Latest 3 Things

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

3 Thanks

In this season of thankfulness, most of us are mindful to remember the people and things that are closest to us. We take time to appreciate our family, our friends and our loved ones and usually do it with a hearty meal, a heaping helping of embarrassing stories from our past, and a healthy dose of football. And so it’s gone for me for as long as I can remember. But this year, I want to give thanks where I’ve long forgotten to do so. This year, I want to be thankful for things that I might otherwise take for granted, whose simple and almost unassuming presence in my life makes it infinitely better, easier or more fun. This year, it’s going to be about gratitude in non-obvious places for non-obvious reasons; an exercise in thanking the hard way. And so with all due deference to my family, my girlfriend, David and the Hawk, here are 3 other thank you’s:

1. You-Google-Eee. I remember logging onto Google for the first time. Back then I had no idea how much that simple little query box would change my life. In the intervening decade, however, it has become as indispensable as my computer itself. It is my white and yellow pages, my primary legal research tool, and the greatest stalking tool since binoculars and the windowless cargo van. But what it is has become most useful for is the instantaneous exposure of stupid people. I remember as a young man, when I would hear the inane ramblings of some uninformed mouth-breathing moron, and think to myself, I wish I had the time to go to the library, look up what he's talking about, and shove that proof directly down his ignorant throat. Or in my wildest imagination, I could have a magical information oracle that I could carry around in my pocket, and when one of these proselytizing fools spoke up, I could type in what they’re attempting to talk about, and in a fraction of a second have the real facts available to expose them as the idiots they are. Google is the Kryptonite I use to slay the red-state, tea party, Fox News retards who think that being told something “by a buddy of theirs”, “by the guy on TV”, or in an e-mail forwarded from a friend of a friend is actual information. A huge Thanksgiving thanks goes out to Larry Page and Sergey Brin for creating the greatest weapon against stupidity since the printing press - at least until we can start euthanizing people with fully functional brains but just too lazy to use them.

2. Everyone Loves Recess... but no one seems to love Recession. I have to say, however, that while I take no joy in the unemployment, financial ruin or familial hardship endured by so many Americans during the recent Recession, I am grateful for it nonetheless. There are certain things that ought to be nearly ubiquitous amongst us if our society is to be considered the overwhelming success that most of us believe it to be: being able to keep properly clothed, well-fed and at least marginally educated, to name a few. However, a 7 MPG, Cadillac SUV with chrome spinner rims, a 5,000 square foot house and more consumer electronics than your local Best Buy are not amongst them. Especially if you’re making $50,000 a year (or less) and supporting a family of four. How we went through the decade of excess, the “me” decade and still didn’t have enough stuff is beyond me, but way-too-easy credit made some of those least able to do so, into our most egregious consumers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about having nice/cool things (those who know me can tell you), but getting them takes work, saving and sacrifice - three concepts about as foreign to modern middle America as respect for the service academies in South Bend. And though it’s awful that it took a near economic collapse for us to realize that luxury isn’t in the Bill of Rights, I’m thankful to see a few less trailer park Ferraris these days.

3. Gone Country. Though I suspect that every generation goes through this, modern day night life is about as appealing to me as going back through puberty. I don’t get the scene, the music, and especially not the prices. I mean, why I would spend a thousand dollars on a bottle of vodka just so I can sit with strangers on a couch (that is washed less often than a taxicab back seat )and watch half-dressed skanks (who I don’t even know) drink it for me just escapes me. Dance clubs where no one dances, “ultra” lounges where everyone is ultra-uptight and guys showing more chest than girls make about as much sense to me as a quantum physics lecture in Farsi. It’s enough to make me give up on going out altogether, but for the one safe haven where the vast majority of this nonsense seems to have failed to penetrate: the country bar. Despite the seismic shifts of popular nighttime entertainment, the modern day “honky tonk” remains much the same as it’s always been: wooden dance floors, mechanical bulls and cheap longneck bottles of beer. I am eternally thankful for this haven from a douchebaggery epidemic so pervasive that it seems almost inescapable at times - and especially at night, when it seems to get ever so much worse. Though it may not be the “coolest” of places, it is consistent and in a world where everything that occurs after sunset seems to be changing for the worst, I’ll thankfully take all the un-changing un-cool I can get.

* * *

Every day, I see "thank you"s becoming more and more scarce. This simple token kindness (which was furiously beaten into me during the whole of my adolescence) seems to have been replaced with indignance and indifference, or the forced manners of an insincere service provider. Thanksgiving has become the sole repository for gratitude rather than a celebration of the thanks we should have been giving all year long. It’s a shame we have to be reminded of anything so basic as gratitude, when it’s likely that hundreds of things are done for each of us each day, without which those days would be impossible if not only impassible. So this year, have a great Thanksgiving, and take the occasion to let the folks closest to you know how much you appreciate them and all the other great things in your life - but don’t forget, a genuine thank you goes just as well with any old meal as it does with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.


Anonymous said...

Ill be the first to say Thank you for saying things that need to be said & expressing them better than anyone can express. Im a fan & never leave my 2cents for you, so I've let myself become the percentage of fans who lack the occasional Thank You, making it a scarcity. I will work on extending my gratitude & just know that You & your work is very much appreciated.

You Rock! ;-)

Oh and on another note...Google has become my Bible, savior of plain laziness of not being able to remember a name, word or recipe. Most of helps me fix my truck!! Who'd have thought a girl no longer has to rely on a guy but rather than type a part in & print the instructions! Golden... :)

Denise said...

I suppose this is your roundabout way of thanking me for being such an amazing and loyal and tolerant friend to you over the years. You're welcome. ;)

Also, Google is the reason I get out of bed each morning.

Bill Friday said...

I guess you're too young to remember the honky tonk douchebaggery once known as "Gilley's". Just picturing Vincent Vega (or Tony Manero... doesn't matter) in a yoke-shouldered, plaid, faux-pearl, snaps-for-buttons shirt and Ten Gallon, riding atop a mechanical bull, is enough to make me re-embrace Grunge.

Other than that, bring on the Deathmatch.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lewis said...

Thanks for the great blog!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more about the recession! Everyone certainly learned a lot this year. Being someone who never lived the way that most were I hardly even noticed!


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