A few days ago, I cooked up the perfect idea for a Thanksgiving Day post: “Happy Thanksgiving,” the post’s headline would read. “I’m miserable.” Maybe I would put an ironic exclamation point after “Happy Thanksgiving” or “I’m miserable,” but the sentiment would remain sincere. I hadn’t slept for a few days. I was in a mood.
The post would detail how I had taken a break from social media late last week through this past Monday, and how, when I returned, I was greeted by the following stories:
• The $2 million release of a domestic terrorist accused of—and, in some circles, celebrated for—murdering two protestors in Kenosha
• Traitorous, pathetic politicians continuing to smirk and undermine even the most basic precautions to keep COVID-19 under control in Wisconsin
Did I miss anything? The post would go on to list the many, many reasons I was miserable. I was miserable because of all of the above, of course, but I was also miserable because I had recently told my mother I wouldn’t be coming home for Thanksgiving. I was miserable because more Milwaukee businesses were closing up shop amidst a worsening pandemic. I was miserable because I felt I had done a lousy job of covering a momentous and unprecedented year. I was miserable because I was getting old. I was miserable because my mind was continuing to crack. I was miserable because, from my blinkered and darkened viewpoint, there was no end in sight.
But last night, as I sat down to write this sad-bastard post to end all sad-bastard posts, I found I couldn’t do it. Why would anyone want to read something so bleak and self-loathing on a day meant for thanks? Yes, this day may be severely nerfed by the harsh realities of 2020 (or at least it should be), but so what? People were still going to watch the Macy’s parade and eat turkey, right? Why would anyone want to dwell on all this negative garbage? Why would anyone want to write about it?
So yeah, this is a post about a post I didn’t write. (Or maybe I just did?) This morning, as I settle down to watch the Macy’s parade and eat turkey, I’m in less of a mood. All my aforementioned misery pressure points still exist, but they’re currently tempered with something approaching…hope? I don’t know. Maybe I just got a good night’s sleep.
Therefore, in the spirit of looking ahead and not dwelling on past awfulness (less of a Thanksgiving thing and more of a New Year’s thing, but cut me some slack), here are some things I’m hopeful for:
• I’m hopeful that the end is near for this pandemic. Back in March, a mere seven days into the thing, I wrote a post called “I am not handling this well.” It seems impossibly quaint now. “I am not handling this well,” I wrote. “This past week has been filled with stress, fear, anger, and exhaustion. My brain is fried. My body is in knots. What’s worse, I’m not even sure why.” Eight miserable months later, I know exactly why. Still, I’m hopeful that things will start getting better soon.
• I’m hopeful that Milwaukee businesses will pull through this mess and live to see another day/year. Hell, I’m hopeful that this Milwaukee business will pull through this mess and live to see another day/year. Please support whoever you can, however you can.
• I’m hopeful that this country can begin to heal. I bristle when I hear milquetoast politicians call for “unity” amidst overwhelming hate and mean-spirited contrarian division, but I suppose hope for unity is something most of us can agree on. As for me, I plan to do my part by watching my language on these digital pages, and referring to, say, traitorous and pathetic politicians as “traitorous and pathetic politicians” and not “festering piles of dogsh*t.”
• I’m hopeful that the summer’s deafening cries for racial justice lead to something tangible and good. I am absolutely not in a position to judge the movement’s “success” or “failure,” but I hope it has made an impact. At the very least, it has opened my eyes and ears to pain I had never previously considered. I feel humbled, and for that I am thankful.
• I’m hopeful that I’ll always remember how good I have it, and how I benefit from privilege both checked and unchecked. I am lucky beyond words. I am healthy. I am clothed, fed, and sheltered. I have a loving and supportive family. I have the best business partner a dope like me could ask for. (And don’t get me started on the ad genius who doubles as a chronicler of Gatorade displays.) And speaking of that…
• I’m hopeful that this post finds you well, Milwaukee Record readers. I’m hopeful that you’re getting through this year. I’m hopeful that you’ll thrive next year. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your many years of support. Knowing that even one person reads and connects with something we do—especially something so nakedly personal and potentially humiliating like this—means the world to us. Knowing that thousands read and connect with something we do is a feeling I can’t adequately describe. Thank you.
So that’s it. Enjoy the Macy’s parade and enjoy the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving. Stay safe. Stay hopeful.