Sometimes, in the Attic Household (so called because our parents slept chastely in the attic), we played a game on Thanksgiving. While a Mexican seminarian played the didgeridoo and my mother sang the Chock Full O’Nuts song*, each member of the family would name something for which they were thankful. We begin with the letter A and worked our way through the alphabet, naming a different thing for each letter. Before you could name your cause for gratitude, you had to list everything everyone else said first. Of course, some letters are easier than others, and sometimes you have to graps at straws. It wasn’t always clear who the winner was, but we definitely knew who the losers were.
This year, they’re there and we’re here, so we have to be losers by ourselves. Here is an alphabetized list of what we’re thankful for. Feel free to hum the Chock Full O’Nuts song as you read.
Beer—which you can buy almost anywhere here. It’s awesome. Gone are the days in Pennsylvania when we had to make special trips to get to the beer distributor. Before 9:00. But not on a Sunday. And only if we felt like getting a whole case. Now, we can buy beer at Target, or the supermarket, or the gas station down the street, or at a truckstop (we’re not convinced that’s a great idea). This morning, I could have had an ice-cold Budweiser at the 10:55 a.m. showing of Stranger Than Fiction.
Collins Road Theatres—second-run movies, they let you put the butter on your popcorn yourself, and the manager comes into each theatre and greets the audience and gives away free passes.
Dubuque—we went there last night because we can, dammit. It’s lovely.
Family (cliché, I know. But I’ve got to say it before someone else takes it).
Heidi—she’s not a handsome dog, but she doesn’t know that.
Iowa—where we’re happier, the dogs are happier, and the women are all foxy.
Jamaican jerk chicken
KGAN—they’re broadcasting the Steelers game tomorrow.
Lenny—we decided on his name when we put Fratze to sleep. We did so because that night helped us understand the end of Of Mice and Men much better. We didn’t realize at the time that from now on when we read it, most of it seems like a comedy—all because of this guy.
My mother—who is capable of such brilliance it caused a potentially-fatal meltdown. A close second for this letter is the Mississippi. For as long as I’ve been able to read, I’ve been fascinated with it. Now I live somewhere where I can drive for an hour, take a walk by it, dip my fingers in it, and then scrub the hell out of my hands. Why on earth would I dip my fingers in the river a hundred yards away from a casino riverboat laden down with the elderly?
Norse mythology—when I was a child I loved Greek mythology, but Norse would do in a pinch. I mean, lending your all-seeing eye to someone as part of a bargain? Cool.
Oregano—not the most exciting spice, but it definitely perks up a slice of cold pizza at 3:00 a.m. Not that either of us would sneak out of bed in the middle of the night just to get the last piece of pizza.
Quartet program at Bucknell—provided the perfect cover for me to put the moves on my baby-mama.
Television—because we’re lazy, dammit. Don’t judge me.
Vanna White—proof that a person can make money doing a job that does not, in the strictest sense, need to be done.
Wisconsin—they’re our neighbors, and their cheese is delightful. I am a little sick of them inviting me to smell their dairy air. It was funny the first few times, but we get it now. Get a new joke.
Xzibit—not for his rapping (although I’m sure it’s delightful). Not even for Pimp My Ride. But for Pimp My Ride making possible CMT’s Trick My Truck, a program on which we learn with a big budget and a team of skilled craftsmen, there is no limit to how tacky your 1998 Freightliner can look.
Ypsilanti—wouldn’t it be cool to live in a town with a gibberish name that looks, at first glance, to be real word spelled backwards. I guess eventually the charm would fade.
*This actually happened–Thanksgiving, 1998.