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Thanks, thanks, thanks

It is traditional, on the fourth Thursday in November, for blogs of this kind to post a maudlin essay about what the bloggist is thankful for.

Um. You know, stuff.

My Best Reader, of course, and my Perfect Non-Reader, and the Youngest Member who still cannot read, although he can fool you what with having memorized The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza and Big Max and Danny and the Dinosaur. And other family members, immediate and in law, small and large, in this world or the next.

My astonishing level of comfort, and the country that makes it possible. And the moment in time—I’m grateful for the twenty-first century. The ability to cushion myself, with money and friends and stuff, from a lot of bad things.

Did I mention my friends? Gentle Readers, y’all count for that. I am thankful for you. I thank you.

The Talking Heads album Stop Making Sense, which I listened to today. I am thankful for that. I should send them a note.

Do you know what else? That thing where grapes ferment, under the right conditions, and make wine. I like wine. It’s kind of odd, when you think about it, that fermentation exists. If it didn’t exist, and you wrote it into a specfic world (there’s this chemical change which happens, which makes ordinary fruit juice become intoxicating when it rots, and it also changes the taste to make it more complex, and, um, you have whole industries of growing fruit just to rot it in just the right way) it wouldn’t be very plausible.

I am also thankful for how implausible the real world is, in so many ways.

The Internet. The personal computer. Telephone lines. The postal service, particularly—do you ever think about the idea that there might not have been one? At all? But there is. Well, done Ben Franklin. Thank you.

You remember that I’m thankful for the fermentation thing? I’m not so thankful for the tobacco curing thing, but I am very thankful that in twenty-first century America I only rarely go places where I come out stinking of tobacco. When I was a kid, thirty years ago, I must have had that cigarette stench on my clothes and in my hair all the time. We all must have. It was everywhere. Not so much today, so thanks for that.

I’ll add thanks that the email that I got yesterday from the President of the United States of America, mentioning the Thanksgiving observance, wasn’t irritating to get. It wasn’t hugely inspiring, although it was nice in places (I particularly liked the mention of people who have to work on Thanksgiving because it’s their job and they don’t have any choice, and that’s another thing I’m thankful for, that my job isn’t like that and I have the freedom to avoid work that is like that) and rather sweet in its overall tone, but (a) we have a President who doesn’t get up my nose just by being President, (2) we have a President who is capable of putting his name over more than three sentences without offending me in the text itself, and (iii) I got an email from the President of the United States of America. Seriously, I know it wasn’t personal, but that’s pretty swell.

I’m thankful that the Avot is around, and the whole Scripture, all of it. I probably won’t write about it on Saturday, but you never know, I might. It’s a free weekend, for the most part, and I am very thankful for that.

And for tea. Did I mention tea? In with the whole fermentation thing, and tobacco curing, there’s this plant, a tree really, the leaves of which, when dried and fermented and dried and steeped in hot water, well, you don’t believe any of this, do you? But you drink coffee.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,