‘Brace yourself for some bad news,” I told her. “I’m dying.” She didn’t look up from her screen. “We might not share the same definition of ‘bad news.’ ”
“No, really,” I insisted. “I’m dying. Probably Ebola. Caught it on the plane last week.”
“They don’t have Ebola in Toronto,” she replied. “You have a common cold.”
No, nothing that feels this bad could be a common cold. Sandpaper throat. Tear-gas eyes. A headache so splitting it should be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. I’d be lying on the couch, moaning in harmony with the dog, except the dog is dead. Lucky dog.
This can only mean one thing: God hates me. On Thanksgiving.
I try not to be bitter about this, as Thanksgiving is the one time of year when I make a point of counting my blessings. And, although my latest accounting shows me to have three fewer blessings than I know I deserve — our dishwasher is broken, the Canucks suck and I’m still saddled with a tiny 42-inch television, just like the pioneers — I have decided to be uncomplaining and humble. I’m kind of awesome that way.
With that in mind, here are some things for which I am grateful today.
• I am grateful for Thanksgiving dinner: Heaps of turkey, mounds of stuffing and mashed-potato mountains dotted with lakes of butter and rivers of rich gravy
• I am grateful for Pepto Bismol. And defibrillator paddles.
• I am thankful that, Ebola aside, I am in good health. I still have the eyes of a hawk. And the gall bladder of a grizzly. They’re for sale on eBay.
• I am grateful for cold medication that does not make you drowzzzzzzzzzzz….
• I am thankful for the inspiration provided by the runners in this morning’s marathon, half-marathon and 8K races in Victoria. I am even more grateful to be among the 365,000 people being inspired, not the 8,000 who are doing the inspiring.
• I am grateful to reside in a city that’s such a great place to be that no one can afford to live here. Any more attractive and it will become a ghost town.
• I am grateful that someone with a quirky sense of humour scheduled the Oct. 20 civic elections for three days after the legalization of marijuana. So is mayor-in-waiting Seth Rogen.
• I am grateful that I am not the buyer who paid $1.4 million US for a piece by anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy on Friday, only to see it self-destruct moments after auction.
• Speaking of self-destruction, I am grateful I don’t live in Trumpistan.
• But I will complain about Canada anyway, because that’s what we do in the Great Whine North.
That is, Canada ranks fifth in the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s latest Better Life Index, which rates countries on everything from disposable income to housing.
The Reputation Institute, which measures how nations are viewed by others, places us seventh. We are eighth on the British Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index, which uses such indicators as health, personal freedom, education and safety. The United Nations’ 2018 Human Development Index ranks Canada the 12th best country on Earth.
Now, 12th place might be fine for those countries where they’re just happy to make the playoffs, where terms such as freedom and second helping and rescue dog and bike lane crisis are rarely heard, but in a perennial cup contender like Canada — the New York Yankees of nationhood — we have higher expectations, assume certain benefits (out-of-season produce in the grocery stores, Bluetooth dog collars, the latest iWhatever, the right to go off our nuts when the Wi-Fi is slow) as our birthright. Really, God is going to have to do better if He wants to reassure us that He loves us more than less-deserving people.
• I am thankful that should life in 12th-place Canada grow too disillusioning, I am free to move to war-torn Yemen, which ranked 178th on the Human Development Index, 12 spots from the bottom.
• As always, I am grateful for my raging sense of entitlement, without which I would have no sense at all.