Thank God that…

You ever have days where everything seems to pile on top of you at once? Your car got towed, then you got chewed out by your boss for being late, which led to you having an attitude at Starbucks and getting a double mocha iced latte poured on your head right in front of the cutie you’ve been eyeballing for a week. That sounds like an average Tuesday for me.

On days like these, it’s very easy to forget the little things that we take for granted that could possibly turn a frown upside down. Here are ten that I am thankful for.

Thank God, I don’t have smelly feet – Because the rubber and plastic burning in my chimney smell like the pits of hell. It has never been easier to be a “sneaker head” in America where new color waves, schemes, and designs seem to emerge every second. Gone are the days of simple stamp collection. Now, these hobbies can range upward of $3,000 for one special edition item.

Thank God, my allergies haven’t started yet – Because that means I have a few more days of bliss before my endless torment begins. My allergies have turned the spring seasons into the most miserable three months of the year. Instead of being able to enjoy the decadence of the spring foliage, I am ensnared with an endless cycle of Kleenex, Benadryl, and eye drops. However, going through this life-altering anguish helps me appreciate, more so than others, the other nine months out of the year. The blistering heat of the summer, the bone-chilling wind of the fall, and the frozen landscape of the winter all resonate as parts of the beautiful, enduring, sequence of nature.

 Thank God, I have a college degree – Because you can never have enough paperweights. I’m kidding, sort of. In this day and age, the impracticality that comes with the venturing off to college should at least cause any potential student to pause and reflect on their coming decision. The average student leaves college with over ten thousand dollars in debt and sometimes as high as six figures. When the realization that the prospect of getting a decent paying job is ridiculously low coupled with the thousands of similarly unemployed recent grads, the value of a college degree seems to be shrinking more than the U.S dollar. While it is becoming more of a requirement to possess one to perform even the most entry level of positions, the fact of the matter is you don’t necessarily need one to become successful. Now earning a degree has become more of a life milestone than a life changing achievement.

 Thank God, my mother hasn’t charged me rent yet – Because my section 8 has not been approved yet. Being a freeloading sack of dirty dishes and unwashed laundry is much less disheartening when your roommate has cleaned your feces daily at one point. Eventually, most people realize that they can never repay their mother’s love. In that, some may make it their life goal to become a symbol of pride for the earliest, and sometimes only, a symbol of unconditional love that few will get to experience. A mother’s love is one currency that can only be given and never repaid and a child’s aspirations would be that framed receipt.

Thank God, I started watching sports a few years ago – Because now I can hold conversations with men and pretend like I know what I’m talking about. Sports in America have become so engrained in our culture that these now gladiators of modern times take on mythic proportions. Certain idols have become so dehumanized that to speak of them must be heeded with overt caution. To understand this is to understand America,  where systems that are wildly known to be insufficiently broken are held in place by the legends wrought from idols of history. Had Benjamin Franklin played for the Boston Celtics our national flag would have been a four-leaf clover.

 Thank God for Netflix – Because chill. The phenomenon of Netflix has created an environment where conversation and social interaction have become secondary to new episodes of Bob’s Burgers. It’s used as almost an escape from the daily rigors of life as writing, music, and art once were. This now leaves us to wonder, will the following generation have only images of satires, documentaries, and dramas to look upon as our legacies.

 Thank God for the internet – Because Timmy Turner was right, everything leads back to the internet. The internet has most likely become the greatest invention of the 20th century. It has opened the world and made it smaller, and broken the boundaries of human information. We now have at our disposal, more information than millions of people could process in their entire lifetime; as well as an infinite amount of funny cat videos on YouTube.

Thank God for Marvel Comics movies – Because I needed a reason to continue to go to the movies. The film industry is constantly looking for the next compelling concept. Right now, that would be, grown men in tights. For decades, the fantasies, stories, and dramas of comics have enraptured in scoped minds. It has now become the time to bring those tales from the little page to the big screen.

 Thank God for beards – Because they catch all of the crumbs that would have otherwise fallen on my clothing. They are also a personal identifier to match a person’s personality. Like snowflakes and Olsen twins, no two beards are exactly alike and each represents different characteristics and aspects of their suitor.

