What I am thankful for

Every Thanksgiving someone in the family always comes up with, “Hey, let’s have everyone name something they’re thankful for!” We go around the table with people saying things like, “I’m grateful for Aunt Nanny” and then offering a beautifully written ode to Aunt Nanny, while I’m just trying to remember everyone’s name. Every year I’m caught by surprise. One year, I blurted out “I’m grateful for the turkey!” and actually got booed. And I had cooked the turkey!

This year, I’m ready. Here’s my list.

• Donald Trump for energizing voters to get off their couches and actually exercise their right to vote. We had the highest voter turnout in years, all due to the country dividing itself into Pro-Trump and Con-Trump camps. I guess there’s something to be said for being a divider instead of a uniter.

• Netflix for rescuing me from over-the-air TV shows. Netflix shows are far better than their network counterparts. Plus, there are no commercials! Plus plus, I can binge-watch and re-watch as many times as I like. Netflix even has old TV shows I missed, like Friends (Could there BE a funnier cast?) Netflix started by renting classic movies from old-time movie studios. Then, the rights got too expensive, so they started making their own. Now that others like Apple and Amazon are joining the no commercials model, I hope some of the old-time studios will start streaming a channel of their classic movies.

• The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, AP, Reuters and other major news media for providing in-depth investigative stories (such as last week’s NY Times piece on Facebook) as a counter to the breathless and somewhat lobotomized TV news. Poor TV news: so costly, so time consuming, and so vacuous.

• The men’s fashion world for no longer requiring that men wear ties for formal occasions. Open necked shirts are a lot more comfortable than shirt and tie. Wearing ties goes back eons to the world-before-steam-heat,  even to the Romans according to some historians. Some say a tie was used to ward of cold, others say it was to subtly point to a certain part of a man’s anatomy. Whatever the answer, this man is happy.

• Ride hailing services. They have saved me beaucoup bucks. Now instead of driving to an airport, bus, or train station when I travel, and paying exorbitant parking fees while I’m gone, I take a Lyft to and from. It’s a lot cheaper and a lot nicer to be driven. Plus, being a back seat driver is way more fun than being a front seat driver.

• Turkey. Not the bird, the country, for telling the world about the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, for forcing the world to pay attention. The facts about it are horrific enough. The White House and the administration’s support for the Saudis who killed him, cut up his body and took the parts to God knows where, darned close.

• Dogs. Because they aren’t racist or bigoted. They don’t lie or cheat. They do steal, but no-one ever told them they shouldn’t steal because we haven’t learned to speak dog; however they can speak to us – in a variety of ways. They like everybody, except those who harm them. What a great code of living.

• Karen and Tyrone Mack of Capitol Heights, MD not just for adopting – at age 55 – all five siblings from one family, but also for their reason for doing so: “because they are our future. They are our Congress. They are our president.”

• Women legislators and the voters who put them in power, because they’ve been sitting in the wings long enough, because all that talent, insight, and capability have been ignored for too long, because the country needs them.

• California, because even on it’s knees and breathing through tear-stained facemasks, it’s still one of the best places on earth.

• Finally, you – everyone who reads this column, because of your brilliance, high level of curiosity, understanding, endless seeking of truth, and all around next-to-Godliness. If anyone deserves thanks, it is you.

As Pilgrim Captain John Woodleaf and Squanto of the Pawtuxet Tribe said to those very first dinner guests in 1619:  “Happy Thanksgiving, Turkeys!”

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