Point of No Return — It’s time to quit complaining and offer thanks

Date Published: 
Nov. 24, 2017

We are a species that can complain, aren’t we?

I don’t mean “can complain” in terms of our great creator providing us the physiological ability to complain about things. No, I mean “can complain” in regards to our remarkable ability to moan and complain about every single aspect of our personal and professional lives — and, if there’s nothing at the ready to complain about, we simply turn our attention to other people and complain about what they’re doing.

We are artists, dabbling in the medium of whine. “My job’s too hard.” “My wife doesn’t understand me.” “That bald editor of the Point is always riding the trolley in his mankini.” Whine, whine, whine. Complain, complain, complain.

I do it all too often, myself. I come home from work and complain to my family about how busy I was all day, without noting the fact that I came home to a home and family, and I got there after leaving my salary-paying job. There are plenty of people who would trade situations with me in an instant, and I can’t say I blame them.

Since this is the season of giving thanks, and I’m a hack writer who feels the need to write the same exact column as 3 million other hack writers, I offer my list of what I’m thankful for — with the instructions that I’m inadvertantly leaving someone or something out that I’ll be embarrassed about later:

• I’m thankful for my wife and kid, two dogs and one fish. It is a female-dominated house, as every living being besides myself represents the superior gender. I say that because I am badly outnumbered in my home and need to keep the peace. If you see my face peering out the window at night, seemingly blinking in Morse code, please send help. In fact, don’t even wait for the signal. Just send help. Please.

• I’m thankful that people in this country care enough to attack each other for not sharing their same beliefs. Maybe I should clarify that a little. I’m thankful that people in this country care a lot — about the present state of our nation and where we are heading in the future. But I find it repugnant and childish that we can not address people who disagree with us with something resembling respect and/or critical thinking.

If you call someone a “CONservative” or “libtard” to make a point, you are the problem, and you’re perpetuating disgusting behavior from the politicians in Washington, who depend on this divisiveness to get what they want. It’s “We the people,” not “We people against those people, but really more opposed to those people over there who don’t agree with the people who think the same exact way my people think.”

• I’m thankful for the employees here at the Coastal Point. We push them pretty hard around here, largely because we feel they are capable of great things, and our community expects a lot from them each and every week. I assure you, there are less-demanding ways to make a buck, but this crew keeps coming back for more, and they continue to inspire with their effort.

• I’m thankful for the remote control. For years, I served as my father’s remote, tasked with changing the channel, tuning the picture, adjusting the volume and twisting and turning a telescoping antenna until the picture came in just right — and then I was often left hanging upside-down with the antenna dangling from my teeth so my father could watch “All in the Family” in clarity. The remote control has changed lives.

• I’m thankful for the Lyons family. Besides being my publisher and business partner, Susan Lyons has been my trusted friend for more than 17 years, and her husband, Andy, is on my short list of close friends, as well. Their three kids are like siblings to me, and their spouses and children are all part of my extended family. Good group of people, those Lyonses, and I’d certainly throw Susan’s parents into the mix, as well.

• I’m thankful for the strength I’ve gotten from my bride as we both walked away from tobacco about two months ago, and plan to push each other into continued abstinence into the future. My daughter handed me mine a few months ago when it fell out of my pocket, and my heart tore in half. In a related topic, I’m thankful for sugar-free chewing gum.

• I’m thankful for this community. Every year when the Thanksgiving for Thousands effort picks up at Mountaire, I remember again how giving and selfless this community is at its heart. This community has given me my job, my family, my home, my friends and a restored faith in humanity through charitable efforts. Of course, I’ve also met Harry Steele while living here, so you have to take the bad with the good...

• I’m thankful for Harry Steele. No, really.

• I’m thankful for my sister, her husband and her three remarkable sons. My sister has been a constant in my life since 1973 (oops, did I just give away her age?), meaning I have known her for 44 years (if not, I did then!). She’s smart, funny and quite the lady when she finds relief from her chronic flatulence. She lives too far away for my liking, but I’m grateful every day that she’s in my life.

• I’m thankful for my longtime friends, who I maybe don’t get to see every day, but still find joy in my interactions with them every chance I have. My 30th high school reunion was this summer, and I was reminded again how much I enjoyed those people from my youth, and still enjoy them today.

• I’m grateful for my parents, and for another clean cancer scan for my mother earlier this week. I will get to have Thanksgiving dinner with them again this year, and “thankful” is not a strong-enough word.

• I’m thankful for our readers and advertisers. We are grateful for your support and trust. Happy Thanksgiving!