This is the time when a lot of columnists get kinda schmaltzy … I mean, it’s Thanksgiving. Why shouldn’t I get in on the act?
Of the many things I’m thankful for this year, chief among them is my sense of humor. How else could anyone survive with sanity intact the plethora of weird goings-on, well, just about everywhere?
Seriously, we have a tweeter-in-chief; Democrats, Republicans, journalists (dammit, Charlie Rose) and business executives who just can’t keep their hands to themselves; movie moguls who really can’t keep their hands and other body parts to themselves; and what seems like a mass disaster a week. If this is a joke, it’s not a funny one.
And yet, I can still laugh. I can see the humor in the misspellings in certain tweets. (I still refuse to “heel”; I will, though, “heal.” I’m not a dog.) I can see the ridiculousness of some overreactions to whatever the latest outrage is. And I can giggle at the exploits of the many, many dumb criminals who’ve made their way into the “In the News” column on our newspaper’s front page.
So what else am I thankful for? Quite a bit, actually.
I’m grateful that I’m able to drive some grammar grouches nuts with conversational grammar, which doesn’t follow quite the same rules as traditional grammar. That “for” on the end of that question up there, for instance, is good for at least a few exploding brains. I’ll get the popcorn ready.
I’m chuffed for old, unusual and fun-to-say words. Whether it’s British slang like “chuffed,” which means very pleased, or words like persnickety, flummoxed, bamboozled and sillytonian, word nerds like me can find much to admire. And I’m very grateful that there are so many fellow word nerds out there who enjoy when I get all nerdy. Which is pretty much all the time, really.
I’m thankful to have a job I love most of the time, with people who make coming to work less like work. I’m thankful for patient, thoughtful and funny letter-writers and columnists who make my job easier. Heck, I’m even grateful for the not-so-pleasant people because they remind me I’m far from perfect and that negativity and hyperpartisanship are not a good combination. Not so tickled that Mr. Anonymous felt the need to call after the Al Franken thing (guys, just keep all your stuff to yourself, please … geez), but I guess we all need a way to amuse ourselves.
I’m eternally grateful for an industry that, despite “fake news” attacks and market downturns, is so far surviving. While circulation gains haven’t trickled down from the largest newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post, we’re still trucking, even though papers like my own have had to make serious cuts (thanks for that, Mango Mussolini). Responsible journalists are still doing their jobs and providing facts to readers. May their tribe increase, because facts (not the “alternative” sort) are sorely needed in such a hostile atmosphere to media that doesn’t toe the party line. I’m even thankful for the occasional error, as the response to it makes it easier to tell which news sources (emphasis on news, not opinion) are more credible—if a correction is made quickly, that news source is more trustworthy than one that does not.
Plus, there’s always the unintentional humor of a misplaced modifier or wonky headline. (I’ve seen “Dead body found in cemetery” more times than should be possible.) We all need to laugh, even if just at ourselves.
I will always be thankful that I had nearly 14 years with an amazing ball of fluff who made me laugh just about every day. His “galloping goofball” runs through the house, attacks on the evil red light, glares at critters who dared invade his territory (especially that danged Wilbur the woodchuck and all those squirrels) and cuddles with his favorite pink bunny made life a lot more fun, and his attention and bodyguard routine when I was ill kept me safe and happy.
Though I miss him every day, I’m glad he’s no longer in pain. But his ghost really needs to stop knocking things down. (Toothpicks? Really? That’s just mean! Get that mouse instead!)
I’m grateful for a family that loves me despite all the weirdness that is me … or maybe because of it. They’re kinda odd too, but in a fun way most of the time. I wish they weren’t so far away and that I could be with them on Thanksgiving, but I’m glad they understand why. I’m glad to have a mom who passed down her sense of humor and determination to survive (cancer, schmancer), and who has always been there when I needed her, even if it was just to talk on the phone.
I’m thankful for three older brothers who make me laugh more than they make me cry … and now know better than to use someone’s teddy bear as a football and leave it outside … in the rain. OK, maybe I’m not quite over that.
And I’m grateful for all the family members who are no longer with us, for they taught me what love is, that church can be funny (I can’t hear “Bringing in the Sheaves” without remembering the lady in my paternal grandma’s church who always sang “cheese”), and that photobombing is fun.
More than anything, though, I’m thankful that people put up with me, whether they’re family or not. Most of the time. Many thanks to all of you.