November 22, 2010

Being Thankful for What I Lack.

John Muir once declared that he was better off than the magnate E. H. Harriman. “I have all the money I want,” Muir exclaimed, “and he hasn’t.”
Clifton Fadiman

A thief can only steal from you, he cannot break your heart….
Gram Parsons

Thanksgiving just around the corner, thought I’d take a minute to offer a few words of thanks for things I lack:

No major life-threatening diseases or injuries. No alimony or outsized mortgage unlikely ever to be paid off. No price on my head, charges filed against me, warrants out for my arrest, addictions to alcohol, cigarettes, or hard drugs. No loved ones on death row. No job I hate or marriage I hate, no broken bones, no broken heart (at the moment).

No desperate daily struggle to find sufficient food, clean drinking water, or shelter for bare survival. No particular need to hide from invading soldiers or death squads, nor to sneak across the border or seek asylum.

Not too much anxiety about getting robbed, because not a lot worth stealing: no Van Gogh etchings requiring fancy security systems and astronomical insurance premiums, no fragile Dead Sea Scrolls or delicate first editions of Leaves of Grass I’d be afraid to touch, much less ever read. No vast mansions with the countless rooms, endless hassles, and expensive upkeep such places entail. No particular taste for fine cuisine, fine wine, or fine cocaine.

No oil wells, diamond mines, or poppy fields. No third world plantations likely to be nationalized when the rebels take control. No politicians doing my bidding only ’til a bigger donor comes along. No legions of fans demanding I get back together and tour with former bandmates I can’t stand. No paparazzi showing the supermarket check-out world how flabby and out of shape I look in a bathing suit. No vast corporate empire with so many holdings, so many underlings, and so much money that I just know some trusted employee’s ripping me off for millions at this very moment.

No weapons of mass destruction, nor any real potential nor desire to possess weapons of mass destruction at any time in the foreseeable future. No ties to international terrorist groups. No guns, no bombs, no poison gas or deadly biological agents. No hidden kilos of heroin or weapons grade plutonium. No suitcases full of hundred dollar bills, marked or unmarked. No slaves, no maidservants, manservants, nor oxen for the neighbors to covet. No exotic pets to take a bite out of me while I sleep, no abusive friends or lovers I spend time with solely for fear of being alone.

No fear of the dark. No desire whatsoever to go on American Idol, star in my own reality show, be elected President of the United States, climb Mt. Everest, win the Tour de France, or be sixteen again. No desire to murder, rape, molest, or seriously maim anybody.

Not nearly as much anger or hatred as I used to carry around with me. Fewer enemies (perceived or otherwise), fewer people I’m unwilling to forgive. No belief that I’m inherently better than anyone…and working on getting rid of the belief that I’m worse.

Might sum it all up with thanks for nothin’, but suspect I’d be misunderstood…because nothin’ has always been underrated…

* developed from a somewhat different version at Yoga for Cynics last Thanksgiving*

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