ENG 101—English Composition 101
John Mazur, Instructor
Assignment: Describe what Thanksgiving means to you.
It is a tradition that is held in many various forms around the world. Thanksgiving is a time of year when Americans gather around a table with their loved ones to reflect on the things in life that they are grateful for. It is a time of introspection and reflection, and a time to be with friends and family.
To some, it is one of the times of the year that Americans fly across the country to be with people that they don’t even like to talk to on the phone all that often. They gather around a smorgasbord that outweighs the collective group at the table, to eat more food than is reasonably healthy. They hold their hands, and bow their heads to pray to a god that they don’t believe in to thank him for things that they put absolutely no thought into.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, whether you thank Jesus, Buddha, Yahweh, or a Golden Calf, I believe that spiritual figures give points for originality. Every time I think about the “pregame prayer”, as I like to call it, I imagine how bored God must get listening to the same drivel, over and over again.
In my head, he is sitting at his desk, floating above the clouds. There is a nameplate atop that says “Big Guy” on it. Angels are scurrying about with headsets and PDA’s like busy stockbrokers, this is a modern heaven, after all. God’s administrative assistant, Stacy, walks in with a report.
“Sir, the last of the day’s prayers just came in.”
God puts his conference call on hold, “Ok Stacy, what do we have? Anything new?”
“Well sir, it looks like more of the same as every other year.”
“Give me the numbers Stacy.”
“Well sir, it looks like at least 248 million Americans would like to thank you for the meal they are about to receive. 230 million want to thank you for the roofs over their heads and the clothing on their backs. 266 million thank you for their kin, brothers, sisters, parents and the like.”
“Any weird ones?” God asks, accustomed to the outliers that occasionally pop up.
“Well, at least a couple hundred thousand want to thank you for being paroled this year.”
“Hmm… The number was higher last year.” God’s brow furrows.” Can’t these people be more creative?”
“What do you think we should do sir?” Stacy is concerned.
“Stacy, send out a memo. We’ll make the place cold and windy for the next few months; maybe drop some snow on their heads. Hopefully after that they will at least be thankful for summer.”
The meal is over and I am watching football. Nearly comatose, I sit down on a recliner and think about the things that I couldn’t get along without. My family members are trying to talk to me, but I developed the ability to drown them out with my thoughts years ago. Halftime finally starts, and it gives me a few minutes to have a little one-on-one time with the “Big Guy.” I close my eyes and pray.
“It’s me, Jake.”
“Yeah, thanks, I got that…” Sarcasm is oozing out of every word.
“I just thought that I would thank you personally for a few things.”
“Is this gonna be like the rest of them? Did you actually put some thought into this?”
“Yes, I put some thought into it, but I have to warn you, this might be, well… a little unorthodox.”
“As long as it’s not the same old food, roof, family thing that everyone keeps spitting out, I’ll be fine with it.”
“I want to thank you for caffeine and sugar, which make it possible to stay awake and alert long enough to get through work and school. I want to thank you for sleeping pills that counteract the caffeine and sugar long enough to get a few hours of sleep. I want to thank you for caller ID and text messaging, which allow me to ignore people’s calls when I’m stressed and don’t want to talk to anyone. Thanks for not allowing me to snap like a twig, even though I have been a little burned out lately. Thanks for all the little things that get me through the day.”
God smiles, amused. “Is there anything else?”
“Well you know, family and friends. I guess they are kind of important.”
“No food or roof talk?”
“I like to think that those are gifts I give myself.”
I am about to open my eyes to watch the rest of the halftime show, and I remembered one more thing.
“Oh yeah, that dream that I had a few months ago…”
“What about it?”
“I want to thank you for that, too!”
I opened my eyes to rejoin the halftime festivities, already in progress. I turned to see my entire family asleep in the living room, so I sneaked out to get a little time at home to myself. Interestingly enough, although it has been snowing and cold all week, I have yet to see a snowflake hit my car or frost cover my windshield.