 Thank God for Franklin at the tollbooth – Because I sure as hell didn’t have that one dollar and twenty-five cents to make it through the tollbooth. Sometimes it’s the simplest and smallest forms of generosity that can turn a relatively horrid day, into a special one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friends, Best Friends, Frenemies

Picture yourself conducting an interview of three potential candidates for a high-profile job. I’m talking president of Mars in significance and role. You’re eager to get the person on board your already star studded team but cautious as well; the last hire caused a catastrophe that took you months to rectify. The first candidate is pleasant; the two of you have a nice discussion about popular trends and effective remedies for blackhead removal. After they exit you feel content, “Not bad” you think to yourself. Not amazing, but definitely wouldn’t cost you to cancel your vacation for cleanup duty like the former. The second candidate arrives thirty minutes late. You were walking out the door when you happen to literally bump into to them at the threshold. From that point on they have you on an emotional roller coaster. Somehow you wind up talking about life aspirations, dreams, fears, family, the stress of the job, your failures, and how Joey Fatone of NSYNC managed to pull off being a full-grown man in a boy band.  The time flies and you lamentably have to end the interview as it has run for hours past its expiration. The two of you exchange numbers (only to be later prank called by them pretending to be a disgruntled pizza delivery driver) and part ways. You know objectively that they may not be fully qualified for the job and won’t be hired, but save their number as a potential contact anyway. The final candidate is perfect. They could do this job with their eyes closed, in fact, they make suggestions about improvements your current team needs and would prefer to work with you directly instead. They get the job on the spot, of course, but you can’t shake something trivial that happened during the interview; they didn’t shake your hand until after they were employed.

This, in reality, is the daunting task of distinguishing between friends, best friends, and frenemies. As you become older, the sandbox days of blissful, easily distinguishable friendships dissolves into a complex system of awkward social interactions. Becoming friends with someone becomes more of a trial by jury, where current friends, social interests, compatibility and general enjoyment all play a large factor. Throughout your life, friends are going to be one of the single most influential determinants to almost everything that you grow to understand, accomplish and strive for. Placing people around you that challenge you to grow and mature becomes critical to your development as a person.  The first candidate was the typical “friend” counterpart. The relationship that the two of you share is unspectacular; you rarely hang out without the company of other individuals but when you do the conversations are simple and sweet. Topics will cover the general “how are you,” “what have you been up to,” “how is (insert family/another friend) doing” etc. You only know the general basics about each other because that’s all you really need to know. Not to say that these people can’t still be a great time, actually, they’ll probably be around at most social event (to fill out the group of course). In a group of five, two or three of these members would fall into this category. Eventually, you may grow apart from them to where the occasional happenstance interaction would elicit the same “how do you do’s” that it would have prior to estrangement. This is going to happen dozens of times throughout your life and is in part to teach us how to cherish the moments that we are able to share with people while growing more prepared to let them go.

The rarest of the three categories would be similar to candidate two, the best friend. Best friends are the reason that relationships with people outside of your family are necessary and worthwhile. They can appear at any time, from any place and be any person. The connection that is formed between the two of you can last a lifetime and is impossible to fake, if it’s not there, then it’s not. Trying to force this usually leads to adverse effects that take a great deal of time and effort to overcome. But when everything’s clicking, there can be times when no one in the whole world is closer to you. It can feel like you share the same line of thought; finishing sentences and revelling in the knowledge that a simple glance can uncork thousands of secret jokes that only the two of you will understand or even care about. You can just as quickly talk about this weeks gossip as you can family issues that have been on your mind for weeks. The true beauty of a best friend is in those moments where no words even need  to be said, and the comfort of having them simply be in your presence can wash away the angst that comes with adult life. Out of a group of five friends, you’re lucky to have one. These are the diamonds in the rough that can only be found waiting at a bus stop, an off-color phone call, or laying in the crib right next to you. Having a best friend is far from easy, they can have qualities that make you question if they deserve the “human” title that they take for granted. They often know more about you than almost anybody else and that type of responsibility can be a heavy burden for anyone to handle, mistakes will happen. But true best friends are the stuff written about in fantasy books,and no matter how often they may let you down, they can always pick you up. Always.

The final candidate, the perfect match made in heaven, everything you could have ever asked for, is the nefarious “frenemy.” Like most diabolical beings, not much in known about them and what is know is often passed around to the point of mythical proportions. Do they really exist? Were we just not as close as we thought we were? Should I have seen it coming? Is it me? These are all questions that can arise after the falling out with a frenemy. In retrospect, a frenemy can often just be a best friend that has decided that the friendship was less valuable than previously regarded. They can use the information that they have accumulated against you and make your life a living nightmare if need be, depending on the depth of their insidiousness.