I’m going to blend the holidays, and make a naughty and a nice list of those things for which I’m thankful. I’ll start with the nice.
I’m thankful for inspirational teachers. Every day, some teachers devote so much time and energy to their work that they ignite a passion for learning, a curiosity or a determination in their students that has the potential to pay dividends for decades. An inspired student reflects and emanates an educational light that, in turn, can have a multiplier effect, encouraging their siblings, their friends and even their parents to learn and grow.
I’m thankful for the police who patrol our streets and who protect and serve us. They can and do tackle everything from delivering a baby on the Long Island Expressway to racing toward reports of someone with a weapon.
I’m also thankful for the firefighters, who rescue people trapped in burning buildings and who suffer through cold wind, rain and snow while doing their job.
I’m thankful for all the soldiers who, regardless of which president is in office, accept their responsibility and protect America’s interests wherever they serve.
I’m thankful for the scientists who dedicate themselves, tirelessly, to the pursuit of basic knowledge about everything from quarks and neutrinos, to the researchers who are on a mission to cure cancer, to understand autism, or to defeat fungi or viruses that threaten the quality and quantity of our lives.
I’m thankful for the sanitation workers who appear during the wee hours of the morning, clear out our garbage and move on to the next house.
I’m thankful for the First Amendment. I’m grateful that our Founding Fathers decided we have the right not to remain silent. Our constitution guarantees us the kind of free speech that allows us to express our views, even if those opinions are contrary to those of our government or our neighbors.
OK, here’s the nasty list.
I’m thankful for the Internet, which prevents anyone from being wrong about anything, ever. Well, information on the Internet may also be inaccurate, but who cares? If it’s there and we repeat it, at least we’re echoing something someone else wrote, even if that person is an 8-year-old who is just learning to type and is posting something that looks like it could be right.
I’m thankful for all those people who honk at me when I don’t hit the accelerator the moment the light turns green. They remind me I should be efficient for all of our sakes and that I could be doing something much more important, like looking up stuff on the Internet rather than sitting at a light.
I’m thankful I can roll my eyes in my head. How else could I deal with those events around me that I find insufferable, from listening to our political leaders rip into each other to engaging in arguments with people who know better and can show me all the information they use to back up their arguments on the Internet.
I’m thankful for the rain and the cold and the snow. OK, so this is in between a naughty and nice one, because I believe varied weather presents something for everyone. Sure, people don’t tend to like it when the temperature falls too far, but I enjoy the cold. Besides, the winter provides a contrast to seasonable weather.
Finally, I’m thankful for prognosticators of all types, including the recent ones who seemed so sure of themselves about the results of the election. They are a reminder that sure things don’t exist in any arena, even those with a preponderance of pontificators.