By Tom Still
MADISON – Thanksgiving Day is becoming lost in the shuffle. The stores are already decked out for Christmas and the Pilgrims have been downgraded to interloping squatters, if they’re mentioned at all. Heck, even Halloween gets more respect these days than Thanksgiving.
But I’m still thankful for the chance to reflect on what matters, even if what matters this Thursday may turn out to be a drumstick, a brisk walk along the lake, and a comfortable seat on the sofa for the football games.
This year, Thanksgiving falls on the 23rd of the month, so here are my 23 reasons to be thankful.
? I’m thankful to live in a country where the elections may be imperfect but the car bombs are infrequent.
? I’m thankful that (most) people are finally learning how to use those automated checkout aisles at the grocery store.
? I’m thankful Wisconsin doesn’t have toll roads, even though it’s sometimes tempting to erect a few booths on the southern border just to tweak Illinois for rebuilding its I-90 toll plazas simultaneously.
? I’m thankful for security screenings at the airport, even if I’m usually forced to take off half my clothes.
? I’m thankful for my four-year-old son, even when he cheerfully announces every trip to the bathroom as if it’s an audition.
? I’m thankful the airwaves are now free of election-year candidate ads so there’s ample time for Christmas shopping ads. On second thought…
? I’m thankful for e-mail spam filters, except when they catch a message I’ve been waiting for all week.
? I’m thankful for a full plate when so many go hungry.
? I’m thankful for all those who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror.
? I’m thankful for our founding fathers, my late father, and some important father figures along the way.
? I’m thankful I’m not a kid today, and that LOL, TTFN and J/K are not part of my “chat’’ vocabulary.
? I’m thankful to live in a country where there’s more fear over the launch of the PlayStation 3 than the launch of a nuclear weapon.
? I’m thankful for scientists who understand DNA and RNA, and for investors who understand how to make that research pay.
? I’m thankful for policy-makers who take time to learn about hard issues, or who withhold judgment if they don’t.
? I’m thankful that most public restrooms have coat hooks in their restrooms. It is a sign of the apocalypse that so many do not.
? I’m thankful for the French, who, by comparison, always find a way to make Americans look less arrogant.
? I’m thankful that someone else kills the turkey and removes the more vile body parts before dinner.
? I’m thankful I don’t live in Baghdad.
? I’m thankful to have a computer, a car, a house and a healthy family, something that automatically ranks me among the top 1 percent of the world’s luckiest people.
? I’m thankful we live in a country that values freedom of speech, even when most talk is so cheap.
? I’m thankful that terrorists have gone five years without killing more Americans on our own soil, even if I know they’re trying very hard to do so.
? I’m thankful that coffee and red wine are currently on the “healthy” list versus the other way around.
? I’m thankful to have a wife to love and who loves me, even when it involves an occasional holiday trip to visit my “hick-hop” country cousins.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.