What follows is an incomplete and sometimes incoherent list of things I’m grateful for right now, in my post-eggnog cheesecake stupor.
Art—Paintings, sculpture, architecture, design, photography, music, theater, poetry: I can’t live without them. Even camping in the woods wouldn’t be tolerable without some art in it—reading or writing a poem, snapping a photo of sunset at Lava Point. I value the artist above all to make up for his devaluation every day, especially now that online content is stolen.The teacher and the doctor and the scientist and mathematician and speech pathologist and plumber are all important, and they’re told every day that someone pays them with real money instead of website traffic or popularity. But we need to recognize that nearly everything we use, do, see, and need has an artist, not necessarily a doctor or a plumber, behind it somewhere. Honorable Mention: Alphabet—Fuckin’ a, fuckin’ b, fuckin’ c, and so on, which allows me to make words and write.
Baltimore—I owe you a love song, Baltimore. You rock. You cook. You class me up. And you don’t care if I wear slippers or curlers to the store, not that I would, but you might have thought those were slippers when in fact they were furry clogs. Your architecture makes our sunsets magnificent. Your trees make our sunrises possible. And your people butter my biscuits.
Crows—This morning as I write, there’s a crow barking outside my window. I could watch the birds for hours, and I have. Thank you, Corvus brachyrhynchos, and your glossy blue-black brethren.
Dogs—A house without a dog is a quieter and less hairy house, but it’s one I don’t want. (I’m also thankful for the dog walkers, since I’m not well-built for leash use.) On the subject of dogs versus cats, let me just say that you never hear about the crazy dog lady.
Eggnog cheesecake. Honorable Mention: Elastic, necessary due to eggnog cheesecake.
Family, Friends, and the F-word—It’s a three-way tie. You can’t ever have enough of all three, except when you have too much. I couldn’t name names because there are just too many, but I’m thinking of six people in particular who have had me in their thoughts more often than I deserve. I’ll leave you to wonder. (If you think it’s you, it might be, but only half of them would even think it was.)
Guitar, Guild GAD 30—Next to the saxomophone, it’s my favorite instrument, and I’m so lucky that I get to live in a house full of guitar players. That everyone plays so much better than I do is the best part. I am serenaded even when I don’t want to be, and that’s rare. I just wish they’d all play the Taylor instead.
Home—I have a house. The windows leak, so it’s cold upstairs. The bathroom toilet doesn’t flush unless you hold the handle for ten seconds. The kitchen floor is cracked, and the cabinets are water damaged; the sink is rusting around the countertop, whose veneer is unglued. My house is small, but it is home. It’s made of stone and brick, and it’s topped with slate. And nearly everything I could want or need is inside. Behind a painting in the kitchen are the marks of Serena’s height since she could stand.
—That’s right. I’m thankful for me.
I’m brave. I have nice hair. I work hard. And I never pretend to be someone I’m not. I yam what I yam, you dig?
Job—I have a job. And though I wish it were closer to my home and less hard on my soul, I’m no fool. I have one, and it keeps me in all the material things above and below the J, and it makes the non-material things a little easier. I have gripes. But I have gratitude, too, and they can coexist.
Kitchen—It’s served me well, mostly, for 20 years. For the last 16, our kitchen table has been the place we come together to talk and watch the news. We have dinner together almost every night. But more than a place to eat, the kitchen is really the living room. Our friends visit and play music in it (the acoustics are nice because of the tile floor), drink a beer, eat cake. We do our homework there. I wrote a whole book there. And as soon as we remodel, I’ll be writing another one in that kitchen.
Love. Laughter. Light. Life. Latex. So many L-words to be thankful for.
usic—Even bad music is preferable than no music at all. Well, except this
. Honorable Mention: Marty, who risked his life to deep fry a Thanksgiving turkey and who cleaned for three hours after Thanksgiving. He does stuff 365 days a year, and a lot of it is music.
Nikon D600—I don’t ever see fully without it. By the end of the year, I’ll have taken 6,000 photos with it.
Orgasms—They are the dessert of love. If one ever lasted as long as an amusement park ride, you’d probably be dead when it ended.
Pale Ale—this is liquid joy, effervescence, exuberance in a glass. I could live without it, but why? Honorable Mention: Poetry. I could live without it, but why?
Quilt—There’s a quilt on my bed that’s a little too thin for winter, but I can’t bring myself to replace it with a comforter. I bought it right after my father died. It was the first time he spoke to me since his death. He said, “You want it? I’ll buy it.” So even though it was my money, he bought it.
Repartee—I love some clever banter with my very witty friends. Honorable Mention: Rum, which makes others’ rejoinders seem even more clever than they are.
Sleep—You take it for granted until you can’t do it anymore. I went through so many years of being unable to fall asleep on my own, and now, every night that I sleep is a day I’m grateful. Honorable Mention: Sonata—because when I can’t sleep, there’s that. Honorable Mention 2: Shiatsu—because even if it weren’t responsible for my continued ability to postpone back surgery, it’s two hours a week of complete letting go. Oh, wait. Did you say S? Serena, of course.
“The Boys are Back in Town,” by Thin Lizzy—one of my top five favorite songs of all time got better this year.
Unders/Underwear—You know, the stuff you wear under your clothes. Every time you call them panties, a pervert gets out of jail. Panties are little pants.
Verbs—They are the hardest working part of speech for a reason.
Werther’s Originals (sugar-free!)—I used to think these were candies for old people, but when I turned 50, I discovered how delicious they are.
Xanax—Because everybody needs a little break from my neuroses for a few hours.
You—Are you reading this? Still? You.
icam*—It stops your cold. It makes everything taste like metal, too, which helps you not eat the rest of the eggnog cheesecake.
May the time between now and next year’s big dry bird be full of things that make us grateful. That is my wish for mankind.
– – – –
*I feel like Z was anti-climactic. But I’m not that into zebras or zygotes or zithers, and I’ve never been to Zanzibar.