Happy Thanksgiving

A few years ago, I made the decision not to write anything new for Thanksgiving, but, instead, to recycle something that I’d written the year before. And, ever since then, I’ve been posting the same damn thing. Well, here it is again. I was tempted to remove some of the old references, and replace them with new ones, but it occurred to me that altering this post, which is fast becoming a family classic, would be like changing It’s A Wonderful Life so that Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed dance Gangnam Style instead of the Charleston in that scene that takes place over the high school pool. So, with that in mind, here it is, untouched… Enjoy….


This Thanksgiving morning I’m tempted to get political and say that I’m thankful above all else for things like the fact that a majority of Americans still think of Sarah Palin as being unfit to serve as President, and that former U.S. House majority leader Tom DeLay was found guilty yesterday of money laundering. But, I’m trying to think less about politics today, and the swirling gyre of retardation that is the Tea Party, and focus instead on friends and family. I probably don’t say it here as often as I should, but I’m incredibly thankful for both. Without my family, I wouldn’t be here. And, without my friends, I wouldn’t be the person that am today… Sure, I might be a better, more successful and more productive version of myself without them, but I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. So, before I get started with this post, I’d just like to note that I’m incredibly thankful for everyone that I’m related to, from my grandmother in Kentucky, to my daughter, who is now in the other room, looking at our enormous turkey through the little glass porthole in the oven. There have been some bad times, and we’ve lost some people over the years, but, all in all, I’d say that we’ve been really fortunate as a family. As far as I know, all of us that are alive at the moment, healthy, happy, employed and have roofs over our heads, which is quite an accomplishment in today’s world. As for friends, the same, for the most part, goes for them. A few are temporarily without partners or between jobs, but, as far as I know, the people in my friendship network (“tribe” sounded too new age) are doing pretty well, and I’m thankful for that. But, what I want to write about today are a few of the less obvious things that I’m thankful for – things that I don’t think I’ve ever shared with you before.

I’m thankful that my friends Dan and Matt, when they’d graduated from college, moved to Ann Arbor to live with me. If they hadn’t, I might never have had the misdirected encouragement I needed to start a band. And, if the three of us hadn’t formed a band, I probably wouldn’t have ever ventured into Ypsilanti, where I met my wife, Linette. There are others that played a role as well, like Ward Tomich, who booked us to play at Cross Street Station that fateful night. Without al of these folks, I’d likely be living in the forest today, sucking nutrients from moss-covered rocks.

I’m thankful for the car crash that my dad had in the late 60’s, which almost tore his arm from his body. If it hadn’t happened, my dad surely would shipped off to fight in Vietnam, with the other men that he’d been training with. Of the dozen or so men in his group, only two returned alive. I cannot imagine growing up without a father.

I’m thankful that my mother encouraged my father to apply for job at AT&T after he was released from the Navy. (He worked at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital after recovering from his accident.) He’d been working highway construction jobs when she talked him into applying for a position at a remote audio relay station of some kind near Monticello, Kentucky. He got that job, flipping switches and listening in on people’s private phone calls, and the rest is history. He steadily climbed up through the ranks, ending his career at the company headquarters in New Jersey – probably one of the few people without a college degree to do so. If this hadn’t happened, I would likely still be in the same small town in Kentucky today, instead of in the worldly, sophisticated metropolis of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

While my parents never graduated from college, they did both attend classes as they could, which wasn’t easy with full-time jobs and two kids to raise. I remember pretty clearly my mom studying Spanish late at night at the kitchen table. And I remember them proof-reading class assignments for one another. It made an impression on me, and I’m forever thankful for it. It’ll probably make my mom cry to hear it, but I’m also thankful that they stopped taking me to church at a young age.

I’m thankful that my parents valued education enough to settle our family in a decent school district, instead of closer to where my father was going to be working. My dad, most days, left for work at 5:00 AM to catch the bus, and didn’t return until 7:00 PM or so at night. He did that for over a dozen years straight, and, because of that, I got to attend a great public school, where I met people like Dan and Matt – the guys I mentioned above who moved to Ann Arbor to make noise, drink $1 pitchers of beer, and publish zines with me.

