Positive Cynicism – What I’m thankful for

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

I don’t really do the holidays.

It’s not that I’m some kind of lone wolf, proud of my isolation from family and friends as they go about the greeting card industry-mandated motions and expend the energy and tension necessary to have some vaguely unsatisfying holiday-like experience.

And it’s not that I think I’m somehow better than people who genuinely love holidays and get excited about them and are fulfilled by the family gatherings and the wonderful meal and the ability to take a day to connect with what’s important to them.

It’s just that I’m really, really lazy and think they’re way too much work for very little payoff. I love my family. I don’t need the calendar to remind me of this. And I don’t need Thanksgiving and the vaguely racist “savages taught us about food before we engaged in a systematic policy of genocide for hundreds of years” story to remind me that I’m fortunate to live in a country hellbent on destroying its own economy as quickly as possible because otherwise gay people might get married and poor people wouldn’t get kicked out of their homes and the terrorists would win.

So, as the days get shorter and colder and more intensely depressing, I don’t plan on venturing out to see anyone for Thanksgiving. And although I’ll miss the turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, those things are easily purchasable at the nearest grocery store.

But, just to participate in this holiday in as perfunctory a way as possible, I thought I’d share what I’m thankful for this year.

My health. Sure, I’ve got high blood pressure, gastrointestinal reflux disease, clinical depression, anxiety disorder and obstructive sleep apnea, but … what, I don’t really have my health, do I? Well, at least I don’t have a massive head cold, like my poor wife does.

Economic depression. Christmas is one of those wonderful holidays when the media gets together to make you feel horrible for being poor. It sucks when people ask you what you want, and you can’t really afford to buy them anything. But, thanks to the fraud perpetrated by Wall Street over the last couple of decades, everyone else is as poor as I am and can’t afford to get me any presents, either. Finally, the playing field has leveled out.

The continuing cheapening of Christmas as a holiday. To me, Christmas is all Santa drinking Coke and Charlie Brown buying a little tree, anyway. Since the Christmas season apparently starts now three weeks before Halloween, with ever more desperate commercials begging us to go to the store and shop and save the economy, by the time the actual day gets here, the moment’s gone. Everyone shoots their Xmas wad a couple of weeks early, so when the day gets here, it’s beside the point. It’s an anticlimax. And I feel less guilty about not giving a shit.

The Internet. For those of us who don’t really observe, it’s a bummer when every store shuts down for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, the Internet is global, so there’ll be lots of people for me to connect with on Tumblr, Twitter and other such sites, because I apparently have no life whatsoever.

Video games. Because I don’t spend all of my day on the Internet. Really. I don’t. Who told you I did? Well, they lied.

Marvel’s Essential comic book collections. Because I’ve been spending waaaaay too much time with these lately (old Amazing Spider-Man rocks) and yes, even cheesy dialogue and 1960s sexism is preferable to participating in the holiday routine.

That The Oprah Winfrey Show is leaving the airwaves in 2011. This has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but since the media treated this like the most important news story in the history of television last week, I thought I should mention it. Good riddance. I’m sure she’ll just move to cable or something, but I did enjoy the tenor of the news stories, which practically screamed: “Who, Lord, who will do our thinking for us now?!”

That my wife’s car broke down. We just have one now. Which means while she’s braving the weather to head to her mother’s house, I’ll be inside with central heating and a mug of coffee watching the Bruce Lee marathon on G4.

The Bruce Lee marathon on G4. I love the holidays.

Yes, I’ll be spending my Thanksgiving alone, drinking coffee, surfing the Internet, playing LEGO Indiana Jones, watching Bruce Lee movies and staying warm. But you know what? I don’t consider that an empty experience. Because in America, the greatest luxury of all is not having to be bothered in any way by the existence of other people. Even if they are family.

Besides, it could be worse. I could be sitting in a theater watching New Moon. That would just be sad.

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

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