The weather has become inclement. Cooler temperatures, rain, sleet and occasionally snow. The ground is littered with the multi-hued debris that once festooned the oxygen making machines of our planet. Everywhere you go you wear an extra shirt and bring a coat, maybe a hat and gloves as well. Just so you get wet, catch a chill or even be discomforted in any way.
Where ever you go, you see sparkling lights, cheerful music and ads for sales that seem to assault your every sense. Ads designed to make you pull out your wallet and spend money you don’t want to or don’t have. You do this, happily. You can’t help it, you’ve been trained over the years to respond this way. It seems to be almost un-american to not do so. To not go out and spend money, to not dump countless dollars, time and energy into the season that has been so forcefully shoved down our throats. I’m guilty of it, and so are you.
We’ve all gone out and bought things for people we barely know for reasons we can’t truly fathom. It has become an almost Pavlovian response in our culture. In spite of this deluge of commerce hype, for the past few years, me and mine have chosen to not partake of any of these shenanigans. Instead, we simply sit at home, eat our meals, watch football and feel good films and at one moment or another, we reflect back upon the year and count our blessings. I, myself, have been known to reflect upon situations where there was nothing but a grim outcome and yet, somehow, someway we came out of the mire of life without a scratch, scrape or any damage of any sort. We survived and we are better for it.
This year, after weeks of endless tasks for the upcoming not-to-be-mentioned-holiday, our planning was minimal for our day of thanks. Food was bought and prepared with little or no discussion. Plans of visitations of family members and travel arrangements were an afterthought. Instead, a quiet day of familial peace and tranquility was enjoyed like a warm blanket and a hot cup of cocoa on a frigid day. Comfortable places were claimed on the couch, warm food filled stomachs and the background noise of parades on the television, truly bliss and the American dream.
But what of all the hype for crazy sales, long lines and impending affection yoked to monetary displays of affection? Simple, the commercials will be ignored. They have to be. After all, in this day and age, what with the advent of instant updates on one’s phone, television and computer for sales of goods and services offered at discounted rates for one day only, or is it two, or three, and in some cases a week, why even bother. After all, we have a warm home, a fridge filled with food, lights and power at the will of our fingertips. What would the pilgrims think of such excess and convenience? I believe they’d be flabbergasted and start some sort of witch trail. But that is just my thought.
Once again, I digress. I’ve gone off again on a tangent. So back to the show.
I believe in our way of life. I believe that if a person works hard, does good things and tries to not goof up too badly that he or she will be rewarded with a better and more comfortable way of living. This means that one does not simply follow the heard, does not buy into the hype of all things commercial and definitely does not take for granted the gifts and blessings bestowed upon them. Yet we are human. We are susceptible to the metric-fuck-ton of shit that comes our way. We can’t help it, we’re like the squirrels, and we have short term memory in what makes us truly happy and grateful to be alive. When shown something new and shiny, we immediately have to have it and believe that once we have obtained said new and shiny that we will be happy. Only to discover we are not. That in truth, we are emptier and hollower than before. There is a void in us that can’t be filled with material objects. Yet we insist that void can be filled with a piece of plastic or paper.
We don’t learn. We should learn yet we can’t tear ourselves away from the blitzkrieg of bullshit to truly learn what will make us feel whole, true and right. This is the fallacy of our lives. This is democracy gone awry. This is the American life.
Now, I’m not saying that one should not want things in one’s life. Hell, I want shit all the time. But if I break it down, if I cut out all the fat and look towards the lean, I only want and need a few things. Those things are different for each and every one of us. What might be right for me, may be wrong for you. So, I won’t divulge my truths here. But I will say, we all need to focus on our compass points, figure out what we need to survive and thrive and that will give us a starting point.
On this day of thanks and wonderment, I’ve narrowed down what I’m thankful for which has given me a direction for my future endeavors. One, I’m thankful for you, my dear reader. I’m thankful for my family and I’m thankful for my ability to work, survive and wake up every day. I’m thankful for the people in my life who’ve taken time out of their lives to become my friend and get to know me for who I am and what I am. I’m also thankful that I live in a country where I can voice my opinion and say disparaging things against those I don’t care for without suffering any ill effects.
Mostly, I’m thankful for all the men and women who came before me. The people who not only built this country but also laid the groundwork for how open and honest we can be. So, if you’ve ever stood against the crowd, believed something different from the masses, chose the underdog over the sure fire winner, then I’m not just thankful for you but I’m grateful as well.
Like the ending of the warm season and the oncoming war of the frigid cold, we will all fight to survive in the dark hours of our lives. The only ammunition we have in the cold, dark, and lonely places is the knowledge that we do not go alone or quietly into the night. No, we have the generations of our fore-fathers and our family and friends to help quiet the ill will of the darkness and voices of ill will.
Have a great week and a great Thanksgiving.