SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
Some years, it’s difficult to write a Thanksgiving column. In a time of war, domestic strife, scandal, and disaster, it can be hard to remind yourself of the things we should be thankful for.
Also, while covered from head to waist in poison ivy.
Let me be frank. Right now I don’t care if I live in a great country. If someone can make this itching go away, I won’t care if I live in Outer friggin’ Mongolia. If someone can both make the itching go away and explain how I got poison ivy in the first place, I’ll see to it they get the Congressional Medal of Honor.
But what the heck, I’ll give thankfulness a shot. Let’s avoid the obvious, though – the stuff that’s been covered more than my body’s covered in rash. Here are some of the more unusual things I’m thankful for:
I’m thankful there are morons in the world. It makes me seem smarter. I’m of only average intelligence, but every time a person gets in the news for doing something really stupid, it makes me seem more like a poster child for MENSA.
So, keep writing your bank robbery note on the back of your own deposit slip. It gives normal people something to talk about.
I’m thankful for deer. Not only do they give hunters something to do between summer and basketball season, but they give drivers good reason to be alert. As I’ve said before, many deer are hit by cars this time of year because the animals can’t stand the thought of going through another Indiana winter, and so they walk out in front of moving vehicles. So, watch out for those suicidal deer.
I’m thankful for the Weather Channel. Who’d have thought 24 hours a day of weather could be entertaining? The forecasts may not be any more accurate than before, but at least we get lots of TV pictures to remind us it’s not so bad where we are.
I’m thankful for political campaigns. They make me feel dirty, which leads me to take more showers, so thanks to politics I’m a cleaner person.
I’m thankful for lawnmowers. Yeah, they’re noisy, they burn gas, they blow up and shower you with white hot metal – well, they do me – but they’re also one of those overlooked signs of our technological greatness. I mean, a machine that cuts your grass! Think about it. It’s part of that wonderful progression, from hunter/gatherer to goats roaming your lawn to reel mowers – and now we have little cars roaming on another planet, collecting dust. Like my last three lawn mowers are.
I’m thankful for trees. Maybe I won’t write poems about them, but I appreciate them. Walk outside, just about anywhere around here, and look around. Now imagine the same scene, without trees. I rest my case.
I’m thankful for family. As long as you have family, you don’t really have to make friends or enemies – you’ve got a ready made soap opera at every family reunion. You can’t choose your family, and that’s part of their charm. And if you think your family’s bad, watch “The Godfather”.
I’m thankful for reality TV. Thanks to that unique fad, I don’t have to waste nearly as much time watching television; in fact, I can just turn it off and – gasp -- read a book.
Speaking of which, I’m thankful for those lists of banned books that people assemble from time to time. Thanks to them, I don’t have to look for something to read: I can just go down the list.
I’m thankful I can.
I’m thankful for computers. They drive me crazy; they’re time consuming; they’re costly. But you know, if my writing is any good (I’m told the jury’s still out), it’s that much better because I can go in and, with a tap on the keyboard, replace a phrase with its much better cousin. When you’re pounding on a typewriter and have to retype an entire page if you change one word, you’re not as likely to try to make your work perfect.
Not that I’m perfect, which I’m thankful for.
I’m thankful for neighbors (the good ones). Some say it’s too bad we don’t talk across our neighbor’s fence any more, like in the old days. I think that’s true; we all need to go outside more, connect with our own communities.
But still, I’m thankful for the great people you can meet over the internet, people who aren’t necessarily the same as those who are physically around you. I now have friends of every color, religion, and nationality. Heck, I don’t know if we’d get along in real life – but here, in that electronic universe called cyberspace, we’ve still become friends in the truest sense of the word.
I’ve also connected with old friends, and family members who I’d be too lazy to get in touch with otherwise. Maybe it’s the lazy man’s communication – but it’s still communication. I’ve been exposed to the thoughts of men and women from Malaysia to Canada, from England to the Phillipines, and from half the states in the good old US of A. I can’t even guess where some of them are, and that’s significant. Why? Because I’ve discovered that, stripped of preconceived notions, people are just people – all over.
Isn’t that something?
So, despite everything going on in this world, there’s still plenty to be thankful for. I’m – um – thankful for that. Heck, like the stereotypical Pollyanna, I can even find reason to be thankful for poison ivy …
Because it’ll be oh, so nice when it’s gone.