DURST: A Cranky Giving of Thanks

First let me wish everyone the happiest of large fowl flesh roasting holidays. I realize my status as a middle-aged, middle-class, married childless political comic differs from your specific life experience which will probably make my list of things for which I'm thankful semi-alien. But as they say in San Francisco, "Only from the eensy teensy will the large humongous be revealed," or some such Yoda crap like that. Of course, you got to remember San Francisco is where you ask 40-year-old bachelors with roommates "what's up these days" and hear things like, "I'm learning to play the zither."

The further you advance into the nether reaches of middle age, the more you understand it's all about the little things. I mean yeah, sure, I'm in a constant state of giddy grins for the big critical things, like decent health, the undeserved love of a good woman, and a battalion of blessedly odd friends. Also, I am truly grateful to have grown up American, mostly because I worry less about being victimized by one of my country's many misguided democracy-building programs.

So allow me to plunge into the suspiciously tepid aqueduct of journalistic cliche with my annual list of objects, sights and experiences that make life just a tiny bit more worthwhile for a creaky reprobate like me. Mostly I'm thankful for ...

  • Corporate marketers delaying their Christmas shopping campaigns until early August in an obvious patriotic refusal to infringe on the sanctity of the Fourth of July.

  • A wife who understands all decisions made before my third cup of coffee are not considered binding under law.

  • Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft for their unceasing and continuing efforts to provide me with material. And for the full employment act for political comics that will be Governor Schwarzenegger's entire administration.

  • Finally driving a car with an antenna requiring neither a wire hanger nor duct tape.

  • The people of California for proving Thomas Jefferson prescient when he stated, "America gets the leaders it deserves."

  • Youth, and its persistence of belief that the system can be beat with nothing more than energy, desire and purity of heart. Pre-mortgage youths.

  • Anchor Steam Christmas Ale.

  • A President unable to pronounce our Governor's name and a Governor unable to pronounce our state's name.

  • A debris sandwich at Mother's in New Orleans.

  • The International edition of USA Today. Although if you breathe a word of this to anyone, I will deny it.

  • Self righteous conservative demagogues who empathize with the horrors of drug addiction after they're busted.

  • My home theater system, with better sound than most multiplex screens -- and DVDs where lots of stuff blows up real good.

  • That freshly discovered pair of clean underwear in an unzipped suitcase pocket after two weeks on the road.

  • Crass manipulations of revered holiday traditions by jaded columnists purely for purposes of personal gain and profit.

  • Michael Jackson, because if he didn't exist, we'd have to invent him. Oh wait. That's right, we did.

  • Diana Rigg in the original Avengers, for unleashing a period in my life when certain senses became strangely heightened.

  • A perfectly turned 6-4-3 double play on a crisp April afternoon at San Francisco's Pac Bell Park with a Sheboygan brat in one hand and a New York Times in my lap.

  • Relaxed fit jeans.

  • Endlessly engagable snooze alarms. Then sleeping till noon.

For incomparable moistness, Will Durst recommends brining before roasting the large fowl.

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