Ah, Thanksgiving, that magical time of year when we all take a break from our busy lives to gather in the spirit of gratitude, togetherness and marshmallow topping.
But there’s more to Thanksgiving than weekday drinking and socially acceptable public pants unbuttoning (although, admittedly, those are two pretty good things).
My favorite Thanksgiving custom — and I mean aside from sitting around a living room with family and friends, each of us engrossed in our own personal electronics? That’s right: going around the table and giving thanks.
Now, since you probably weren’t at my Thanksgiving dinner — although I did stream the whole thing on YouTube Live (spoiler alert: it didn’t trend) I offer my own list for 2017.
This year, I am thankful for:
• Reflective outerwear.
• Breathable underwear.
• Club soda, as both a stain-remover and homeopathic stomach preparation.
• The proliferation of retail holidays, like Black Friday, which is now followed by Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and When-the-Eff-am-I-Getting-my-Own-Day? Wednesday.
• Ice melt.
• Gravel mixed with ice melt.
• The “First Thanksgiving,” held by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1621, to mark the successful completion of one full year living in the “New World.” Moreover, I’m especially thankful for the residents of America at the time — you know, the Native Americans? — who joined these immigrants in their three-day feast, as opposed to issuing travel bans or menacing them with Tiki torches, polo shirts and khakis.
• The official kickoff of eggnog season.
• Hoodies, Carhartts and beanies — “haute couture” for fat, bald dudes.
• Durkee fried onions and cream of mushroom soup. And you can hold the green beans; their empty nutrients only get in the way.
• 50-50 bleach-water solution.
• Babysitters who are still too young to drive or date, so they’re actually available to babysit.
• Automatic backups to the cloud.
• Gorilla Glue.
• My shop-vac — couldn’t sweep my kitchen floor without it.
• My pressure washer — couldn’t mop my kitchen floor without it.
• My mag-torch, not only for lighting the woodstove, but, in a pinch, toasting crème brulee.
• Crème brulee.
• The addition of “Talladega Nights: the Legend of Ricky Bobby” and “Trading Places” to Netflix.
• Good drainage.
• Snow, of any accumulation.
• Conscientious pedestrians.
• Conscientious motorists.
• Vitamin D, however I can get it.
• Brussels sprouts, for providing an alternative to kale; beets for providing an alternative to Brussels sprouts.
• The ability to find obscure street addresses without resorting to Google maps.
• Carabiner clips, and while we’re at it, bungee cords.
• My newfound habit of sharpening my axe. If only I was as conscientious about tightening the head …
• Protective eyewear. But not protective ear plugs — those are for wusses. What’s that? You’ll need to speak up.
• Our current president, who has inspired me to get back into shape, donate to the American Civil Liberties Union and try even harder to control my temper. That’s the last thing anybody needs — another angry, orange man.
• Never quite getting around to taking down the Christmas lights from last year — now I don’t have to put them back up!
• Ski lockers — so much less crying and yelling in our lives, and way less expensive than family therapy.
• The road construction in my neighborhood finally wrapping up, although I never did get to avail myself of the porta potty. Oh, well —next summer, when they tear up the street yet again.
• The fact that I live in a city with more public radio stations than McDonald’s franchises.
• Beards: nature’s balaclava.
• Baseball caps: the poor man’s toupee.
• My mailbox actually surviving last winter; fingers crossed for 2017-18, but better stock a few spares just in case.
• Alaska’s official state firearm: the pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 (although I prefer to defend myself as nature intended — with a Taser).
• My wife, who remains the family’s primary bread-winner, and she eats gluten free, so we’re talking really expensive bread, which only tastes good with a whole lot of butter smeared on it.
• Amazon Prime (but only after I look local first).
• The photo I took with Sarah Palin and my then-baby daughter at the 2008 Governor’s Mansion Annual Holiday Open House; nine years later, and it’s STILL getting likes on Facebook.
• The upcoming XXIII Winter Olympics — the perfect excuse to sit on the couch for weeks on end firmly convinced you’re doing something worthwhile.
• Most of all, in 2017, I am thankful for humor. Honestly, we could all stand to take everything a lot less seriously. Except fire safety — better stay vigilant about that.
Happy Thanksgiving, Juneau. May all your holiday gatherings be free of really uncomfortable political conversations with people you thought you loved.
• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday.