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Late Thanks

Cats will be cats and cats will be cruel
Cats can be callous, and cats can be cool
Cats will be cats, remember these words
Cats will be cats, and cats eat birds
Facts About Cats by Timbuk 3

A week ago was Thanksgiving in the US. I started a Thanksgiving post. The post centered on the idea that the current Thanksgiving Wars are about missing the point. The argument was the idea we weren’t celebrating what people in Seventeenth Century New England were thankful for, even if that is the core of the Thanksgiving mythology many of us grew up with, or even what people in 1863, when the modern US thanksgiving tradition began, were thankful for.

The post never got done.

Yesterday, knowing I needed to get a post up today, I tried to think of topics. I have the start of a post on secrets that came out of a conversation last night. Then this morning I planned write about the desire for paternalism due to two stories by Chekhov I read this week for the Bradbury Challenge.

Then I got to work.

I was heading to fill up my water glass in the kitchenette when I stopped to talk to a coworker. We riffed around and he mentioned the song The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades. He couldn’t remember the band which I reminded him was Timbuk 3. He then said they had this other song was that good, but could not remember it.

I named songs from their first album. Hairstyles and Attitudes was the first to come to mind. However, it was not long before I got to Facts About Cats, whose lyrics I remembered but not the title. As I write this line the final verse, a repeat of the first, is playing on Spotify.

I had not thought about this song, or album, in a long time, but I love it. In the time since we talked, I’ve listened to some great songs off of it. In fact, I left my coworker’s cubicle singing the chorus to Facts About Cats.

Before I left, I thanked him for reminding me of the band. It was a sincere thank you. It is the second one I’ve given that coworker this week. The other was for finding a better analogy for something where I had one I just really did not like using.

I am not telling you about those thanks to toot my horn. I am not sure that makes me a better person although my religious beliefs emphasize being thankful.

I am telling you this because I think it gives me a better life.

It is easy to be angry all the time. I used to be fantastic at it. About a decade and a half ago I was so angry all the time I saw red every day or close to it. It is easy to realize I was not a very happy person to be or to be around. That I still have a handful of friends from that period, most of them old Boston Netgoths, says more about the good in them as people it does anything positive about me.

Life is hard
Can’t buy happiness no matter what you do
Can’t get to heaven on roller skates
Can’t take a taxi cab to Timbuktu
Life is Hard – Timbuk 3

The band was right. Life is hard. Life is too far to go without friends, to yet again paraphrase. Life is also too far to go angry. I have found one of the quickest ways to not be angry is to be thankful.

That is what I was trying to say last Thursday and didn’t. I didn’t because I was riffing off something fundamentally about anger, the fight over what we are celebrating on Thanksgiving in terms of English settlers versus Native Americans.

Don’t give thanks because your ancestors, physical or national, had a big feast for surviving hard winters. They were thankful for surviving a hard winter, and with good reason. Don’t give thanks because what appeared to the darkest times of a war seem to have passed. They were thankful for the worst of the Civil War was over.

Be thankful because that mass on your boyfriend’s head isn’t cancer. Be thankful because your wife was able to get a multi-color dye job that makes her happy. Be thankful because your girl is killing it in the best Ph.D. program in her field. Be thankful because an old friend didn’t freak out when you revealed a huge life change you are about to make. Be thankful a friend found you a women of curling calendar

Hell, be thankful someone knitted you a hat even though you live in Atlanta because you stand on the MARTA platform at Brookhaven/Oglethorpe University station which is open to the wind on cold November days.

Be thankful a coworker reminded you of a song whose chorus you love to sing.

Be thankful because you will have a better life when you are thankful for little things. Then thank the people who do those little things that make your life better.

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