Social media can be a fickle bitch. One week it’ll slap me on the back of the head and make me wish I didn’t own a computer at all, while simultaneously wondering why I remain friends with that asshole or moron who writes, believes, or propagates so much of the hatred, nonsense, or ideas unwanted.
Other weeks, social media can bring me nearly to tears, overjoyed with the human connections, ideas, and experiences that reach me through my 17” window to the world and touch me so deeply.
Though I try hard to avoid Facebook trends and games and hope not to drag others into them, this week one caught me by surprise. My friend, Jenny Marie, tagged me to share 3 gratitudes per day for 5 straight days. I have to say this was one of the better experiences I have had on Facebook in a quite a while.
Rather than write my usual essay this week, I thought it would be fun to share my 15 gratitudes here. This is dedicated to those readers of this blog who are not on Facebook or captives of social media.
Day 1 of my 5 days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Todays’ theme: Family
1) I am grateful for Trudy. Though we are not married any longer, she remains the most important person in my life, alongside the daughter that we share. Her friendship and kindness defy words.
2) I am grateful for my Mark. Being 4 years my senior, my brother has taught me many lessons, and provided much inspiration in my life.
3) I am grateful for my mother, the only woman on earth named Willie. She has always, and I mean (even today) always been there for me.
Day 2 of 5 my days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Today’s theme: (some of) my near death experiences
1 – You learn a lot when your parachute doesn’t open correctly. Even more when you spend a year housebound recovering from the related spinal injury – oh and there’s a toddler in the house. For all the lessons I learned in that turning point in my life (1993), I am grateful, and can honestly say I haven’t taken too many days for granted since.
2 – You learn a lot when you drink beer for breakfast while camping with your buddies and decide to leave your lawn chair and jump into the top of a Class IV rapid. Of all my near death experiences that one should have killed me. Every bone in my body took an exceptional jolt except for my head. I am grateful for the humility I gained. Another turning point in my life.
3 – You learn a lot when you realize there’s a rattlesnake in your car. I learned immediately that the entrance to the King Sooper’s grocery store could accommodate an S10 pickup. Got out, went right to the gardening tools, grabbed a shovel, and killed said snake. Not a single employee questioned me or what I was doing. I am grateful I saw him before it was too late.
Day 3 of my 5 days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Todays’ theme: Self-deprecation:
1 – I am grateful to all of those who know me, and like me anyway.
2 – I am grateful that I can look at the disappointment of a man that I was 15 years ago, but take comfort knowing that I eventually learn from all of my mistakes.
3 – Mostly today, I am as grateful for my pain as I am for my health so that in the words of Bob Dylan, I can know that I’m really real.
Day 4 of my 5 days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Todays’ theme: Stroodle
1- The truth is, when he was brought to me 7 years ago as an abused 1-year old, I didn’t want him. My friend and her daughter insisted I take him. I think about that almost every day now – that I didn’t even want him. I am so grateful for said friend, and Stroodle.
2- Every morning while he is still in sleepyhead position (shown), I thank him aloud for the lessons he teaches me daily in humility, unconditional love, and living in the present. I am grateful for this ritual.
3- We walk commando (off leash) 3-4 times per day. I am grateful for the purity and joy I see when he turns back at the end, and sprints to the front door.
Day 5 of my 5 days of sharing 3 gratitudes. Today’s theme: Humor And Mental Survival
In the last 3 months I have walked away from a successful business, had my bike (my only transportation) stolen, got burned by a couple of clients for some pretty big money, I have moved 3 times and lived for 2 months without a place to call home until this week. I almost got my head taken out by a falling gate arm, and I have seen several good friends going through incredibly difficult times. I have been in dark places myself, fearful and more desperate at times than I would ever let on in social media. Through it all though, I have not lost my sense of humor.
1- I am grateful for my brother who almost singlehandedly cultivated an irreverent sense of humor in me while growing up – to the point that being the class clown was the primary reason I stayed in school as long as I did, though I did eventually release myself on my own recognizance. He taught me abut Franklin Ajaye, George Carlin, and Woody Page.
2- I am grateful for my father who raised me with regular jokes in the car and at the dinner table. They were often horrible, unfunny, or too complicated for me to get, but they were a constant part of my upbringing.
3- I am grateful for all the comedians of this world. A few of them might even read this. As Lewis Black once said, “the only thing that separates us from those who wish to see us all perish, is our sense of humor”.
I could not agree more. Laughter may not always be the best medicine, but it goes down smooth and never leaves me with a hangover.
That’s it. Fifteen 15 gratitudes in 5 days. I may just keep this up, even if it means I lose a few social media friends. Ok, one more: I am grateful for the awareness this has brought to me. Be well… rc
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Please check back in a few weeks to see what happens when I push to STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Courtney Barnett. Enjoy…