Every hundredth post I’ve tried to do something special. Post #600 happens to coincide with something special I was asked to do on Facebook over five days’ time. Each day I was to post three things I was grateful for. Here is what I wrote, consolidated. My thanks to Mary Magdic, who put me up to it.
My friend in the Great Northwest, “Magic” Mary Magdic, nominated me to post 3 things for which I am grateful over the next 5 days. So, hip-ho and away we go:
1) I am grateful to have co-created my daughter Kate. She is my life’s joy.
2) I am grateful to have had Romance in my life. Ladies, you know who you are. [smiles] I am especially grateful for the romantic journey I have had with my Sweetheart, Denise Huntington.
3) I am grateful for an array of friends diverse in gender, interests, and DNA, with some friendships going back fifty years and some newer than my involvement in Internet social media. My friends are trustworthy, helpful, kind, and many other qualities found in the “A scout is…” litany, though some are not all that clean and a few are downright irreverent.
Gratitude inventory, Day 2:
1) I am grateful for the 21st-Century technology that has enabled me to reconnect with past friends, meet and make new friends, preserve my thoughts in blog form effortlessly, and enjoy the thoughts of many others.
2) I am grateful to be living in a gorgeous, colorful Valley whose laws severely limit light pollution, enabling spectacular night skies.
3) I am grateful for the existence of the Higgs boson, which (as I understand it) enables the accretion of cosmic fuzz into elemental matter, and thus provides us with a miraculous venue, including our humble selves.
Gratitude inventory, Day 3:
1) I am grateful that my mother, who will celebrate her 80th birthday in January, and looks like she’s good for at least another 20 years, raised me and my brothers with a zero-tolerance policy regarding racism. I am lucky to be her son.
2) I am grateful to have had full-time employment for more than a year and a half, with work that is both fulfilling and accommodating–a perfect “day job” for a creative though many of the work hours have been in the dead of night.
3) I am grateful, after so many years of struggle, for the realization that I canNOT do “anything I set my mind to” but CAN do a certain spectrum of things that I’m not only quite good at but that I also love to do. I not only need never retire; I will never retire. Or, to cheerfully rip off the NRA, “they’ll get my pencil when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.” [smiling]
Gratitude inventory, Day 4:
1) I’m grateful that the hot dog end that was lodged in my throat, stubborn as a cork in a bottle, when I was 9 years of age and long before the Heimlich maneuver was in use, was successfully expelled before I succumbed to asphyxiation; that the 6-pound shot put that nearly collided with my head about a year later, didn’t; and that my dad was there with me during a rip tide at Pacific Beach to quell my panic and get me to backstroke my way toward shore. As to the last, a lifeguard was otherwise occupied until unneeded; he came out when my feet were firmly on the sand. If Dad weren’t there I would likely have drowned.
2) I’m grateful for the singers/songwriters who brightened my days when I was growing up–among many others, Lennon/McCartney, Janis Ian, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Carly Simon, and especially Bob Dylan were voices of sanity and resonance that served the function of guardian angels. I have a wonderful jukebox in my head now, full of the songs I love. I believe I was born just in time to enjoy a Golden Age of original music.
3) I’m grateful for the tens of thousands of miles I’ve gone on foot, walking and running, solo or with a friend or friends. The Endless Road is a well of pleasure, accomplishment and contentment that never runs dry.
Gratitude inventory, Day 5:
1) I am grateful for laughter. I love to laugh and I love creating laughter in others. Among the many who have made me laugh till my head hurts and tears come are Julius “Groucho” Marx, Bill Cosby, Gracie Allen and George Burns, Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller, Ben Stiller (need I say more than “Tropic Thunder” and “There’s Something About Mary”?), Rita Rudner, Roseanne Barr, Rodney Dangerfield, Margaret Cho, the other Margaret who, when asked by a guy if he could buy her a drink, replied “No thanks–but I’ll take the three bucks,” Mel Brooks and his confederates in lunacy, and my two all-time favorites, Richard Pryor and George Carlin. I’m grateful that I can call Bill Campana, who has my vote for the Funniest Person on Earth, my friend. And my sorrow at the passing of Robin Williams is tempered by the remembrances of his good friends Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal, who have also made me howl. As for my own sense of humor, I know I’m not as funny as I think I am, but I also KNOW I CAN be funny, if only because I once made a dear friend of mine involuntarily and plenteously wet her pants laughing at a joke about how a girl from Xavier–nope, can’t tell that one here! [smiling]
2) I am grateful to have years of various sorts of Sobriety under my belt. My Achilles Heel is compulsive gambling, but I’m also an obnoxious drunk when drunk and a vegetative slug when stoned. I am proud and happy to not drink, not smoke anything, restrict my drug use to blood-pressure medication and over-the-counter aspirin and equivalents; and I’m exhilarated to have kept a promise to myself, made in late 2010, to give up casino gambling. I still have an addictive bent, but nowadays it keeps itself to some overeating and some excessive Internet surfing. Not having a barrel of monkeys on my back is SO liberating!
3) I am grateful for the gift of life and the gift of hope, the gift of health and the gift of limited-but-immense possibility. It is fine and profound to offer love and be offered love in return. It is ecstasy to express and to be heard and understood and appreciated. It is peculiarly fine to be afflicted and then to get better, which yields the realization that Normalcy can be Amazing. And waking up happy just to have a pulse–that’s what Life is all about to me.
You wonderful friends who’ve read and responded to my previous entries–you are also what Life is all about. Thank you so so much!