2011

23 November 2011: Good time to give thanks

It’s a good time to give thanks

I’ve been considering changing the name of this column. Not that it matters; after all, NY Times columnists don’t title theirs nor do Denver Post writers Vincent Carroll and Mike Littwin, though I hesitate to mention them in the same breath as Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman and David Brooks.

I feel bad about that because they’re home-town boys and one should always support their own even if one finds them disagreeable or finds him/herself disagreeing with them.

Only far right fielders likely find Mike disagreeable given his insight, wry sense of humor and easy writing style. I just wish he’d, well, not overuse interrupters like “well” that become distracting.

Vincent seems a likeable guy, but he apparently suckled on dill pickles marinated in lemon juice like all old-time conservatives. They keep the constipation relief market healthy.

I enjoy New Age Conservatives more than the golden oldies and certainly the neo-cons of shock-and-awe infamy. They complement New Age Hippies who were hippies in their youth but cut their hair, abandoned their idealism, and now vote their fears.

Those who find religion in their latter days I find curious. It’s like buying term life insurance: What’s to be gained?

With the exception of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman and a bye to Ron Paul who was out in nutfield long before it was fashionable, NACs dominate the Republican presidential candidate field and their debate audiences.

Theater of the absurd comes to mind, but the funny, or sad, part is they don’t cheer or boo at moments one would think they should. They do the opposite, like booing the gay soldier defending their right to boo and cheering executions of innocent men by Texas.

Perhaps a zipper board above the stage to serve as large hand-painted signs in melodramas to cue what is really noble or outrageous and maybe they’d get it.

Speaking of gallows humor, I wonder how many attendees opt to exercise their Second Amendment right by strapping on their Big Iron—channeling Marty Robbins. Or are they costume attire only at Barack Obama gatherings?

I chose Western Exposure, a derivative of the 1990s TV show Northern Exposure, for my column’s title because I like quirkiness, irony and anomalies. Northern Exposure is set in Cicely, Alaska, a fictional town that can only be more real than Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

I still enjoy watching it, especially the episode in which Maggie’s current boyfriend becomes her fifth beau to die, crushed by a satellite that has plummeted to Earth. Maggie seems cursed, but not as badly as the men who fall in love with her. It’s like being a black male on death row in Texas. So it goes.

It’s also the episode in which Maurice, the uptight, homophobic character, has to deal with the fact he has agreed to sell his building to a gay couple with whom he shares culinary skills and a love of show tunes. At the end, his conscience is assuaged when the couple agrees to pay his original asking-price, well above the building’s value. It’s good to see the right price can reset moral compasses.

Though I’ve been considering changing the name for some time, Andy Rooney’s passing is prompting me anew, not that I could hope to rise to his league. One idea: “Clear Creek Curmudgeon.” Undoubtedly others will suggest other epithets, some even fit to print in a community paper. I’m OK with that.

We are a different people with unique, home-grown myths such as having a president—only one—who never violated the Eighth Commandment’s prohibition on lie-telling and a First Thanksgiving, reminiscent of the manna Yahweh showered on the Israelites on their trek to the Promised Land..

The setting serves well as a backdrop for that which we’ve become: a dysfunctional family at a turkey dinner with all the fixins. The seating assignments and portions are based on wealth and status, despite Jesus’ admonition: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”

I like playing the role of the crotchety, cantankerous, crazy uncle. I still need to get the crotchety and cantankerous parts down.

In a past column, I wrote about the Puritans giving thanks for the succor God sent vis-à-vis the native peoples who saved them from starvation. They returned the favor by exterminating them. It was, after all, God’s will, or so they held. So it goes.

Like the Puritans, we should count our blessings, but unlike them consider those struggling, ponder the mystery of those with so much bemoaning their tax burden, and remind ourselves, as Neil Diamond sings, ultimately we’re all immigrants.

Thanksgiving seems a good day to do that, maybe between feast and football, eh?

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