Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It Rhymes with Attitude

I am as grateful as the next guy, assuming the next guy is a selfish, manipulative, angry little man. 

I'm an addict. An addict in long-term recovery, but an addict nonetheless. During the active phase of my disease, I merrily rewired the receptors in my brain to bypass some of the functions that might blow my high. These included responsibility and conscience, and without them, comes entitlement. 

Entitlement and gratitude don't do well together. Entitlement is such a bully that it tosses poor old gratitude right out of the bus. Who feels grateful for what they deserve?

The Thanksgiving story we grew up with was a gratitude story. The Indians helped the Pilgrims and everyone had a big party and then they went hunting and got some more food to store for the winter. Everyone was grateful as all get out. Then came the revisionist story, where the Pilgrims ripped off the Indians, ate their grub and killed them.

Oh my God, I thought. The Pilgrims were addicts! They acted like crackheads ripping the Indians' bodega to cop some spicy chips! Entitled. No gratitude.

I like the old story better. I like it because it speaks to my best self. The second story speaks to the seriously damaged dude who still lurks in the shadows, ready to steal your wallet and then help you look for it. The old story may not be true, but I want to make it true. I want to be a grateful addict, not an entitled one.

Because, as the man said, a grateful addict will never use.

Now comes the part where I should list everything I am grateful for. But I won't. If I did, I would start padding it and thinking up stuff so you would think what a great guy I am. And if I did begin listing all that I am truly grateful for, it could bore you to death. 

So let's leave it at this: I'm grateful that I'm with the good Pilgrims. Being a crackhead Pilgrim sucks.

Happy Thanksgiving, you Pilgrims.

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