” It is better to give than to receive”
In the spirit of those wise words I am making a list of why people should be thankful for what I have given them.
LIST OF PEOPLE WHO NEED TO BE THANKFUL FOR ME
Although not technically a person my dog should be thankful that I have stayed in the relationship even though she has definitely let herself go. She also should be thankful that I am messy and drop a lot of food on the floor (which may account for why she has let herself go).
PEOPLE WHO WALK AROUND WITH HUGE GOLF UMBRELLAS ON THE CROWDED NYC STREETS WHILE TEXTING AND SMOKING AT THE SAME TIME
These people should be grateful I don’t murder them like I would like to.
Should be grateful that as a 64-year-old actress who has struggled with weight, she has a fan that adores her with as much fervor as a tween girl worships Nick Jonas. And she should stop looking afraid for her life every time I approach her.
If you are such a great actress mask that fear in your eyes!
Should be grateful that I have kept her fed, healthy and somewhat groomed (except for that period when I was really depressed) for over 19 years. Instead she resents me for constantly thwarting her plots to take care of the “pit bull problem” in the house. See MY DOG above.
Should be grateful he has made a killing off of my fame and supposed existence.
PEOPLE IN THE SOUP KITCHEN WHERE I VOLUNTEER
Should be grateful that as somewhat of a celebrity I sometimes show up for photo ops. People like getting their mashed potatoes scooped by famous people. (See BIGFOOT above).
How was I to know there was a photographer there?
PEOPLE AT SALAD BARS WHO STAND IN FRONT OF THE ONE FOOD I DESIRE FOR SEVERAL MINUTES TRYING TO DECIDE IF THEY WANT IT OR NOT
(See PEOPLE WHO WALK AROUND WITH HUGE GOLF UMBRELLAS ON THE CROWDED NYC STREETS WHILE TEXTING AND SMOKING above.)
Should be grateful I have singlehandedly kept it solvent.
Should be grateful for me feeding them in my backyard every day. Although I deeply apologize for those of you who lost loved ones to the neighbor’s evil cat.
Again not technically a person (although its name implies otherwise)—should be grateful for me reading every issue since it began in 1976 from cover to cover. And I will continue to do so until I die or magazines become extinct.
I’m quite good at celebrity trivia
Should be grateful I’m not litigious.
MY FRIENDS AND COWORKERS
My old friends should be grateful we have maintained wonderful friendships through good and bad times, happiness and sadness, closeness and distance. My new friends should be grateful for the surprise of never knowing when a new and wonderful person may pop up in your life and decide to stick around. My newish friend Sara should be grateful that I’m going to try my best to remember to get legally registered in the state of New York so I can have the honor of marrying her and her fiancé. (Sara–please remind me to do that on Monday).
Should be grateful for oh so many things. 1) For me learning it is not good to wake someone up from a nap yelling constructive criticism at them 2) For getting a screen for my back door so mosquitos stop attacking him while he is relaxing watching TV (who knew there were people who didn’t like that? 3) For providing him with a dog who loves to be petted and a cat who demands to be fed at all hours of the day (Hmmm…. I may need to make the cat sound more gratitude-inducing) 4) For me being smart enough after years and years of being single to recognize a very good thing when I see one.
ALL PEOPLE IN RELATIONSHIPS
Should be grateful I don’t secretly and jealously hate them anymore now that I’m not single.
Now some of you may read this and say, “Hey, you should be grateful for all the things you listed. Sure the people at the salad bar who take too long and the NY pedestrians with golf umbrellas should be killed or at least hurt but that dog gives you comfort and love. And that cat gives you companionship. And those friends and the soup kitchen and Bigfoot and Tyne Daly and People Magazine are all part of the rich and beautiful patchwork of your life. And that boyfriend accepts you for who you are even with all your mood swings, pettiness, old animals, and those two annoying loud clocks in your apartment that chime and make bird sounds every hour on the hour.”
“Maybe you’re right,” I’d say. “And who told you about the clocks?”
But I will think about what you said.
My boyfriend (see MY BOYFRIEND above) told me about a group of people he was lucky enough to have lunch with the other day. They weren’t middle class or rich or privileged or well…white people. They didn’t have all the advantages that I and most of my friends have. But they were kind and they were humble and they were grateful for what they did have.
And when I hear that it reminds me that gratitude and humbleness and kindness is truly the only thing that has ever brought me happiness and joy in this lifetime.
So for today at least I will be humbly grateful for everything and everyone on the above list.
After all, I suppose there are worse things in life than having to wait a little longer for my lunch or having to gently elbow someone in the ribs to get out of my way on a rainy day.
About the Author
Keith Hoffman wears a sleek raincoat with a hood on stormy days and quickly makes food selections while in a crowded deli.