December 30, 1999

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


I always thought Thanksgiving should come at the end of the year when we would have a whole year to be thankful or unthankful for. Having it in November is close to the end of the year, but in one month a lot can go wrong. If you donít think so ask a veteran about December 7th. Of course, the Pilgrims were not celebrating a whole year; they were giving thanks to a bountiful harvest.

From childhood we are taught that on Thanksgiving we must be thankful, even if we have had a mediocre year. Of course if you are a mediocre person, like Bill Clinton, it is easy to be thankful. He probably feels extremely thankful for outfoxing the Republicans. Even Monica Lewinsky can boast a good year with all the money she made off of Zippergate.

Personally, I think I have had better years. Not that 1999 was the worst year in my life, but it certainly doesnít rank up there with winning the Lottery. Three months in a cast is nothing to be thankful for. Being in debt is nothing to be thankful for. Thousand dollar repair bills for your car are not to be thankful for. Chronic pain is nothing to be thankful for. Now I normally do not hold a grudge against a year. Live and let live is what I say, but sometimes it is best to rush a year out of existence and get on with the new. Come to think of it I think this Century is about overstayed it stay, too. It probably doesnít help that I am in one of my rare cranky moods.

Most of the time I claim to be an optimist and I am glad of that. If you take things too seriously, it can be really depressing. After all, we all know the end of the story for each and everyone of us. We are born, we live, and we die. Death awaits us all. Death makes a lot of things pointless Ė like lifetime warranties. Already at 47, I am starting to get cynical when I see ďLifetime Warranty.Ē That was great when I was 25 years old, but at 47 it is starting to sound thin. My Father, at 79 years old, must not even bother to read warranties anymore.

Lucky for me I am not a natural cynic. I would probably stay in bed everyday wearing my good suit so I would be ready to be buried. I donít write off a year just because I didnít win the Publishers Clearinghouse ten million-dollar check. I donít write off the year because my Internet Service Provider uses squirrels in a thread mill to power his system. I donít write off the year because I am still loosing hair.

For me to write off a year as mediocre is to have a year where well laid plans go awry. 1999 is not the first bad year I have had. I seem to have one about every five years. That I guess is something to be grateful for. I know some people who seem to have one bad year after another. Some people are having a worst year than me. Hillary Clinton seems to be on a slow downward ride to her defeat in New York. Egypt Airís reputation is ending the year in a tailspin. The Hubbell Telescope is having a bad year now that it floats in space absolutely useless. NASA seems to continually have a bad year after their Mars probe crashed because they couldnít keep their meters and feet straight. I am definitely having a better year than Bill Gates.

Perhaps the thing for me to celebrate this Thanksgiving is to give thanks that I have another month to redeem 1999. Like Scarlet OíHara, I will not give up. To give up is to die. Just as the last month of a year can ruin a good year, a good month can fix a bad year. Now for the Pumpkin Pie.

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