What I’m Thankful for: 2021 Edition
I’ll be the first person to acknowledge that if you go digging into the closet of historical backstory on many of the holidays and traditions that we find so heart-warming and endearing, there is some seriously messed up stuff in there. Let’s start with Christmas for example. For all of you so-called traditionalists out there who get your panties all in a Tucker Carlson bow-tie type of bunching every time someone says “Happy Holidays” because you know deep-down that Christ is the reason for the season, well hold on a yuletide second there Ponch, because most Biblical scholars will tell you that Jesus was more likely born in March. So why do we whip ourselves into a holiday frenzy starting the final Friday of each November? Well, turns out that the 25th of December just so happens to correspond to the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia, the celebration of the harvest. Back in the days before Constantine turned the Roman Empire into a Christian nation, the practice of Christianity was strictly forbidden, so true Christian adherents surreptitiously celebrated the birthday of Jesus while their fellow countrymen were reveling in the debauchery of a more secular holiday. Which is why Jehovah Witnesses don’t celebrate Christmas because they realize that this would seem to break the first of all Commandments that “Thou shall not have any other God before me”, you know because Jesus hates getting the the sloppy seconds of spiritual worship. To make matters worse, the poor guy has to play second fiddle to an old fat man in a funny red suit, all on his own purported birthday.
But if Jesus hates what has happened to Christmas, he should probably avoid Easter altogether. You realize that this is an entire holiday predicated on the death of the son of God, right? How morbid and fucked up is that? Yes, I know this is supposed to be about Jesus’s resurrection and ascension to the Kingdom of Heaven, but what exactly did He die for anyways? Our sins? Oh, so he sacrifices Himself, all because we continue to screw up in egregious ways, and to honor Him we paint eggs in pastel colors and eat chocolate given to us by a giant, make-believe rabbit?
But if any holiday strains the boundaries of decency and good taste, it certainly has to be Thanksgiving. A holiday started as a tribute of appreciation to the Native Americans who helped the early American settlers survive the brutal conditions of the foreign lands they had come to, Thanksgiving was meant to celebrate the harvest which would keep them alive. But we all know how that story turned out, don’t we? As a greater token of our thanks, we stole their lands and drove them to the brink of cultural extinction. And for all of that we didn’t even send them a “thank you” card. Though we did give them tobacco and legalized gambling.
So I get it if you show a bit of curmudgeonly pessimism when it comes to the holiday season. But not me. Despite all of the above, I love the spirit of the holidays, Thanksgiving in particular. I truly believe in the notion of appreciating all the many things we have to be thankful for, and have, as such, been penning an annual column of all the things I have to be grateful for since 2015. And this year is no exception….
I am grateful that Pete Davidson is currently dating Kim Kardashian. It just seems like the perfect symmetry to the universe. He’s funny and charismatic. She’s got all the personalty of a pile of wet dog food. He’s as unhealthily skinny as a chain-smoking Italian fashion model. She’s got a backside with more square footage than the Jumbotron at Cowboys Stadium. He’s a relatively talentless hack who rose to meteoric fame on the basis of little more than who he was dating and underground sex tapes. And she…well, I guess they have that in common….
I am grateful for the unsolicited armed protection from Kyle Rittenhouse and other would-be killers of innocent protestors. Somebody’s got to take out all those bong-smoking, skateboard-wielding hippies.
I am grateful that since the start of February 2021, I have heard the name Joe Manchin significantly more than I have that of Donald Trump. Ok, maybe not that grateful.
I am grateful that my neighbor seems to believe that there is some sort of prize for best-decorated house in the neighborhood. There’s not. But if there was, I would happily concede victory with the understanding that I spend about five minutes the day after Thanksgiving putting up a single strand of lights across my doorway for him to see while I get to appreciate the spectacular fruits of his labors from the comfort of my living room.
I am grateful to Joe Rogan for his sound, informed medical advice on vaccinations. Who would have thunk that the host of a game show featuring overhyped steroid abusers eating worms would turn out to be to be so knowledgeable about epidemiology?
I am grateful I do not live in Florida. Enough said.
I am grateful that Amazon keeps sending me emails informing me of my employment opportunities within their company. Something has to widen my perspective and give me a greater appreciation for the job I already have.
I am grateful that I have emerged from months of state-imposed pandemic isolation without having watched a single episode of Tiger King or Squid Game. Something just tells me that my life is better for it.
I am grateful for the people who have opted not to get the Covid vaccine. Something has to thin the herd of uneducated Fox News viewers that have been holding back the evolution of the human gene pool.
I am grateful to Lifetime for broadcasting thirty-five, yes thirty-five, independent holiday movies over the course of the next thirty days. Don’t get me wrong- I won’t watch a single moment of these vapid, plot-deprived tear-jerkers. But my girlfriend will, and that will allow me some extra time to get more skiing in. If we ever get some actual snow….
And finally, I am grateful to all of you for reading this column each and every year. I deeply question your reading aesthetic and standards of good judgment, but I appreciate all of you nonetheless.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com