Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving (Even if it Kills Us).

So this is the third Thanksgiving blog post on Serendipity, and during the last two I tried to focus on positives. I'd certainly like to continue that tradition, but my cynicism is starting to preclude that type of sentiment. Still there's something to be said for making the attempt. While I see a sort of skewed wisdom in Charles Bukowski's epitaph, I don't feel that (at my age) it's worthwhile to hold him up as any king of role model. In the spirit of faith and fortune, I suppose I can find some things to be thankful for. And there's another component to this puzzle as well- despite the many problems and challenges that we (as a nation) are facing, we've got to be thankful for the run that we've had. Many of us have been extremely fortunate throughout our lives.

I don't want to be accused of being ungrateful. I am the benefactor of a system that has effectively exploited much of the world's population to live "well". I value the results of that exploitation. It's not that I don't have pangs of guilt now and again over the horrific conditions that people live under in the backwaters of the globe, but ultimately I must admit that it comes down to "better them than me". Think about all of the situations that you could have been born into. Imagine all the human beings that have existed throughout history, and consider the numbers. Work out the odds of you having been brought into existence in a country that has arguably been the sole superpower for decades.

I'm not sure that I am "proud" to be an American. On a few occasions I have had glimpses of what that feels like. However, I can say with complete assurance that I have been damned lucky to be a US citizen. I can be truly thankful for that. Past that, I am happy about the family situation that greeted my birth. I had a stable family that really didn't want for anything. It wasn't an upper-class situation, but relative to the rest of the populace, it was solid. I've had to work some crappy jobs, but those experiences were nothing compared to what the vast majority of the human race has gone through. I was able to take an undergraduate degree for granted, and I did so for several years. There was a sense of entitlement that informed my behavior.

Now I have a stable and secure job that should take me through the deflationary period that is coming. I have a good wife and a healthy son. I have a reasonable mortgage. If I step back and take stock objectively, I have to say that I've been blessed (interpret that however it fits into your personal life philosophy). I've been able to make the time to create art and write down my thoughts, and build an audience (no matter how small) for the product. There were a few years when I had money to spend on gratuitous items like DVDs, books, and camera equipment. And I have had some great friends over the years that have been willing to accompany me on my adventures. How could I not be thankful?

We are all in for a rough ride over the next decade (or more). It's time to take stock of what we've been given throughout our lives. Sure, there are some of you that are going to tell me that you earned it all... no one made your way for you. You know what I have to say to that? Fuck you. I hope you choke on your turkey. Don't be a rotten selfish prick. I'm not going to presume to tell you how to avoid it, but it's a worthwhile effort to make- just for a moment, expand your world view. I can't ask you to be charitable, as I don't relish being a complete hypocrite. But if it gets too hard to find the meaning of the day, try approaching it from a different angle altogether. Alright then... enough of my sanctimonious preaching. Enjoy the day.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we could just keep all of this in mind everyday.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Rick Byerly said...

the bukowski epitaph has been subject to debate as to it's "true" meaning, not a surprise when it's about bukowski.

might have been about his quote "My theory of life [is] 'Don't try. Just type'." Or maybe him telling people to fuck off and move on.

cheers hank.

4:53 PM  

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