Count your blessings: things could be worse

We all have friends cursed with a lifelong string of bad luck. It’s the guy who loses his wallet and keys while on a date or the girl who loans her Angora sweater only to have it returned with representatives from the four major food groups. They are people who can never seem to get anything quite right. They are always a day late and a dollar short.

During the recent holiday, I had the chance to visit with an old buddy I rarely see anymore. (Even on vacations he has to put in extra long shifts at the local fast-food joint in order to pay for the ritzy school he decided to attend). We talked briefly about school, then the subject shifted to the weird combination of Thanksgiving and our mutual “tough luck” friend “Tom”.

Now “Tom” is a nice guy. He’s a former baseball, basketball, and cross-country teammate of ours. But, unfortunately, he’s a social jinx. He was the one who said “let’s hurry” the time I got my first speeding ticket. He’s also the one who created enough havoc one New Year’s Eve that it took five people (myself included) an entire day to clean up. And, most recently he destroyed another friend’s truck on a road trip to U of I. Given the chance,”Tom” would find a way to screw up a two-car funeral.

After laughing over “Tom’s” latest escapade we both agreed that the guy leads a pretty stressful life. Aside from having to worry about grades, money and the future like everyone else, he also has to contend with being a chronic screw-up.

It was agreed that that was one thing to be thankful for this holiday season—not being a total goof.

Things could be worse

That started the bal rolling for some of the other things we, as most people, take for granted every year.

My friend and I are both pretty strapped financially every semester. But we both are thankful we have jobs to help make ends meet.

My friend and I are both receiving college educations. We can name about 200 people each that we know who did not, and/or will not be that fortunate.

Other things we are now thankful for—that we took for granted were basic health, the ability to walk, talk, see, hear, think (although some professors might debate this) and feel. We are also thankful we have stable families, a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs and beer in our refrigerators.

Things could be worse.

Americans are particularly spoiled. At the mall, last weekend a kid was complaining he never got anything. His mother apparently wouldn’t get him a record he wanted. I couldn’t help noticing his designer jeans, Air Jordans and Swatch. His mother replied that money was tight. Not too tight though for her fur coat and diamond broach. Their argument indeed left me numb.

During times of trial it’s often far too easy to look at what could have happened rather than appreciate what did. For example, someone whose car breaks down on the way to work will be quick to scream an obscenity and then brood about hoe thongs “don’t go my way.” It’s easy to remember, let alone appreciate, the fact that one is fortunate to have a job and a car in the first place.

It wouldn‘ take much for people to just sit back once in a while and appreciate the things we all take for granted. Cars, TVs, good food,—even education—are things many of us take for granted. When we are born their is no piece of paper that come with us saying all these things are guarenteed.

Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to stop and appreciate what one has. That should be done every day of every year. Just living in this country alone offers a person a countless list of advantages over living somewhere else.

While in church the other day I ran into “Tom” and his family. We exchanged hellos and he asked me if I were going to be at a local bar later that evening.

“No,” I answered, wanting to play it safe. As “luck” would have it, the next day I awoke with a sore throat, headache, backache and a stiff neck.

Things could be worse.