Thanks(giving) for Nothing!

This is a re-posting, with some updating and minor edits, of an essay I shared a few months back. It seems fitting for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I thought I’d resurrect it for those who may have missed it the first time. I hope you enjoy and that it provides some “food for thought” to go along with the “food for food’s sake” we all plan to enjoy this holiday.

While out for a run today, the song “Celebrate,” by Grady Spencer and the Work played on my ear buds and reminded me that I need to be mindfully thankful for all of the nothing that happened to me and mine on this oh-so-ordinary day:

"People ain't got it this good,
So let's get down and give thanks.
Baby, don't worry let's celebrate . . .
Time is gettin' shorter don't make me wait."

Spencer’s lyrics certainly remind us to count our blessings while we have them and to be conscious of just how good we already got it rather than living for some theoretical day in the future when we claim we’ll finally be truly happy. But how often are we reminded to count and be thankful for all of the negative things that didn’t happen? I would think not very often. So, I’m going to make a brief list of some of the crappy things that didn’t happen to me today for which I am endlessly thankful.

  • I didn’t not wake up this morning, and when I did, it was without a single spot of bother that might portend the onset of a serious illness. Today, at least, I didn’t suffer any painful accidents and I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been. Ditto for my children and grandbabies.
  • I didn’t wake up hungover or a victim to an addiction of any kind unless you count those new Nerd candies that are crunchy and sweet on the outside but soft and sour on the inside. I can’t control myself.
  • I’m beyond grateful that they exist, and I applaud those who provide them, but I will not have my Thanksgiving meal in some church or school cafeteria because I’m not homeless and I’m able to provide one for myself and loved ones.
  • I didn’t have a panic attack, stress headache, or nervous breakdown, and I remain free of the need for any meds for physical, mental, or emotional issues; although, I am in no way judgmental or critical of their place in anyone’s health management.
  • My wife of thirty-four years didn’t leave me, and I’m pretty sure at this point that the whole marriage thing is going to work out.
  • My mother, who is 87 years old, didn’t suffer a life-threatening event of any sort. This is a woman who, prior to knee replacement surgery in her early eighties, was asked by the surgeon if she’d had any recent major medical issues. She answered, “None that I can think of.” The doctor, while reading her chart, reminded her of the obstructed bowel, aortic heart valve replacement surgery, and breast cancer she had endured in the near past. “Well, if you’re going to count those as ‘major,'” she responded.
  • My grown children did not complain to me of jobs or relationships they would rather not be in, for each has been blessed with careers and significant others they love.
  • Not a single major appliance broke down today, and my automobiles are not in need of any major repair.
  • Unlike many in our country and world, I was not made a victim of a catastrophic natural disaster; although, the “natural” part of that statement is in question and might be more accurately described as a “manmade disaster.”
  • I don’t have a single boss whom I don’t respect or who treats me unfairly; in fact, I have the upmost respect for all of my bosses.
  • I didn’t have to report to a job I hate this morning; in fact, because it’s Thanksgiving and I’m a school teacher, I didn’t have to report to a job at all. But when I do return to the classroom in a few days, it will be with love and enthusiasm for a job, students, and co-workers whom I truly love.
  • My Facebook wasn’t hacked. I know there are a lot of FB haters, but for me, it has been an incredibly-effective and rewarding method of staying in touch with friends and family and even re-connecting with some from whom I’d drifted. Just last week, FB led to an email reunion with my best friend from high school, whom I hadn’t spoken to in forty years. It reminded me of what a special place he had in my heart and formation as a person. I hope we will soon be able to arrange an in-person reunion.
  • I didn’t accidentally delete the 86,000 words of my novel-in-progress.
  • No bill collectors called me because all of my bills are paid thanks to my wife’s skillful handling of all family accounting.
  • I wasn’t bored for one second. I tell my students, “Shame on you if you’re ever bored. The world in which we are fortunate to live and life, in general, is far too interesting to be bored by it.”

These are just a few of the many potentially-awful things that didn’t happen to me today, and I want to tell the universe, “Thanks for nothing!”

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Published by tyfroth

My primary passion and vocation is teaching literature and composition on both the high school and university level. My avocation is writing novels that explore contemporary themes/issues relevant to both young adult and adult readers.

2 thoughts on “Thanks(giving) for Nothing!

  1. So you are saying that you are thankful that life, which is out of your control, did not throw you a curve ball of any immensity?

    Sorry but that is rather superficial.

    More pertinent would be my son on a sick day from school going to work with me and finally understanding that veterans have issues related directly to their service, as I was conducting a land survey on a RSL (returned servicemans league) at the time and the patrons and staff talked with my son on how their lives had been shaped on what they had done to serve their country and how their country had treated them. He finally understood why I seldom sleep of a night as the dead visit me in my dreams and they do not age as I do. That from a bloke having his first drink at nine in the morning at the bar at the demons that haunted him from what he had done in more recent times.

    That day gave more relevance to my son than the medals and pictures in my trunk that he looked at without my permission at the time when I was one of those giants who strode the earth in the arrogance of our youth. He simply cannot join the dots of pictues of me young and in uniform to the grey haired mess he knows. Yet he relies on me to provide stability in current times when the world has gone mad once again.

    Use that last paragraph as a quote if you will in the decades that await you and the folly of the times we are living in as they are dystopian and fragile and will be exploded when it suits those who rule to descend the world once again into conflict.

    I understand civvy street and forgive them their predjudice yet cannot forgive them their condemnation of me, and thousands of others, when I fought for their way of life that they now enjoy decades since, as I am no longer relevant beyond a political point and am an ignored moment in history as it is not relevant to the popular mindset.

    Go and listen to the song from Redgum, “I was only 19” and that may give perspective. It’s on google so no big effort.

    Apologies if I pissed on your parade yet every story has two sides which has been neglected.

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