Barry Smith: Irrelativity
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
It’s Thanksgiving this week. I’ve got lots to be thankful for. And hey, guess what – I even made a list:
• I’M THANKFUL that I have friends and family that I love.
• I’M THANKFUL for my health.
• I’M THANKFUL to live in a place where I can drink tap water. Some people can’t drink their tap water without all sorts of filtration. Some people don’t even have taps, let alone potable water. At least once a day I’ll stand at the kitchen sink, fill a glass with water, drink the whole thing down and say “Wow, that was good!” Water is awesome. Thanks.
• I’M THANKFUL that lobster isn’t the traditional Thanksgiving meal. It’s impossible to make an adequate tofu substitute (Tofubster? Lobfu? Toflob?), and if you want to draw one you have to do a lot more than just trace your hand.
• I’M THANKFUL that I’ve never caught anyone letting their dog take a dump in my yard or, my personal favorite, on my walkway. I’ve cleaned up the aftermath of this way too many times. I’ve concocted an elaborate revenge scenario should I ever catch someone looking the other way while their dog is “in the act.” I’m thankful that I’ve never actually caught anyone because if I didn’t go through with my well-rehearsed scenario I’d be very disappointed in myself. And if I did go through with it, I’d be arrested.
• I’M THANKFUL that I’m not in charge of marketing at Cascadian Farm, the place that makes the box of “Honey Nut O’s” that I’m currently eating. Yes, “O’s.” With an apostrophe. And no, there shouldn’t be an apostrophe there. It’s not possessive, it’s plural – I checked the box, and there’s more than one O inside, and none of them appear to possess anything (deliciousness doesn’t count.) Plural – no apostrophe.
But if it were printed without the apostrophe it would be Honey Nut Os. Or Honey Nut O-s. Or O(s). Or “O”s. None of these look right. What the heck is an “Os?” Do I want a bowl of “Os” for breakfast? No way. I want O’s. I want the poorly punctuated breakfast cereal because it’s the only way that looks right, despite being wrong. So a balance must be struck between aesthetics and literacy, and I’m thankful that I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff. I have enough to deal with just getting the O-to-milk ratio correct.
• I’M THANKFUL that I’m not “successful” in the way that certain magazine ads depict. I’m specifically thinking about the ones where the “successful” guy is sitting out on the back deck of his very expensive lake-front vacation home doing some work on his laptop. However, because he’s actually a model, he’s sitting at this laptop in a way that’s completely unnatural, leaning on one hand with his legs off to the side in order to convey maximum leisure. I hope I never achieve this level of success – it looks like it would be really hard on the lower back.
• I’M THANKFUL that I don’t feel the need to collect action figures. Not that I have anything against them, or people who do collect them, I’m just glad that when it comes to personal urges, collecting action figures isn’t one of mine. That said, I do have a Jesus. And a Freud. And if someone offered me an original Sid Vicious I certainly wouldn’t turn it down.
• I’M THANKFUL that I had the good sense to cut the following joke from my column last week:
Q: What do you call an extinct, elephant-looking creature who gets trapped in the marshy loam while charging a windmill?
A: Mastodon Quixote.
• I’M THANKFUL that I’ve finally found an opportunity to use the word “cacosmia.” I first heard this word years ago in a medical conference and immediately added it to my “Words To Use Someday” list. It means “the imagining of unpleasant odors, particularly putrefactive odors.” I’ve never had an excuse to use it. Until now – as the final item in this “Things I’m Thankful For” list.