Thanks again 

There’s a move on by liberals and Democrats and their heathen running dogs to take the Thanks out of Thanksgiving. They say it violates the rights of those who don’t believe there’s Anyone Out There for us to be grateful to. The annual holiday upraised chorus also burdens turkeys with an unbearable sense of irony, PETA says. Imagine the anticipatory horror they must feel in their giblets at the mere mention of the word trussed.

I sympathize with these arguments but don’t agree with them. It’s true that neither the state nor the popular culture has any business promoting a religious exercise, but I don’t think Thanksgiving necessarily is one. I know the tidings of gratitude that pour forth from this column each November are not addressed; they are merely broadcast. If there’s a Creator out there of a mood to tune them in, that’s certainly good news. But if alas there’s only the Big Empty that will never hear nor care, I’m perfectly content nonetheless for my tiny thankees to go forth, like everything else, into the abyss. What harm can they do?

I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with some pretty disreputable company on this one, I know, and can only hope that these rascals’ partisan and sectarian ulteriors don’t rub off, thereby bringing the Ol’ Moi Thanksgiving earnestness into question. It’s hard enough anyway to get credit for sincerity from simple dinner-table grace, about equally as hard as getting it from streetcorner prayer, and I’d bite my tongue to avoid any suspicion of this space being used for a send-up.

Herewith, then, earnestly, sincerely, excerpts from the ’06 amen/dig-in mutter:

Thanks for the cranberry sauce, without which the repast would be almost the same, except for the small vague nagging sense that some little essential and maybe definitive something was missing.

Thanks for home cooking, which has the secret ingredient that you can’t get anywhere else.

Thanks for the relative infrequency of pleurisy.

Thanks for those who are in charge and who screw up and screw up royally, so that we’ll have a better idea of how not to behave, how not to think, and who not to vote for.

Thanks for making e. coli and dust mites small enough so they’re not the scary monsters they’d be if they were the size of farm animals.

Thanks, though not a hell of a lot, for the entitlement mindset of preacher politicians, and for their yin and yang of leech and glom.

Thanks, even less, for the contemporary slime-weasel corporate conscience, as exemplified by Wal-Mart’s shameful eagerness to peddle O.J. Simpson’s how-to-get-away-with-murder book.

Thanks for the squeak in the rocking chair — literally, and as metaphor too.

Thanks, hardly, for the presumption of “values voters” that nobody else has any.

Thanks for the peace of mind that funerary prearrangement affords.

Thanks for the lone Arkansas contribution to the holiday feast — brown-n-serve rolls.

Thanks for ridicule of the afflicted having become tolerated and even admired in the political discourse.

Thanks, not, for majors like kinesiology that allow higher ed to perpetuate the stupid charade of “student” athletes.

Thanks, much, for a world that, while it erects statues to V.I. Lenin and Saddam Hussein, sooner or later tears them down. And similar thanks for a political system that does admit of manipulation for advantage by both the crooks and the idiots, but not for very long for any particular gang of them.

Thanks but no thanks for anything holistic.

Thanks for the option of retreating into eccentricity when the conventional gets just too dismal.

Thanks for the remedial effect of Vicks VapoRub on toenail fungus.

Thanks for how the most insufferable of the sanctimonious always hoist themselves on their own whatevers.

Thanks for Medicare Part B, baffling only if you don’t know Navajo or are unversed in Enigma code.

Thanks for all the great strides we’ve made so far in the 21st Century, such as… Well, never mind this one.

Thanks for the leaf show just ending, as a reminder of how brief it all is, how quick passing, and a reminder too of how much Rod McCuen there is in some of us, and how much postadolescent Kansas dust in the wind.

Thanks for the trip to Branson having been non-mandatory, and also attendance at the big tractor pull.

Thanks for transforming the dinosaurs into songbirds.

Thanks for fond memories of a time when nare a soul at a public gathering was yammering into a cell.

Thanks for the undeserved privilege of waking up mornings somewhere other than Baghdad, Iraq.

Thanks for the American way of life having become so cushy that we can now demand a car that parallel parks itself. Parking the car might’ve been the last chore we hadn’t given over to technology, so — happy day!


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