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Giving Thanks (‘Cause Baby, I’m a Giver)

Don’t forget to dangle the grandkids near an open oven this Thanksgiving! (Preheat to 350.)

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. (Especially since 1990, when I learned at the age of 7 that my birthday was not officially recognized as a holiday by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.) Growing up in a “half-and-half” household, Hanukkah was too long, and my parents typically gave my brother and I books on Christmas while our friends got video games, paintball guns and other fun things that weren’t books. Flash forward twenty years– Hanukkah’s still too long (always involving a minimum of five work nights), and Christmas, while a jovial affair, is all but a typical weekend for me: rounding up my Jew buddies for bong rips, gorging on Chinese food, and wandering to our local movie theater. Also, my mom still gives me books, despite my desperate pleas for “practical gifts.” (Also, I still don’t know how to read. Shh.)

Sure, the first Thanksgiving probably involved a few casual rapes, an obnoxious cacophony of Bahstonian accents, and more smallpox than stuffing, but on an ideological level, how can you go wrong with an occasion which rewards a little introspection with 3,000-calorie meals, football, and parades?

Seeing as nowadays, we tend to spend the whole year lamenting the monumental misfortunes of our middle class American existence (like gluten allergies, DVRs forgetting to record the first two minutes of Parks and Recreation, and not having enough Twitter followers <<follow Mike White on Twitter!>>), it’s spiritually vital we step back and devote at least one day (or at least a few minutes of said day) to gratitude. So, here goes:

More so than anything in this life, I’m thankful for my unconditionally loving, understanding, non-judgmental family. Yes, they’d probably waterboard me if they found out how much I smoked (or that I smoke at all), but without family, we’re nothing. (Unless you’re either of Lindsay Lohan’s parents, in which case without family, you’re hungry.)

I always have been and will continue to be blessed by these beautiful, compassionate, honest people. My ageless mom, who’s implored me to positively impact others without losing sight of myself, not-very-subtly hinted I should date all my attractive Jewish female friends, and provided more free psychoanalysis than one can shake a stick at (more often than not, I don’t even have to ask!). My quirky dad, who somewhat resembles a George Clooney-Dustin Hoffman lovechild who can whip my ass without trying on a pool table, all while providing genuine encouragement to challenge myself creatively. My talented little brother, who shares in my passions for photography, pot and exploring strange new places. (When he moved to New York this summer to participate in a photojournalism program, we rented a car and drove out from Los Angeles; one of the best weeks of my life, even if it was in constant fear.) My stepmom, who, above all else, makes my dad happy. (These days, I’ll take all the affirmation I can get that marriage can in fact work. Culinary prowess doesn’t hurt.)

I’m thankful both my parents are finally learning to text. For now.

I’m thankful for this perpetually growing ensemble of friends I’ve found myself engulfed by. Especially my two new roommates this past year: one who filled our apartment and my stomach with sublimely delicious baked goods, assisted me endlessly in fostering a puppy, and reminded me of my affinity for getting ripped and watching cartoons from my childhood. Then there’s my current roommate, the uncanny combination of the little sister I never had and the second (well, third) mom I desperately need. You’re my rock, Clarke.

I’m especially thankful for the new people in my life this year, even the gingers. (Bonjour, girl!)

I’m thankful for my health, or whatever’s left of it. My own well-being is without a doubt the single entity I take for granted most often. Despite a magnificent disregard for using my better judgment, the last year has resulted in no broken bones, no burning sensations, and despite my relentless dedication to not exercising, I haven’t ballooned into one of those people described in pharmaceutical commercials as “unfit for sexual activity.”

I’m thankful for my job. And not just any job, but a job that allows me to pursue my desires, hone my talents, and get home before the sun goes down. (Mind you, I’m only doing only one of these currently, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.) I’m insanely fortunate to get to “work” with such a unique cast of witty, interesting, like-minded individuals. I spend a solid hour of each workday laughing my ass off, which most certainly beats working. Furthermore, we recently got an espresso machine that enables me to put as many shots into one cup of coffee as my bloodstream can tolerate. Also, not having to look for a job. And our holiday party’s gonna be on a boat. (Time to find that nautical-themed pashmina afghan.)

I’m thankful for all the people who’ve helped me cope with a debilitating sense of loneliness this year. (Especially those who’ve given themselves to me in sexual congress. Like I probably told you that fateful night, you’re doing God’s work.)

I’m thankful for the fact that smoking hasn’t killed me, at least according to Dr. Murray. (Yes, I’m fully aware my doctor shares a surname with Michael Jackson’s infamous doctor. Thank God I’m a big boy and can take naps all by myself.) I’m quitting cold turkey by the end of the year (I’ll still eat it roasted though, zing!), but I’ll be the first to admit I love a good fag with my coffee in the morning (Zing again, how do I turn it off?!). I wish I knew how to quit you. (I’ll stop now.)

I’m thankful I’m learning to “turn it off.” (Previous paragraph not withstanding.)

I’m thankful my penis hasn’t quit on me in the last year, despite his workload being slashed dramatically.

I’m thankful that Jack, the 80-pound pit bull/”lap dog” I fostered earlier this year, found his forever home last month. He was the perfect canine companion– and if I’d had a yard and more than 200 square feet of dog-appropriate play space in my old apartment, I’d still happily have him waking me up at 5 AM every day for a 2-mile walk. Also, pugs. (They’re the dog god’s deformed little angels.)

I’m thankful I passed out at my desk the other night before I could finish creating a profile. I was high as fuck, and that shit’s expensive.

I’m thankful it’s legal for me to fart in my car on the way to work. (Might shed some light as to why I’m single.)

I’m thankful for girls with bangs, abnormally big eyes, and/or thick plastic glasses. (I’m looking at you, Silver Lake/Echo Park.)

I’m thankful I wasn’t arrested this year. (I’m looking at you, respective law & drug enforcement agencies in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.)

I’m thankful that every time I think I’ve found bedbugs in my sheets, they turn out to be cookie crumbs.

I’m thankful simply to have been born into a species physically and mentally capable of loving. Considering all the living things on Earth to be incarnated as, the odds are staggering. Think your life sucks? You could’ve been born a cockroach. Or a celery stalk. Or one of the Real Housewives of Detroit. You lucked out.

I’m thankful for Bruce Springsteen. (Your timeless songs make me wish I’d grown up in Jersey, even if being to Jersey has made me thankful I didn’t.)

I’m thankful my alma mater (Arizona) beat our rival (Arizona State) in our annual football game last weekend. Makes our upcoming nuclear winter that much shorter.

Oh, and Muppets. We should all be thankful for Muppets.


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