Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"



There’s this thing we do, and I don’t like it.

When we learn of someone dying of cancer, or contracting a heinous disease, or going through a car accident, or losing a house to flood, or accidentally meeting Sean Hannity, we inevitably say (or have someone near us say), “You just have to be thankful.” The words don’t imply the actual message, which is, “You just have to be thankful we’re not the ones who are fucked”—and I absolutely hate it.

I will not allow myself to count my blessings because thousands of people have been displaced in a tsunami, or my son’s teacher’s sister died of cancer. I don’t want to feel good about my lot in life simply because it beats your lot in life. That’s a warped way of viewing the world. Or, to be blunt, it’s severely fucked up.

I’m thankful for my family, for my dog, for my health, for my career. I’m thankful for the sunny days and the stars at night. I’m thankful for Friday Night Lights (not the second season, though) and Whitney Houston’s voice and the smell of grilled cheese. I’m thankful for Ruli, the waiter at our local Soup Plantation, who innocently flirts with my wife. I’m thankful for the libraries that carry my books. I’m thankful for Mrs. Travaglini, my second grade teacher, and Bev Oden, my best California pal, and Donna Massaro’s Freight House Cafe, the world’s best coffee shop. I’m thankful for Hall and I’m thankful for Oates and I’m thankful for the palm trees in my yard. I’m thankful for 100,000 different things and places.

But am I more thankful because your cat died?

No. Because that would be sick.