Well, it’s Thanksgiving again, that very special time of year when we all take a break from our busy lives to gather in the spirit of gratitude, togetherness and gravy.
But of course, there’s more to Thanksgiving than pine cones and socially acceptable public pants unbuttoning (although, those are two pretty good things — the pants unbuttoning, especially).
My favorite Thanksgiving custom, and I mean aside from engaging in really uncomfortable political conversations with people you thought you knew and loved? That’s right: going around the table and giving thanks.
Now, since you probably weren’t at my Thanksgiving dinner — although if you were, I think you maybe inadvertently left with my wife’s Dansko clogs — I offer my own list for 2018.
This year, I am thankful for:
• Wearing a men’s size 13, so no one ever inadvertently leaves with MY Dansko clogs.
• The official kick-off of eggnog season.
• La Croix Sparkling Water, the soda addict’s methadone.
• 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-Get-my-Own-Day? Wednesday.
• UAS hiring me to teach an advanced creative writing workshop next semester. English 461-J01: Write Free or Die! A Cross-Genre Exploration of Narrative, Monday evenings, 6-9 p.m. Visit www.uas.alaska.edu
• Shameless plugs.
• This interesting Thanksgiving tidbit: originally imported by visiting American whaling ships, Thanksgiving is also celebrated on Norfolk Island in Australia, where, presumably, families sit down to “turduckoala” — that’s a de-boned duck stuffed inside a de-boned turkey stuffed inside a de-boned koala bear — and give thanks for Outback Steakhouse, Men At Work and Paul Hogan’s decision to stop making “Crocodile Dundee” sequels.
• The “Three Wisemen”: Krazy Glue, duct tape and WD-40.
• Marshmallow topping. And you can hold the sweet potatoes; their empty nutrients only get in the way.
• White vinegar. That stuff cleans like bleach, but, unlike bleach, also makes a nice, tangy salad dressing.
• Netflix — even at $13.99 per month for Premium, it’s still by far the cheapest babysitter in town, and the only one available at 7 a.m. on a Sunday.
• Incoming Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s request for some 800-plus state employees — career civil servants, mind you, not political appointees, whose positions include geologists, pharmacists, data systems specialists and public advocates — to resign effective immediately and then reapply (read: “beg”) for their jobs. Thank you, Dunleavy, for living up to your campaign slogan “Standing Tall for Alaska” by forcing those who actually make Alaska bend over and kiss your … er, ring. And thanks for sending out the notice right before Thanksgiving, just to screw with everyone’s holiday.
• Ranch dressing.
• Ranch dressing mixed with Sriracha; I call it “Sri-Ranch-a,” and lately I’ve been slathering it on everything.
• Pepcid AC (especially pursuant to above).
• Hoodies, Carhartts and baseball caps — “haute couture” for bald, fat dudes.
• “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” STILL the greatest Thanksgiving movie of all time.
• Gas powered machinery, and a valid credit card with which to rent it.
• My mag-torch, not only for lighting the woodstove, but, in a pinch, toasting crème brulee.
• The recent inclusion of “Weird” Al Yankovic’s sleeper classic “UHF” with Amazon Prime Video. I’m telling you, that guy’s a national treasure, and quietly one of the top-selling American recording artists in history.
• Giant bronze humpback whale sculptures. I’ll admit, it’s grown on me.
• Kombucha and nutritional yeast. I’m pro-pro-biotic.
• Google maps, which, while pretty useless driving in Juneau, consistently saves my marriage whenever we travel to the Lower 48.
• Sharp tools, by which I mean other people’s sharp tools; mine are dull AF.
• The decision to wear a protective cup whenever playing or coaching sports with little kids. I’m actually thinking about just rocking it 24/7 until my son outgrows jumping into my lap knees-first.
• Never quite getting around to taking down Halloween decorations — all I have to do is slap a Santa Hat on that glow-in-the-dark skeleton in the window and we’re all set for Christmas. Not sure what to do with the liquefying jack-o’-lanterns, though …
• Free season ski passes for fifth graders. Now I can plow that money right into my chili cheese fries fund.
• Canadian Thanksgiving, which our neighbors celebrate not on the fourth Thursday of November, but the second Monday of October. I’m guessing that’s because they use a metric calendar?
• That one magical game in which the Yankees defeated the Red Sox in the 2018 American League Division Series. And then, like that, they were gone.
• Alaska’s official state firearm: the pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 (although I prefer to defend myself as nature intended — with a Taser).
• Most of all, in 2018, I am thankful for humor — more than at any other time in my life (well, aside from middle school; middle school was brutal). Point is, in my opinion, we can all stand to take things a lot less seriously. Except food borne pathogens — you want to stay vigilant about those.
Happy Thanksgiving, Juneau. May all your surfaces (and romaine lettuce) be free of salmonella.
• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday.