So I’ve been asked to take a look at things that are blessings in my life and take note of them. This is an interesting thing for me, as I’m not one who generally sees the bright spots. I’m more the, “Hey, look. This is broken,” kind of person.
But y’all know me: I’ll do anything to be liked (Thanks to Richard Harding for that one – if you haven’t read ‘The Outrider’ series, shame on you, and NO you can’t borrow my copies). To that end, I’ll take a look at a few things, and see what I can make of them. I might even make bullet points and stuff to make it more visually pleasing! Whee!
- I’ll start with the one that should be the most obvious, and yet is frequently not mentioned — certainly not to the extent she deserves. Back in September of 2012, I made contact with a lady for the first time. We began to talk back and forth and things progressed from there. Last October, she married me. I joke and tell her all the time that this is a point against her overall sanity, but she’s brought out a lot of me that I thought was dead. It’s entirely because of her that I am writing again. It’s because of her that I bother to even get out of bed some days (or staying in on others, but hey, that’s between us). Thanks for everything, Kae. I love you.
- An extension of the above, but a blessing in her own right: my daughter. Yes, by definition, she’s my stepdaughter, but I don’t see her that way, so semantics can go suck it. She teaches me new lessons in life on a frequent basis. I’ve learned from her as much as she has from me. Oh, and, she’s a million times cooler than anybody else’s kid. So there. Hi, D! Look! You got your own bullet point! Yay!
- Mentioned above, but here ya go: Writing. I know, right? Seems weird to mention, but a few years ago my desire to put words on paper had vanished. Lost in a mix of grief and anger, and expected never to return. Still today, it’s kind of a bitch to find the right words to drop on track, but at least now I want to do it again. Even when I’m sitting here at the screen, struggling to assemble the ideas that flash through my brain into some semblance of coherence, and there’s that part of me that is telling me to just walk away, I have another part reminding me how much fun it can be to tell that story.
- Support structure: I’ve got friends and family that have been there for me, even when I know they’re thinking, “Damn, he’s being a dick today.” There are so many of them that listing them individually would make this look like a phonebook more than anything readable. Y’all know who you are.
- Materially, I’m blessed to have a home and food and all the things that make life easier and smoother on a daily basis. It can be so easy to take these things for granted and forget that there are people the world over who would consider the simplest of them to be Manna from Heaven. Seriously! Obviously there are people in poverty stricken areas (even here, in our ‘enlightened’ nation) who would consider themselves fortunate to have them, but… Imagine some dude in the 1400’s digging on electric lighting, central heat and air, purified water, refrigerators and microwave ovens! “Check this shit out, homes! It’s called Velcro. You’re gonna love it!”
- I am blessed to have family. A series of close calls over the past few years have threatened some of that, and the fact that we’re still running and gunning is a wonderful thing. In that vein, I would like to thank modern medicine, and those who practice it.
- I’m sitting here with a device on my lap that when I was a kid was the topic of science fiction. A computer that ‘back in the day’ would have taken up a warehouse fits on my lap. Take a minute to think about that one. This laptop, back then, would have made NASA cream. Look down at that cell phone you carry and realize that tech has advanced so fast and so far in the past fifty years or so (it’s because of the reverse engineering of alien technology, of course). I was present for the emergence of the personal computer, the cell phone, the video game (PONG still kicks ass, by the way). I’ve seen cars go from gasoline to unleaded to gasohol to ethanol-infused, and watched as items once the stuff of dreams became so commonplace people don’t even think twice about losing them.
- Health is one of those things that we sometimes don’t really think about or just take for granted, right? Well, mine’s pretty decent. I’ve got a few issues here and there (who doesn’t?), but nothing debilitating.
- I am, of course, blessed to have great taste in music. Y’all should know that by now, right? Cool.
- I dig coffee and it’s a good companion most days. Some days his friend Scotch comes along and wants to play, too, and that’s cool as well. Seriously, though, I started drinking coffee way back when beside my grandfather. I still have memories of him, sitting at the table in their kitchen, sipping his coffee from an olive-green Melamine saucer while his wife made dinner in a big cast-iron pan (Spanish rice was always a favorite treat, and man, did she ever know how to make it!). Throughout the years, I’ve tried coffee with many a weird additive (yes, cream and sugar both count), but I always come back to just pouring it into a container and drinking.
- On a note mentioned above, I’m blessed to have memories. Primarily memories of people that were important to me, but memory in general. I spent a good ten minutes just remembering time spent with my grandparents while writing that last point. Memories are all any of us have left of them.
- I’m blessed to be American. Knock it if you want (we all do), but it’s a great country. Yep, it has flaws. Nope, I still don’t wanna trade it for a life in Myanmar.
- I’m blessed to have spent time doing sec work ‘back in the day’ because I got to see a whole slew of bands before anyone ever really knew who they were…and I saw them from the stage. I also worked a lot of greats either working their way back up, coming down from the heights of their career, or simply playing in smaller venues. I stood on stage with the Ramones, folks. You think pharmaceuticals will give you a four-hour erection? Try being up there beside a band you loved since before high school.
- I have come to know an ‘extra family’, for want of a better word. Men, women, and persons with no distinct gender identity. United in a love of community and magical expression. Drummers, dancers, singers. Artists, creators, and innovators. We may only spend a few days together now and then, but I love you all. “Holy shit! He expressed an emotion other than anger!” Yeah, yeah, I know…
- I’m blessed to have rolled about and played with the creations of such visionaries as Samuel Colt, Gaston Glock, Mikhail Kalashnikov, and Eugene Stoner. You gents, and those like you, taught me that jigsaw puzzles could be assembled into something more than just a picture. I have enjoyed getting to know them all. Few topics these days draw more ire than firearms, and I suppose I will hear from someone not happy that I have referred to them in glowing terms. I don’t give a fuck. I like them.
- I see a blessing in the acquisition of knowledge. I believe it is important to learn something new as often as possible. It may be something as simple as the mass of a standard paper clip, or as complex as the connection between string theory and vibrational healing, but learn something, damn it. You weren’t put on this mudball to be stupid. For the Heathens among us, does not the AllFather want you to learn? Look to his sacrifice and know that an extra few minutes to read about a topic, or watch a YouTube vid on how-to, isn’t that much of a hardship!
- I am blessed by having received the knowledge I have. Some of it came at greater cost than I wanted to pay, but that’s life, right? I learned skills that will stay with me for a lifetime. Some of those I have passed on to others so the knowledge stays alive, and I urge everyone to teach at least one thing to another person. Share that love. I can build fires, skin animals, butcher sufficiently to supply my family with meat, grow food, repair a couple of things here and there (though I’m better served breaking them), drive, type, spell, and nail things together in a way that makes them stay attached for a while. There’s a laundry list (yes, including laundry) of things I’ve learned to do. Some things I am better at than others, but that applies to everyone.
There are other things I could put on this list, folks, but for someone who is just trying to recognize things that are blessings in a life he often views through a very dark lens, this is a pretty impressive start.
I walked into this list with some trepidation. It was a prompt for the fiction group I’m in, and I went back and forth for a while about whether I should write about the blessings of an alien-hunting cyborg, but in the end I decided I’d just play the hand I was dealt. I suppose if it ain’t Aces and Eights, I’m doing pretty well.
With that I will sign off. May your Thanksgiving (should you celebrate/commemorate it) be wonderful, and thanks for reading this far down. It’s cool that you stuck with me!