Giving Thanks

"I'm thankful I only lost four of my fingers in that accident last month." writes Curt of The Happy Husband, citing a facetious example of people being thankful things aren't worse than they are. What follows are some things MCF is grateful for, in the spirit of the occasion.

I'm thankful that I didn't bleed to death when I split my lip open at age five, or when something in my intestines ruptured at age twenty-five.

I'm thankful for my parents. There have been many times I thought they were ruining my life growing up, when in fact they were saving it time and time again. I'm thankful that my dad is willing to be my co-pilot when anxiety hinders a simple everyday task like driving to work. I'm thankful that, for all the dizzy spells I've gotten in my car, I've never actually lost consciousness. And on this day perhaps greater than any other, I'm grateful for my mom's cooking. Turkey. Stuffing. Crescent rolls. Carrots. Corn. Potatoes. Apple Cobbler. There's nothing like the GOOD dizziness of a hearty meal.

I'm thankful that the time a flagpole hit me in the head, it was only a glancing blow and I didn't even need stitches. Given the sharp metal eagle that struck me and the fact that I had started to look up while playing my horn when I heard the scraping sound, I'm lucky I didn't lose an eye or worse.

I'm thankful for the friends who've stuck by me over the years. One of the things my parents always tried to teach me was that friends aren't like family, and will ultimately abandon the friendship for their own pursuits. As a child I couldn't comprehend the wisdom of their years of experience, or the understanding of what they had gone through as their own friends got married and had families of their own that took priority. Children think everything is forever, and from calling people my “best friend” who wanted nothing to do with me once saddled with the monicker, to a foolish “engagement” to a childhood sweetheart at age five, I made my share of mistakes and misplaced priorities. My neighborhood friends a few years younger, ironically outgrew me and stopped calling. My school friends still included me when I went to a different high school, but after one year of college they ditched me the first time we hung out and I never heard from them again. Resistant though I was to make new friends in high school there was one who persisted, and I'm thankful for concerts, clubs, and karaoke, none of which I would have approached of my own volition. I only hear from him about once a year since he's often out of the country or having much better adventures leagues ahead of the ones we had when I was younger. In college I was somehow fortunate enough to make it into a very tight-knit group of friends. When I tried to befriend the group I failed and was often left out, but learned valuable lessons about friendship as I instead got to know them individually. We don't see each other as often as I'd like, but the friendships that were forged were stronger and more familial than the ones I'd had as a child. In times of great joy such as a wedding or a birth, and times of great sorrow such as a death, the old ties still pull us together.

I'm thankful that the time I inadvertently burned a slice of pizza and evacuated two office buildings when the new alarm system overreacted, one of my staunchest college friends was there to stop me from rushing forward, grabbed me by the shoulders looking me square in the eye and telling me, “It's NOT your pizza.” Given the angry coworkers and presence of the local fire department, it definitely could have been worse.

I'm thankful for never breaking a bone. Dodgeball was a harsh sport in seventh grade and one of the cool athletic kids pegged me in the hand at the worst possible angles, fracturing the pinky of my right hand. I ignored it the rest of the day but when I got home my mom noticed it was purple, and the size of my thumb. I had to wear a splint until it healed, but was still able to play in the NYSSMA all-county concert that WOULD be days after such an injury. Considering the time I flew over my bike's handlebars while tossing a frisbee at one of my friends in an extreme version of tag we had made up, I'm lucky I only scraped my hands on the asphalt, and that the bike which subsequently landed on my head did no doticable namage.

I'm thankful that when I was eight and decided to shove my “best friend” down a flight of about six concrete steps, he was neither seriously injured nor inclined to tell either of our mothers what had transpired. He did stop being my friend though. I don't know why I did that. It wasn't an act of malice, but of experimentation. He was standing at the top of the steps and I thought, “I wonder what would happen if....” and the next thing I knew, I had shoved him. I'm not the brightest adult, but I was a REALLY stupid kid.

I'm thankful for toys. And comics. And cartoons. And video games. And movies.

I'm thankful for the wonderful years I had with my girlfriend. I've been alone more years of my life, and even when she was breaking up with me and doing that whole, “You're not angry, are you?” bit to assuage her conscience, I sincerely assured her that while I was sad(devastated) that it was over, I couldn't be angry because she had spent as much time with me as she had in the first place, and I was grateful to have experienced things I'd only dreamed of.

I'm thankful I'm still catching up on seeing movies most of my friends saw years ago. Otherwise I couldn't watch Close Encounters and recognize the old man from Home Alone, albeit much younger, and appreciate the connection. Nor would seeing the name Lance Henriksen have meant anything to me in 1977. Then again, I was three at the time.

I'm thankful that, for all the unlikely crap life throws at me, I'm ultimately a survivor. I joke sometimes with my friends that, “I don't die; I just suffer.”, but that could be the wrong attitude. Maybe God's just preparing me to handle everything. Or maybe I need to stop wondering, “OK, what ELSE could go wrong!” since it seems to be taken as a dare every time I do.

I'm thankful for the internet, which has connected me to a myriad of people with shared interests I would never have had contact with otherwise. It affords me hours of entertainment and is an endless resource of information, easily obtained from the most logical starting place. I'm thankful that the informality of a blog and the fact that I'm not a writer means I can start nearly every paragraph with the same two words, joke about it, and not need to apologize to or change for anyone.

And If you've read this whole rant, thank YOU.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome.

- CoRn

11/26/2004 1:03 AM  

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