Look around everyone; we don't have any reasons to be thankful. It's really cold outside, there's tons of schoolwork to do and geese are taking over the grass in front of the library. We don't even have holidays that stand for something noble. There are two holidays coming up: the second most drunken day of the year (Thanksgiving) and the most commercialized day of our miserable capitalist lives (Christmas). Congratulations to America for eating Thanksgiving and Christmas and pooping out gluttony and materialism. That's an awkward image, to be true, but completely apt.
I'm not in a sappy mood and I don't feel like giving a sermon, but there are some really basic reasons why each of us should at least marvel at our lives and wonder why we are blessed to inhabit the Earth.
For those of us who have grown up in a developed nation, we have no idea what it means to be thankful. To truly be humble you have to acknowledge that we are flawed and are unable to create the perfect lives that we humans so often attempt to create.
Along these lines, my first reason to be thankful: I am thankful to the man who puts fluoride in my tap water. Seriously, all you bottled water connoisseurs have no idea what you're missing. It was a sheer stroke of genius when someone decided that we would have pure drinking water on tap and prevent cavities for the heck of it. Do you realize that I poop into water that's cleaner than millions of people will ever drink? The inequalities of life are absolutely ridiculous.
Reason number two: I'm thankful for gasoline and coal. Honestly, I'm still not convinced that the two most efficient forms of energy on the planet are as evil as everyone tries to tell me. I understand that energy dependence creates an international power struggle and often fuels greedy governments, but I won't be the one to tell them to stop making money. As long as there are billions of people willing to buy something, there will be hundreds of people willing to sacrifice quality of life to sell it. As a citizen of one of the worst gas-guzzling nations, I can only speak as someone implicated within the system and I will not demonize America. Make no mistake, I'm a real American ... it just so happens I voted for Obama. But even he guzzles gasoline on the daily.
Reason number three: I'm thankful for the seasons we have in Richmond. Sure all the northeasterners complain that autumn in "the South" is nothing compared to (insert state name here), but compared to Texas we have quite a lot of diversity in the seasons. All my life, I thought there were three seasons: Really hot, cold and rainy, and warm with azalea blossoms. Here in Richmond, we have four legitimate seasons and (even though it's getting too cold for shorts and a T-shirt) I'm thankful for winter because it kills bacteria in the lake and forces us to accept the delayed gratification of spring.
Reason number four: I'm most thankful for uncomfortable situations. In the current youth vernacular awkward is more common than any other word to describe an interaction that is uncomfortable. I for one, refuse to accept the fact that uncomfortable situations are anything but learning experiences for life and a great inside joke for you and everyone else who partakes in the awkward situation (ie "Remember that time when we first met and you assumed I was a gun-totin hick? Good times.").
So while you partake in the gluttony and materialism, just remember that besides all the opportunities we've been given by attending UR, such as a beautiful campus and socialized laundry program, there are plenty of reasons to be legitimately thankful. More than I could ever print.
Contact Michael Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org