Thanksgiving. The day of the year that officially kicks off the holiday season where we’re all supposed to stop and give pause to everything we’re thankful for. It’s also the day where every business you’ve bought something from within the past 365 days sends you an email thanking you for being one of their valuable customers.
For me, Thanksgiving is nothing more than another annoying day of the year where I have to “spend time” with “the family” while everyone argues about who did what, why so and so can never be on time for dinner, why the potatoes are cold and who is to blame for voting Obama into office.
This year, I pledged not to host any holiday meals at my house. Not Thanksgiving, not Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day, not even New Years. This is a reversal from the past when I actually wanted to do this. Not any more. I’ve resigned myself to the belief that planning these things takes way too much effort for very little return.
As I’m writing this, I’m on a plane heading from Del Boca Vista to Pennsylvania where I’m scheduled to have dinner at my father’s house. I wanted to stay in Florida for the holiday, however my oldest brother has this warped view of “family” that just doesn’t hold its place in 2009. He envisions the perfect Donna Reed dinner where everyone smiles, says “please” and “thank you” when food is passed and we all enjoy the company of each other.
The reality is much different. What will end up happening is he will fight with my father about who is going to carve the turkey, chase my father out of the kitchen for lifting lids on pots checking to see if the beans are done, yell at my other brother and me for making off-color remarks and we’ll all leave full, but not wanting to see each other until next Thanksgiving.
But before I put the laptop away, I wanted to offer my own gesture of thanks for the things I’m most thankful for this holiday.
I’m thankful for duct tape. That magical, yet strong, adhestive tape that gets those of us who are not mechanically inclined out of so many troublesome situations. It also comes in handy on flights like today’s where kids are screaming. A little across the mouth and even the noisiest of flights can be quiet again.
I’m thankful for the lack of traffic heading to the airport this morning. Usually I-95 from Boca to Lauderdale is a mess this time of the morning with people heading to work, but on this Thanksgiving, I was one of about 50 vehicles on the road which made my 20 minute drive last 3 minutes less than normal.
I’m thankful for the federal government. No, no, no, not the guys in Washington, they’re all crooks. I’m talking about the Feds who are currently rooting out the criminal politicians in Luzerne County, PA. They nailed gangster judges Mark Ciavirella and Michael Conahan in the “kids for cash” scandal which will net these former upholders of the legal system prolapsed rectums after their stint in prison, as well as 17 other individuals who got too greedy. Jail time for a $1,500 tailor made suit? Only here folks. Only here.
I’m thankful for Farmville. I’m thankful I never even spent one second collecting sheep or whatever you do when you have way too much time on your hands or just want to steal time from the company while you browse Facebook at work.
I’m thankful for Twitter. Where else can I tell people what I’m doing in 120 characters or less. Mind numbing yes, but do people really care if I’m sitting at a bar next to a crossdresser named Louie (aka Louise) telling me about his/her/its upcoming gender reassignment surgery?
I’m thankful for English as a Second Language. Without this program, the individual who rear-ended me on I-95 a few weeks ago would have never been able to tell the state trooper he was talking on his cell phone and not paying attention when he slammed into me in stopped traffic.
I’m thankful for airbags. As in the airbags that never deployed despite being hit by the above mentioned individual who was traveling about 45 mph at the time of impact. Special thanks to Ford Motor Company for that extra special treatement as well. Now I drive a BMW.
I’m thankful for Microsoft. Without them I would have never discovered the joys of the Mac. But I do miss the “blue screen of death” it always comforted me to know that Bill Gates hates me so much that he would make my computer crash just as I was finishing that report that took me 4 hours and never auto-saved.
I’m thankful for GoGoInflight. Without it my twice weekly, 2-hour flights to and from Florida would actually seem like 2-hour flights.
I’m thankful I have a Gulfstream V. I’m also thankful that AirTran charges me $12,431.00 less to get me back and forth to Florida.
I’m thankful that I’m dillusional at times. It makes life so much more interesting.
I’m thankful for purchasing ActiveFunShop.com. I never envisioned myself being a purveyor of sex toys, but it did inspire me to pick the title of my upcoming book which chronicles my life and business adventures. “From Ferret Clothes to Cock Rings.” Look for it at a book store near you in 2010.
I’m thankful for Rich Connor. He’s the owner/publisher/editor/janitor/go-to-guy at the WIlkes-Barre Times Leader. Only Rich could get sued by a competitor and settle out of court with his punishment being that he has to write a “letter of apology” to the other paper’s readers. Rich, I need your lawyers. Plus, you owe me a steak dinner at your house, like an elephant, I never forget.
On a serious note, this year has been one that I will never forget and one that I want to forget. It’s been a year of triumph and despair. I went from riding high following the sale of one of my businesses to a publically traded company to hitting rock bottom when my best friend and partner of 16 years left me.
When I thought that I wouldn’t be able to go on without him and things looked grim, I challenged myself to start over, to reinvent myself and begin a new life without looking back, without regret and with all eyes on the future. I would have never, ever, been able to accomplish this without the help, support and ears of so many friends and family members. I’m not going to mention them by name here, because I don’t want to inadvertenly leave anyone out, but you know who you are.
I’m thankful for Kleenex. Because I still cry. I cry a lot. But I smile too, knowing that life isn’t that bad. Knowing that life does indeed go on. And knowing that there are many, many things to be thankful for even if they’re going to be annoying the hell out of me at dinner in about five hours.