Thanksgiving Revisited

We were approaching the end of our Thanksgiving family dinner when my sister thought it would be a good idea for all of us to go around and proclaim what we were thankful for. Admittedly it has been a difficult year, and after drinking a few glasses of truth serum derived from a bottle of wine, I teetered on the verge of finding the good in all of it... or simply expressing myself.

The rotation of positive affirmations ensued, warming the table like gravy on mashed potatoes. I knew I had a lot to be thankful for- good health, a supportive family and loving girlfriend, etcetera, etcetera- but I wasn't in the mood to delve that deep into my emotions to extract those warm fuzzies. I opted instead for the wry humor card, hoping to mix things up while demonstrating I was comfortable enough to speak my mind.

"I'm thankful this year is almost over," I announced at my turn.

My thanks was met with stunned, awkward silence. My sister pressed me for a better answer, hoping to keep a constructive perspective on my reflection, but I would have none of it. I made my decision and wasn't about to back down. Digging my heels further into the ground, I restated my answer.

"I'm thankful I was able to learn something positive in an otherwise shit-ass year!"

My second outburst was received no better than the first and we quickly moved on to the next person. I had succeeded in expressing myself, but it was at the expense of my family's feelings. I think maybe next year, I will be thankful for the ability of those around me to forgive me when I take things too far... then again, maybe not.

How To Place Foot Firmly In Mouth: A Cautionary Tale

The interview was going exceedingly well, as I leaned back in my chair; my confidence building with every answer. We both knew I was over-qualified for the position and I felt like we were in agreement on so many meaningless details. The connection seemed to warm up the cold, sterile room which was furnished with an ovular meeting table, some cheap office chairs, a white board with cryptic red writing and diagrams scribbled on it, and a window that now served as a shrinking symbol of freedom.

As she spoke, I couldn't help but notice the cross resting above her breast. The conversation continued for a little while longer until she paused to look at her watch. She had other interviews to conduct. In fact, they were all back to back for the next four hours.

"No rest for the wicked," I blurted in the drunkenness of overconfidence. We shook hands and as I walked out the door, I realized I had completely nullified any chance I had at being considered for the position.

A Big Head, Take Two

Primary Jazz Duo I had just finished hanging my work for the show at the theater when the gentleman who lent me the step-stool returned. He looked around the giant room, with my paintings now adorning the semi-exposed brick walls loosely patched with white drywall. "Well," he casually observed, "that definitely gives this place a different look!"

Curious about his comment, I tried to remain optimistic. "I certainly hope for the better," I responded.

"Yeah," he went on, "at least I can tell what it's supposed to be."

He said no more.

After I realized that was the extent of his commentary, I felt the distinct tiny pop of a pinprick, as any shred of confidence I had prior to that moment passed into the air with a slow, gentle leak.

A Big Head

It was a beautiful morning for this first day of October. There wasn't a cloud in the sky as I drove my girlfriend's seven-year-old son to school. We were talking about sports and the upcoming week, when the conversation shifted, as it often does when O has a question or comment that seems to come at random.

"I like sitting here," he said cheerfully to me, as he leaned back in his seat.

I smiled, thinking he was probably just glad to be up in the front of the car and asked, "Is it because you like being the co-pilot?"

"No," he explained, "it's because your head blocks the sun from my eyes."