I used to write a humor column for the Herndon Observer newspaper. The following was a column that appeared before Thanksgiving several years ago. It also appears in my latest book, If Not Now, When. I hope you enjoy this lighter approach to being thankful!
My wife says I’m sometimes grumpy. My nephews say I’m not as fun as I used to be. My friend Michael says I’m just a bitter old man. Maybe I have gotten a bit cynical. Truth be told, though, I really don’t have a reason to be cynical. I think I typically get that way when I focus on the wrong things—my “don’t haves” instead of my “do haves.”
When life gets busy or we encounter stress, it’s easy to focus on the things that are going poorly rather that all of the things that are going well. So for those times when we want to have a pity party for ourselves, consider these alternatives…
If you’re feeling old, be thankful that you’re still getting old (things get bad fast when you stop getting old).
If you have aches and pains, be thankful that you can have pains without having to be one.
If you have a crummy job, be thankful that you have a job—and that you could probably find another job if you didn’t do such a good job complaining about your crummy job.
If you get too many emails, be thankful that you’re so popular…and that you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to inherit money from Nigerian royalty which could be used to purchase a mortgage, drugs from Canada, or anatomical enhancements.
If your children are a challenge, be thankful for time out—because the longer you stay in time out, the less you have to deal with them.
If your clothes fit more snugly than they used to, be thankful that the tightness is not nearly as problematic as the style of your clothes which, by the way, went out of date in the 90’s.
If you’re losing your hair, be thankful that balding men are sexy, virile, handsome and much more appealing to women than those girly men with wavy mousse-filled follicles (not that I’m sensitive about this).
If you have relationship problems, it’s probably your fault. Be thankful that you now know this and can change how you relate to others.
If you’re unhappy with the government, be thankful that you live in a country where you’re free to be unhappy with the government.
If you never get the parking spot near the mall door, be thankful for the exercise you get while walking from the far end of the parking lot (also see “If your clothes fit more snugly” above).
If you’re a bad driver, be thankful that you’re not alone since everyone but me seems to be a bad driver.
If you’re having financial problems, be thankful that you don’t owe Tony Soprano money and that 16% interest on your MasterCard account is better than getting whacked.
If your spouse watches too much TV, be thankful that you have a TV and that he or she is contentedly occupied and not bugging you instead.
If you have a clunker of a car, be thankful that you don’t have to worry about fender benders, door dings, and bird crap.
If you find yourself struggling with the meaning of life, be thankful that even though you’re apparently not smart enough to figure it out, everyone else also struggles with the meaning of life and you’re just self-assured enough to admit it.
If you have trouble being thankful, be thankful for the many reality TV stars who prove time and time again that there are lots of people worse off than you.
Now, don’t you feel better?