1 - My wonderful relatives and friends.
2 - The ability to use this space as a device for copping out.
During the 6+ year run of this blog, I have had many wonderful people leave comments, or send me e-mail, or even write me via old-fashioned snail mail; send me nice little gifts, or, in some instances, send me rather large and expensive gifts; favor me with artwork of their own invention, including photos, drawings, and original musical recordings; contribute to causes I asked them to contribute to, with some going to considerable expense in doing so; and otherwise make my life a joy by going out of their way to do nice things for me.
In return, I have been a slug.
Not always, of course. It's possible you may be in possession of an actual writing of some sort from me, wherein I said "Thanks!" for whatever it was you did. If so, lucky you! However, if I have NOT thanked you for some kind deed you've done for me, I have been the aforementioned slimy creature from the garden. Please let me take this opportunity to assure you that I have not only received whatever it was you sent, but I have reveled in it.
I mean it. There has not been a comment, letter, gift, kindness, or other good deed done, that hasn't made me smile. I live for that stuff, and if you've contributed to the great pile of it, I adore you.
3 - I have my health. At least, my spleen appears to be working rather well.
4 - Really, I always fully intend to reply to everyone who comments or otherwise writes in response to something I've written, but sometimes I have something else come up and I forget. That's not a good excuse, but it's the only one I have at the moment. And I hope, if you've ever felt slighted in any way by my lack of reply, that you'll accept this as an apology and forgive me.
Of course, the possibility exists that I pissed you off so much by not replying to your heartfelt message that you stopped reading me ages ago and, if so, you aren't seeing this at all and I'm wasting my time writing it. Oh, well. I deserve to have my time wasted if I received something wonderful from someone and I didn't thank that person.
5 - Thus far, I have not been trod upon by an elephant.
6 - You see, sometimes I just plain lose an e-mail, or misplace an address, or otherwise lose the ability to give thanks in return for your kindnesses. And I really feel bad about it, too. Another thing to consider is that I have an actual full time job and I have to at least appear to be doing it full time or else I won't get paid, so I can't spend all day at work (since I don't have internet at home) replying to every damn thing that comes to me via e-mail.
(Well, I don't mean "DAMN thing that comes to me via e-mail", as though you've ruined my day by writing to me. I like the stuff, but... ah, you know what I mean. Let's drop it.)
7 - Since I'm bald, I'm the first one to know when it's raining. Or when someone is spitting on me. On the other hand, I wasn't born a salamander, so there's that.
8 - It just now occurs to me that if I had spent as much time searching for your lost e-mails or letters as I'm spending in writing this tripe, I probably could have saved both of us some time and actually said a proper thanks to you. This thought probably occurred to you, too, but you were just oh-so-polite, in that way you are, and decided not to say anything, so you just let me go on and on and on making a fool of myself.
9 - My socks only have a few holes in them, and as long as I line them up to miss the holes in my shoes, it's not too bad when it rains.
10 - I've got to be honest here and tell you that it really cheeses me off the way you just sat there and let me continue making an ass of myself, OK? You could have stepped in at any time and said, "Jim, it's no trouble at all!", but instead I've been blathering for ten minutes without a single peep out of you. What the hell.
11 - My eyeballs aren't currently bleeding.
12 - You know, you've really got a nerve. Just because you mailed me a fruitcake, or played a few bars on a song I wrote, or sent me nude photos of yourself, you think I've got nothing better to do than thank you for making me fat and horny!
13 - Judas Iscariot on a rocket-powered skateboard! Yes, YOU made me fat and horny! It wasn't my fault! The crappy bass playing was my fault, I admit that, but a real friend would have told me how shitty I played and kept me from disgracing myself in public, you asswipe!
14 - Oh, really?!? Well, I'd like to see you try it, you sorry sack of shit! I didn't get to be this old and decrepit by letting half-witted dopes like you get the better of me!
15 - Warm fluffy kittens who cuddle with you on a cold winter night.
16 - ... and if you don't like it, you can shove it up your big fat ass! Like I need this crap. Just because I won't get down on bended knee, worshiping the ground you walk on, while spouting effusive gratitude for your favors, you think you can walk all over me? Well, let me tell you something, bub: It's a free country, I pay most of my taxes, and I don't have to take this shit from the likes of you!
17 - I'm even thankful for the folks who will have read only the first few lines of this, scrolled down to the end while thinking it was a straight-ahead post about being thankful for the mundane things in life, and who then left a comment along the lines of "Oh, how sweet! Your poops must be made of sunshine and rainbows!" They mean well, even if they're morons.
18 - So take your fruitcakes, guitar solos, nude photos, Thanksgiving Comes First blogs, letters to my Cousin Dorothy, well wishes for my softball teams, and congratulations on being published in a major metropolitan newspaper, and put them where the sun don't shine, you fu... you... uh...
19 - Well, now that I think of it, you have been pretty nice and I have been a slug. So, in conclusion, let me say thank you, and rest assured that I love my life, I love you, I love God, and I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth. My life couldn't possibly be more blessed!!!
Soon, with more better stuff.