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Reasons To Be Thankful, Big and Small

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Gratitude is a difficult emotion to force. Plus, it's rude to make people think fast when they are trying to fit a whole yam casserole in their mouth holes. When pressed to offer thanks around a holiday table, most folks will say something generic like, "family," or "good health," when in actuality they are not that thankful for their family, nor do they have that much good health. Pass the potatoes!

The most incisive moments of gratitude tumble from the sky when you least expect. I experienced one while listening to "Aack Cast," a podcast from comedian Jamie Loftus that takes a deep dive into the boomer legacy of the comic strip "Cathy" from Cathy Guisewite. It's fun and fascinating, I recommend it.

Anyway, Loftus spotlights a panel in which Cathy rants about balancing her checkbook. The crack is that she does so by changing banks entirely. This joke hit like a ton of chocolate bricks from my car speakers in the grocery store parking lot.

Wow, am I thankful for online banking! What an era in which to do financial business! Yes, I have balanced a checkbook, and I know some of you still do. When Elon Musk buys the internet just to crash it, your gratitude will turn toward your tiny, ink-stained ledger. You will be the last one with any reliable fiscal information. But as it stands now, today, in 2022, I am grateful for freedom from recording interest earned on line 105.

Finding thanks in moments big and small is a healthy and necessary practice. It's simply too tempting to spiral into cynicism about, well, everything. Like eating Flamin' Hot Cheetos, negativity is hard to stop cronching on once you start.

So, let's do the thanks thing again this year, shall we? In fact, let's do it every year. I'll rattle off a few gratitude action items, then you take the reins and let me know your nominations. Consider this a dry run of material to bring to dinner.

 

I'm thankful for:

Sides. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, cornbread casserole, even the green beans with the wiggly gray soup on top. Turkey? Eh, it's time we admitted turkey is a great thief, robbing us of precious hours we'll never get back, only to emerge from the oven bland, dry and wholly unsatisfying, awaiting a bath of salty gravy to make it passable. Do not send me your turkey recipes.

The magnificent antitrust law pop jams that will inevitably emerge from the Taylor Swift Ticketmaster debacle. And, you know, maybe enforcement of antitrust laws?

Friends with useful advice for how to make oatmeal taste less terrible.

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