If I had a religion, Thanksgiving would be my high holy day. It’s got everything a holiday should have and nothing it shouldn’t.
Thanksgiving is the 4th of July with Turkey. It has history. Think Pilgrims and Indians sharing a feast after a bad harvest and fear of the Winter that was afoot. It’s the ultimate American holiday.
Thanksgiving is Christmas with all the joy and none of the stress. There’s no need to decorate, or spend months stressing about what gifts to buy. It’s a chance for friends and family to come together, enjoy a meal and enjoy each others company. It’s a chance to be thankful for whatever you’ve got, whether it’s a feast and fifty people to share it with or just a hot plate of food and shelter from the cold.
Thanksgiving is New Years Day without the lame-ass plans for the future. It’s a day off work. It’s got a parade, football, and booze if you plan it right.
Thanksgiving is Saint Patrick’s Day without the Irish. Again, parade (show tunes… you know what I’m talking about), football and booze. This might actually apply to few holidays, so you should assume any holiday that has parades, sports, food or alcohol is just a Thanksgiving knock-off.
So, happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the feast.
There is a hole in your heart. What? There’s an empty space inside of you that needs to be filled. What are you talking about? The empty space that must be filled leads people to religion, drugs, and a litany of other hole filling pursuits.
Here’s the problem. I don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t now have, nor have I ever had, a hole in my life, my heart or my soul needing to be filled. Does that mean I have always lived full life? Doubtful. Does it mean I don’t want for things? No. What does it mean? It means there is something wrong with everyone else. That must be it. How else could you explain a feeling of incompleteness that causes people to go to extraordinary ends to make themselves feel whole.
Oh yeah, here’s the other thing, people with the hole are never able to fill it sufficiently. They go to extremes sometimes. They become zealots or alcoholics or they have themselves physically altered to look like Angelina Jolie and they give birth to eight babies at once, and even then they still feel empty.
I think it’s the job of those of us who feel complete to take advantage of those who don’t. That’s why TV preachers say the empty space inside of you is where Jesus is supposed to be. Advertisers make their living promising to fill the hole with beer, or sex, or family game night. So if you’re feeling incomplete, contact me, and for $99.99 I will give you something to stick in your hole.
This year is the 20th anniversary of my high school graduation. Looking back twenty years, it seems my primary interest back then was trying to have sex with my female classmates. This obsession is in no way meant to convey any success in that endeavor. In fact, just to be perfectly clear, I was involuntarily sexless throughout high school. But the endless quest for sex is no doubt what makes every teenage boy wake up, go to school, get a job, drive a car and so on, and I was no different.
Twenty years later, I am older, wiser and more experienced, and I’m facing the prospect of a twenty year high school reunion. I am successful, happily married, well adjusted, and in the best physical condition of my life. And now, all these years later, I can honestly say that even if I weren’t happily married, I wouldn’t want to have sex with any of the women that I went to school with. Age has ravaged the class of ’90. When I look at the current photos on line, I sigh with relief at the bullets I dodged. I don’t see missed opportunities. I see the road not travelled and thank the photo pages on facebook for the road I’m on.
I’m not a very religious person. I was raised in the Baptist church and I’ve read the Bible, even memorized parts of it. As an adult I have waivered between belief and nonbelief for some time. I say that to say this. Years ago I spent months going to a weekly Bible study with a Pentacostal friend of mine. It was held in the home a family from his church. In the end I agreed to go to church with him. I resisted the urge to sit in the very back. I sat in the middle to try and blend in. It wasn’t my first visit to a Pentacostal church. The difference this time was that now most of the people from the church knew me, and they knew I wasn’t one of them.
I have always enjoyed the music in the Pentacostal churches. I was even okay with all the people speaking in tongues. Who am I to judge, right? But at the end of the service they always have a prolonged alter call, where throngs of people go up to the alter and cry and sing and speak in tongues. Well, this time, the alter came to me. I never left my seat in the middle of the church, but I was suddenly surrounded by people touching me and praying for me to be filled with the Holy Ghost.
I have never been more uncomfortable in my life. I couldn’t get past the touching. I am not comfortable with people touching me. I am not even very comfortable with people being really close to me. I started praying like I’d never prayed before, “Lord, I’m not a praying man, but if you get me out of this, I promise I will never come back here again.” So while they were praying for me to get saved, I was praying to get safely back to my car. I weighed the option of just throwing them all off, Hulk style, and hauling ass, but Pentacostals would consider that a challenge. I’d have ended up being exorcised in the parking lot.
I did eventually escape, saved by not getting saved. And true to my pledge, I never went back.
I have been running. A lot! Like 30 miles a week. It’s not because I’m 37 years old and beginning to feel my age, though I am. It’s not because I fear my own mortality, though I do. It’s not because I was 20 pounds overweight, though I was. It’s because I want to be able to eat whatever I want, all the time with complete disregard for the consequences.
I have the sort of personality that is prone to excess. I like to eat too much. I like to drink until I can’t walk or talk. I like to work all the time; from home, from work, from the car, days, nights, weekends.
For a long time I was obsessed with eating low carb. Eating low carb is similar to drinking too much or working too much. It’s not all fun, but it’s a means to an end. And now I’m obsessed with running. I run every day, well mostly. I have a schedule where I run every evening after work, five miles one day, three the next, then five the next, etc. Some days I run more. Some days I run less. Some times I’ll skip a day and make up the missed mileage over the next few runs.
My struggle now is that running and overeating or binge drinking don’t always go together. It’s nice to know I can eat a huge cheeseburger without worrying about the carbs or calories, but I can’t drive through and eat one on the way home because I know I’m going to run five miles when I get home. You just can’t run five miles with a belly full of cheeseburger. You also can’t run five miles drunk or even hungover for that matter. So now I find myself making choices, actual healthy choices, based on my next scheduled run.
Maybe I can become obsessed with a search for balance.