Humor by Chason Gordon. See below.
This year, when you fall over on the sofa, stomach bursting with food, zipper half-open, head aswirl with wine, and all attempts by people to socialize angrily waved off in a half-awake, stomach-cramp filled stupor, you might as well use the moment to think about what you’re thankful for. It’s in the name of the holiday, for God’s sake.
I’m thankful for a great many things, like a comfortable pair of shoes, a nice refreshing beverage, and friends who kindly refrain from pointing out my many obvious flaws. I’m thankful for the roof over my head, as well as the walls that hold up that roof and keep it from falling and breaking my neck. I’m thankful for Groucho Marx, Willie Mays, the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony, Louie Armstrong’s recording of “Potatohead Blues,” Swedish movies, “Sentimental Education” by Flaubert, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, the crabs at Sam Wo’s, and Tracy’s face.
Sure, I stole that list from Woody Allen’s “Manhattan,” but there’s some good stuff in there. Like most people, I’m generally thankful for everything I have and the people I know, though I’d trade them all for a jet ski.
There’s a distinct difference between being thankful and having gratitude. Being thankful typically doesn’t require you to leave the house or pick up a phone. It can be done in the comfort of your home while exercising or eating or mowing the lawn. You just need to feel thankful and can move on. Gratitude requires that you actually get up off your ass and thank someone, telling them what they or some good deed mean to you. It’s often exhausting and humbling and can be totally awkward, especially if the gratitude is way too late.
What’s most important is to distinguish between things you’re thankful for and things you got on your own. This granola bar I’m eating, for instance, is something I’m thankful for, but my birth, that was brought about through my sheer metaphysical willpower.
One of the things that I’m truly thankful for is the person who taught me to create an above-ground gravy pool in my mashed potatoes, an innovation which eluded me for most of my life. Before this method, it was a dark time for gravy/mashed potatoes distribution. I would scoop the gravy onto my Everest-like potatoes, and watch helpless as it flowed down the sides and gathered around the edges of the plate, never to be sopped up and eaten. With my gravy pool, however, I can perfectly control the gravy distribution, dipping food into it and methodically letting a little leak out onto the plate one tiny stream at a time (while everyone stares at me).
Most people are thankful for the Thanksgiving meal itself. With the standbys like turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving feels like getting the old band back together for one more show in your colon. Sure, the music isn’t quite as good as when you were a kid – the turkey’s a little dry, the cranberry sauce is now from a can, and the stuffing is mostly old Soviet newspapers and confetti, but it’s always nice to see them together again (I don’t think this analogy is holding up).
Though it’s embarrassing to admit, I’ve never cooked a turkey. I’ve purchased a turkey, monitored a turkey, whispered sweet nothings in its ear and picked at it while everyone else was socializing, but I can’t recall ever actually making one myself. There was always somebody else doing most of the work. Usually, I just sat there and peeled potatoes, until the person cooking the turkey told me that I needed to do a better job peeling the potatoes.
And even though I contributed nothing to the turkey-making process, I still managed to always hover around the oven like an asshole, trying to make sure the turkey didn’t get overcooked by passive-aggressively saying, “Should I check if it’s ready? It might be ready.”
Yes sir, it’s important to be thankful, but you don’t want to be too thankful, because then you’ll never get anything done. Give thanks and then quickly get on with your life so that you can work to get more things to be thankful for. You need to keep shoveling goods and accomplishments into the gratitude furnace, or else you’ll give thanks for same thing far too many times, and feel less and less gratitude, until you wind up resenting it. Is that what you want? Is that how you want to live? I didn’t think so. Now go out there and be something, you thankless bastard!
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