Speaking of sacrifice, I’m also thankful that my distant relatives made the decision to come to America when they did. They did so without knowing if they’d ever see their homelands again. They left everything they knew in England, Sweden, Scotland, and Poland, in order to make a better life for their families. And, it’s because of their sacrifices that I’m here today, not having to work in the fields from sun up to sun down as they did.

Oh, and I’m thankful that, of all the mental illnesses in the world, I got OCD, which kind of has its up-side.

OK, there’a whole lot more I’d like to say, but that’ll have to be it for now, as the buzzer on the oven is ringing.

Happy holidays.

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  1. Eel
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    I’m thankful for the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, giving us humans a shot at the top of the food chain.

  2. EOS
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Who is it that atheists thank on a day like today?

  3. Bob
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    EOS, I’m thankful that every year Christianity shrinks and Republicans become increasingly clownish and marginalized. Soon, you God fucks will be as extinct as the T-Rex. Someday, Spielberg’s grandchild will make blockbusters about scientists who attempt to resurrect one of your species, by cloning a bit of DNA from your fossilized shit. My grandchildren will laugh and laugh.

  4. EOS
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Extinct? We’re going to live for an eternity. Everybody will live in one of two locations. Choose wisely.

  5. Mr. X
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    You don’t have to believe in the existence of god in order to be thankful for what you have.

  6. Demetrius
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Believing that those who follow one particular religion (or who are religious at all ) are the only ones who can be thankful – for family, friends, health, abundance, etc. – is a very limited way to look at the world.

    I would think (and hope) that the ability to reflect and be thankful might be a thing we all share in common – regardless of our background or beliefs.

  7. EOS
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    But who are you thanking? It is an expression that is directed to someone. You can’t really thank empty space. Who is it?

  8. EOS
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Muslims thank Allah. Hindus thank Vishnu. Who do atheists thank?

  9. Mr. X
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    What do you mean, “Who are you thanking?” You can be thankful without actually “thanking” anyone, the same way you can be “greatful” without actually “grating” anyone.

  10. EOS
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    No. It’s a grammatical issue. Thank is a transitive verb. It requires an object to be acted on. You must thank somebody. To be thankful is to be full of thanks to someone.

    I think we all share a common desire to reflect and be thankful because we have all been created by God. It is common to all persons. We are not thankful to random chance or dumb luck.

    I hope everyone has many reasons to be thankful this day and I encourage you to reflect and give thanks to the One who is deserving of your praise and worship and thanks.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted November 26, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m thankful for vaccines, eyeglasses and antibiotics.

  12. Peter Larson
    Posted November 27, 2015 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    I am thankful to have the cancer of Christianity out of my life for good.

  13. Jean Hwnry
    Posted November 27, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    EOS– I am thankful for both random chance and for space– which is not really empty, is it? I am ok with being thankful to Random Chance and Empty Space as well. Buddhists praise emptiness. This idea is not without spiritual foundation.
    “I think we all share a common desire to reflect and be thankful because we have all been created by God.”
    — I think many of us believe in God because all humans share a capacity and inclination to reflect and be thankful.

    That’s where God comes from. Us. We are spiritual beings. It does not necessarily follow that there is a holy spirit. If you made a Venn diagram of all the world’s religions and looked at the areas where their beliefs intersect and agree, you would have a decent picture of humanity at its best.

    The stuff outside of agreement is mostly a big problem– for all of us.

  14. Posted November 27, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Atheists are thankful to other people. I’m certainly thankful to many people in my life. People who actually exist.

  15. EOS
    Posted November 27, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink


    What about those things that are not attributable to other persons. Are you thankful for your health? For your sound mind? For the beauty of a sunset?

  16. Posted November 28, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    No, I wouldn’t use the word thankful. I enjoy or don’t enjoy things. My health is actually not particularly good, since my parents left me with poor genes. I’m not thankful for that, but I can’t resent them for it either; it wasn’t really their fault. Any sound mind I have is in spite of them, since they were kind of crazy. I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, since I’m not religious, my family is all dead, and I don’t enjoy overeating. I spent the day reading, writing, and packing for an upcoming move.

  17. Bob
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I’m thankful I rarely tune in here anymore. Such a bunch of fucking mopes.

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