Gratitude

Thank you for not giving me
the Powerball numbers from the astral plane;
for postponing that move to the Florida Keys
at least another decade;
for the psoriasis that precluded my career
as a playboy Lothario;
for the hesitation, that lack of killer instinct,
that limited my musical ambitions;
for my overdrawn bank account,
for the grey hair on my head,
for the gumption to quit college,
for the brain cells I’ve lost to self-medication,
for the little things.

Thank for the bathroom walls
rotting into disgusting flakes;
for the vinyl siding hanging down
against the untrimmed rose and jasmine bushes,
for the neighborhood watch that always reports
when my lawn misses a week’s worth of trimming.

Thank you for a self-centered teenage child
with a hand full of gimme, and a mouth full of much obliged
(although, truth be told, not too often with the thank you);
thanks for senior year expenses:
cap and gown
announcements
college applications
senior portraits
prom gowns
car insurance
cell phones

Thanks for all those unwelcome comparisons to other parents,
who obviously have their act together,
and know how to understand and respect
the needs of hypochondriac, selfish shopaholic children
who can’t be bothered to clean their own dishes,
cook their own food,
or even pick up the bath mat after themselves.

Thank you for these extra hundred pounds
that make me much more difficult to lug around
all this gratitude and appreciation.

Thanks for long hours, high standards of living,
neighbors that vote Republican and think they’re doing the right thing,
and will debate me,
like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons,
that society is to blame.

Thanks for the patriarchy, and for right-wing conservatives
that help me keep in perspective my own radically different value system.
Thanks for the 78% of Americans that call themselves Christians,
but act anything but. It helps me with my own hypocrisies.

Thanks for being there, even when you’re not there.
Thanks for the dawn, and for twilight, and the hours in between.

Thanks for all those payroll deductions that represent money
I’ll owe to the IRS anyway.
Thanks for credit card interest, for installment loans, for insurance premiums.
They help me keep it real.

Thanks especially for those big, flying cockroaches.
Killing them gives me some fleeting sense of power.

Thanks for keeping the sources of my inheritance alive
but not making me resent them for it.

Thanks for nothing. Thanks for everything.

I don’t say it often enough.

28 APR 2005

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