Gratitude Rules


Thursday November 28th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

I tend to be a complainer. A bitcher. A whiner. A pisser. A moaner. Call it whatever you’d like, it can be a formula that goes over like gangbusters with a comedy audience. I can get in a groove and roll with the best of them, and when it happens there are few comedians who can touch me.

It can be a lot of fun to point out what’s not going right on any given topic, and it’s therapeutic as well. The best thing of all is that the supply of things to snivel about never gets low. There are always new targets to attack, and that means I’ll always have something to transform into jokes.

This is all convenient in a comedy context, but in real life gratitude is the magic elixir. I’m off stage a lot more than I’m on, and there’s much more time to think. There’s a mindset that sets in both with those that complain and those that are grateful, and I’m tiptoeing on that very fine line.

Unfortunately, I can’t go on stage as a comedian and brag about how fabulous my life is. Who would want to hear that? If Mr. Lucky always scored with hot babes and knew how to choose the sleeper stocks that would pay off huge returns, what would be funny about that? I’d be obsolete.

On the other hand, if I was a motivational speaker and only talked about how everything in my life was in flames and miserable, how could I get a message of hope across? I have to keep all of my thoughts in their proper order, and know where I am at any given time. Life can be complex.

Today is Thanksgiving and I wasn’t booked anywhere, so gratitude was the main course on my personal menu. It wasn’t a day to think funny, and that’s fine by me. I spend plenty of time every other day looking for faults to turn into comedy, and I’ll do it again soon. Today was for thanks.

I had so many invites to join people for dinner I lost count. That alone is extremely comforting, knowing I have so many people that cared enough to extend an invitation. I have to believe they meant it, or they wouldn’t have made a point to ask. It’s not like I was hinting that I had no place to go, or showing up at people’s houses out of the blue. These people made a point to invite me.

This year’s winner was Bill Gorgo. I love hanging out with Bill for many reasons, but he’s one of the best cooks anywhere and I’ve sampled his amazing work for years. He’s Italian, and that’s the tie breaker in any close call when it comes to food. Stereotypes wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t at least a grain of truth somewhere, and from my experience Italians are the champions of chow.

The Germans do well in the cuisine department as do Chinese and Mexicans, but Italians are in a class by themselves. Good Italian food is hard to beat, as is the company with Bill and his sister Geneva and the friends they invited. There was an Irish couple that had adopted two Guatemalan boys, and they were delightful people. They told fascinating stories of all their extensive travels.

It was relaxing to sit and listen to everyone else, and not have to be the source of entertainment all the time. I enjoyed being the audience for once, and I kept thinking of everything I have to be thankful for starting with health. Yes I had a kidney stone this year, but it’s not hurting now and I can still walk and talk and see – even if it’s with glasses. I have a lot of great friends, and I live a life a lot of people dream about. There’s plenty to go off on tomorrow, but today gratitude rules.

Every day should be Thanksgiving for all of us.

Every day should be Thanksgiving for all of us.

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