It's that season, and God knows there's no avoiding it. So, what the hell. 15 things for which I am grateful. In no particular order:
1) I'm no longer looking at size 44's like I was ten years go. Or 42's. I'm mostly out of 40's and into 38's. I could conceivably hit 36's some day, but to reach 34's I'd have to have a hipbone removed.
2) I actually like my editor at Harper. I mean, really, not that phony bullshit you have to say in order to keep the wheels greased. He makes my writing better. If you understand my surprise, you're probably a writer.
3) My kids. Yes, they are irritating. (Sweet lord, you have no idea.) But they're kind of interesting, too. My son, the difficult but rather witty uber-geek. My daughter, the first person in our family to actually possess that elusive thing called, "Cool." During the occasional breaks in the shouting and threatening and forbidding and punishing and sibling-on-sibling violence, they're actually okay.
4) Jet Blue. Rage-free air travel. In coach! Imagine.
5) My job. I work for three or four hours a day. Sitting on my porch. With no boss, no one telling me what to do. I get paid to sit there, drink coffee, smoke Macanudos, and make up stories to scare children. How is that not a great job?
6) It's an election year! Yay!
7) Pharmaceuticals. Ambien. Zocor. Advil. And all the rest. Aren't they great? Come on, give it up for Big Pharma. Come on. No? Okay, fine. Be that way.
8) TV. No, I don't mean just PBS. Or just HBO. I mean actual TV. I love TV. And I don't care who knows it. House. South Park. Jon Stewart. Scrubs. 30 Rock. Grey's Anatomy. MSNBC. Kitchen Nightmares. Brotherhood. The Simpsons. Las Vegas. That's right, I realize it's crap, but I like Las Vegas, and I don't care who knows it!
9) Showers. God almighty, is there anything better than a pounding, steaming hot, 20 minute shower? Or even its more ecologically responsible version, the dribbling ten minute shower? (Thanks, Al Gore. Thanks a lot.)
10) RealClearPolitics. First I check my blogbuds, then I go to RCP. I read the various links. I obsess over the poll numbers. Hmmm, Giuliani fading in Iowa . . . Clinton strong in Florida . . . Obama . . . Huckabee . . . this state, that poll, this trend, that outlier. Kind of sad, really, isn't it?
11) Coffee, in virtually any form. But not flavored. Flavored coffee is heresy. Flavored coffee is a stench in the nostrils of the Lord.
12) Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. They've made this country safe for my ilk. No more sneaking around to attend secret meetings of the worldwide atheist conspiracy, there to plot our unrelenting attacks on Christmas, Motherhood and Country Music. Now we can be arrogant and condescending right out in the open.
13) Tolerable family restaurants: P.F. Chang's, Firebirds, California Pizza Kitchen. Not exactly haute cuisine, but when certain members of the family are likely to stab each other with chopsticks, you're not really worrying about fresh, local ingredients, you're hoping for enough background noise to camouflage the screams.
14) Single malt Scotch. Also small batch Bourbon.
15) My lovely, ridiculously talented, funny and tough-minded wife. (Even though she occasionally drives me to #14, above.) Twenty-eight years together, more than half my life. Way too much of her life, poor woman. (Just got a starred review for her picture book from Booklist.)