Thanksgiving 2011: What I’m Thankful For

What am I thankful for?

I’m thankful that I can crush my enemies and see them flee before me, that I can take their horses and belongings and hear the lamentations of their women.

Okay, I’m not thankful for that today but 1,000 years ago I probably would have been. Today, I am thankful that we do not have to repeat the mistakes and evils of our ancestors but that we can go forth to make our own, hopefully lesser, mistakes.

What else?

I thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

If it is sad that good people do not live forever, it is joyful that evil ones do not as well. I think Shakespeare’s Anthony was wrong and it is the evil that men do that is (eventually) interred with their bones. The good we leave behind accumulates over the generations. This would not happen if everything lived forever. So, I am thankful that nothing lasts forever and that things and people change. I am thankful even when that change is death.

I am thankful that the preacher of Ecclesiastes was literally wrong and that there are new things under the sun and that each day brings some new wonder to explore. I am thankful that, even if he was correct in his metaphor that human nature never changes, then at least we can change how we act on the impulses that come from that nature.

I am thankful that I live in America, where each morning is the beginning of the great tomorrow promised yesterday. I am thankful that I have the right to strive, to experiment and to improve. I am thankful I have the right to fail, to fall and get back up again.

Most of all, I am thankful that I know to be thankful for these things.

3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 2011: What I’m Thankful For”

  1. I am thankful for running water and indoor toilets. Outhouses are home to things that might bite you when you sit down. And it is always a chore to break the ice in the well in order to fill the water bucket on winter morns.

    I am thankful for global warming because it makes winters and hemlines shorter.

    I am thankful for toilet paper. Eating with the right hand and wiping with the left was never agreeable. I think toilet paper prevents war. Have you noticed that the only parts of the world that still have wars don’t have tp?

    I am thankful for medicines that work, especially antibiotics. Probably they will stop working after I die. Antibiotics were used by the Egyptian Pharoahs and made Egyptian doctors famous, back in the day, and then they were forgotten.

    I am thankful for corks, bottles and dry red burgundys and bordeaux. Also for single malt scotch.

    I am thankful for autos, central heating, cheap electricity, and unlimited entertainment.

    I am thankful I was born in the early 1900s and that I have lived to see so many marvels and travelled everywhere.

    Life, even for Kings, was miserable before 1800 compared to what even the poorest American has today.

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