Positive Cynicism – Giving thanks in 2012

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

It’s that time of year again: the time of year when advertisers and retailers browbeat us into an ever-lengthening period of Christmas Spirit (note: in this case, “Christmas Spirit” should be read as “compulsory shopping frenzy”). But I’m not here to talk about the Black Friday holiday, but rather the increasingly-unimportant Black Friday Eve, Thanksgiving Lunch. And at Thanksgiving Lunch, mere hours before the stores open for their Black Friday Eve sales events, it was once customary to pause and give thanks for what you already have, before shoving that out of the way for the more that you want or, more likely, feel maniacally compelled to stomp on someone’s face for because of its low, low price.

So while we all enjoy our Thanksgiving morning and early afternoon off, here are some of the things I will be sincerely grateful for.

I’m thankful for my family, who understands how little I want to do with holiday stress. It’s not that I don’t love my family, it’s just that the years of incredible stress shuttling from one divorced parent to the other and trying to make sure everyone was included at my own expense destroyed my ability to care about what I want for myself at the holidays. They least they can do now is not take it personally when I spend the whole holiday inside with a frozen pizza and a set of Veronica Mars DVDs.

Special Thanksgiving shout-out to my wife who doesn’t try to force her mother-in-law’s awful, awful cooking on me.

I’m grateful to my local library, which has gotten really good with interlibrary loan requests this past year. Finally, there’s nothing keeping me from being able to kick back and enjoy huge collections of old Marvel comics without having to go out and buy them. Given my financial situation, it’s my main hobby.

I’m also thankful that I still have a place to live, despite my financial situation.

I’m kind of thankful that now, with Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, that means in a conceptual way, Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, the Hulk and Artoo Detoo all live in the same place. It’s like Disney is just buying all of the things that populate my mind … Someone please call me about this great idea I have to reboot Howard the Duck in the Marvel movie universe. No, seriously, it’s going to be great.

I’m thankful for watching fanboys argue with each other online about insignificant things. It’s a useful reminder that you just because someone is an adult, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re mature. Pretty much explains why everything is such a hassle.

I’m grateful for my online friends. They keep me honest, they provide support and enrichment, give me the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world and be nurturing, but have never once asked me to come over and help them move furniture. And some of them post nude pictures of themselves to Tumblr.

I’m thankful for Homeland. That’s just a great show.

I’m thankful to the surviving Beach Boys for making their first truly good album since before I was born.

I’m thankful to the voters of this country, over half of whom rejected a lot of fear-mongering, a lot of bigotry and a lot of weird corporate threats. It’s always nice when you realize that a lot of people perpetuating old injustices and stupid prejudices have died, and another outdated generation of hate is disappearing. I’m truly sorry that this has translated into a lot of people losing their jobs or their hours right before Christmas, but at the same time, I’m grateful that CEOs are picking the worst/best possible moment to show America just the kind of unpatriotic, hypocritical, corporate welfare-loving, free market-hating, petty douche nozzles they really are. One day, this will all be a lesson taught in schools that are churning out MBAs who get to become CEOs with zero experience and run companies like Hostess into the ground because CEOs are supposed to be wizards or something. I’m grateful to see their true colors, because it just makes everything I keep saying so much more obviously right.

I’m thankful that I don’t have the energy to get outraged by General Petraeus’ affair when people in Israel and Gaza are losing their lives.

I’m grateful to Louis CK just for existing and being so god damn perfect.

But most of all this year, I’m grateful to the squirrel I just watched on my porch for 15 minutes as he dragged around part of an old blanket, trying to figure out how to get it all the way down to the ground two stories below, before finally just giving up and eating my decaying jack o’ lanterns and then going off on his way. That little guy has no idea what kind of Black Friday nonsense is about to happen or what’s occurring in the Middle East or whether he’ll ever be able to eat Twinkies again. None of that matters to him: he just has an instinctive drive to collect hibernation materials, gather as much food as possible and try not to get killed. He doesn’t even know that he just amused me for all that time, nor that he’s the high point of my lonely day. He’s just a squirrel out doing squirrel things. And maybe he’s got it all figured out in a way we never will.

Then again, he can’t enjoy Homeland, so I win.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Stay safe and warm wherever you are!

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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