’s a beautiful day outside, say so. “Man, this is a beautiful day. I’m so glad we get to be outside in this.” If you are stuck inside on a rainy day, don’t spend the entire time grousing about how it’s raining, find something positive to say about it. How you’re grateful you don’t have to use municipal water to water the lawn, or how you’re grateful it rains because then you’ve got mud puddles in which to splash. Of course, if you say that, then you’ve got to follow up with some actual splashing of mud puddles, but who doesn’t like that?

Just show the little Spawn that you understand life doesn’t owe you anything and so you’re grateful when good things come your way from life or from the people in your life. 
For me, it’s been a pretty nice ride so far and there’s so much for which I’m grateful. So I’d like to give a big thank you to the universe and to all you folks reading this today. Let’s go out there tomorrow and get into some fine eatin’, some thankful gratifying, and some delicious stuffing.Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

One last thing. I’m mostly thankful that I won’t have to see any more of these creepy happy turkey things after tomorrow. I mean, come on. The holiday is mostly known as a day when we slaughter turkeys by the millions and this dude’s happy about the whole thing? He’s excited about the impending death of an appreciable portion of the world population of his species? And even thinks seriously about getting into a Pilgrim suit to really get into the spirit of the thing? That’s just so wrong on so many levels.

Good-bye, smiling turkey. Glad I won’t be seeing you for another 365. And brother am I grateful for that.