This is one doozy of a weekend we’ve got ahead of us, folks.
It’s turkeyfest time, but likely lesser known, it is also World Mental Health day on Sunday.
Coincidence? Yes. But terribly convenient for the thesis of a comedy op-ed.
Forgetting the colonial hangups and problematic tropes of this fall holiday, the core message of Thanksgiving — literally, giving thanks — still has some truck with me.
For my family, it was always just a time to eat my mom and sister’s delicious food, along with my brother’s epic baking. My father, brother-in-law, and I, the culinarily inept members of the family, were happy to be treated like decadent Jabba the Hutts. For the bounty we received (the food one, not the Han Solo one; I’m out of the Jabba metaphor now), we were very grateful.
But as the ol’ song goes, don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone?
With COVID-19, I won’t be seeing my family, or much of anyone, this year. And I don’t think I appreciated how much that can mean until now.
Oh sure, I did get to see my family for my dad’s birthday. And it’s been over a year now. You’d think by now I’d be used to it.
Even so, I’ve become more grateful for the times I had, and am ever-more-hopeful for the times that are hopefully ahead.
But I get that it can be hard to see hope right now. I get that platitudes about taking stock of the good things in life, “being thankful” for what we have, grinning despite this incredibly sucky time in history in an incredibly sucky world… It’s a bit much to ask.
I think we ought to try, though, if for no other reason than an overabundance of melancholy cynicism and a shortage of compassion, empathy and kindness seems like a bad way to get ourselves out of this mess.
See, I think that kind of pessimism, the kind that punishes even attempts at hope, is paralyzing. Enjoy nothing. Be thankful for nothing. Be angry at everything, all the time. Is that really how we want to rebuild a better world?
So, I put it to you to at least make the effort. Here, I’ll start us off.
I am thankful for…
If you aren’t a regular Ford on Friday reader, let me please introduce you to Bailey.
This magical creature is the legendary pitbull-corgi of Victoria, a beast of plenty who brings joy and delight in her wake. If you’re ever interested in meeting her, she can occasionally be seen along Dallas Road once in a blue moon or so.
When you really stop and think about it, we live in absolute paradise. I cringe my half-white ass inside-out that we are sitting on stolen land that rightfully belongs to the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, but I hope I can at least offer up that I take that privilege seriously and am devoted to preserving the environment and natural beauty this wondrous land offers.
We. Are. Lucky. Here.
I have gotten to write about one-star reviews in Victoria, a seagull crapping on me, the time I found Roger the Marmot, and more. I’m not going to lie: when I started this and attached my email address at the end of each piece, I thought for sure I’d be getting non-stop hate mail.
Only two emails have ever been cruel to me. Other than that, people have written in with incredibly kind feedback, or, at worst, constructive criticism that I have taken to heart. You guys are amazing. Thank you.
Can you believe this? I can’t.
Seriously, you guys, back in Calgary I was barely capable of maintaining a snake plant, and those things are supposed to be more unkillable than Rasputin on Coke. But out here, I’ve got a wicked little garden going, and I am so dang proud of these tomatoes I practically set up college funds for them. God-dang.
Listen, I know things are tough out there. I consider myself privileged, even as I’m still hacking away at personal debt amassed during my unemployed COVID time, and I barely make $30K a year in a city where rent is ballooning out of control. But I know there are people reading this who have it harder than me, and who will have a hard time even making a short list like this of things to be grateful for.
But I want you to try, not because I believe in empty ideas of positive thinking for mental health, but because I want you to be here, in this life. I want you to stay in it, engaged and looking for things to celebrate, or thinking of the things that would make the world more hopeful. We spend so much time right now focussing on what’s wrong, I worry that we won’t ever think of what can be good.
And that would be a shame, because there are good things out there worth fighting for, making change for, and being thankful for. You remember those, cause each day in this life is another chance they could come your way.
Welcome to Ford on Fridays: a weekly column where Victoria Buzz staff writer Tim Ford offers his thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of the perfect joke.
This column is for comedic purposes only. Please feel free to send feedback, thoughts, and [constructive] criticisms to email@example.com.