Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I know, you're coming here to read about games (that, or you're entertained by the hijinks of my teenagers). But today, I have something else to share, something that isn't games. It's about...

Yeah, Thanksgiving.

I'm not usually the kind of guy who bothers to follow the crowd with some big holiday cheer announcement. And given how much I despise the Christmas season (I love the actual day, but the season pisses me off - some people would go back in time and kill Hitler, but I would kill Bing Crosby), it may seem a little odd that I would make a special note about this particular holiday, especially since it is almost entirely an artificial holiday.

But I was thinking today, and we're some lucky sons of bitches (and daughters, too - I hate to alienate any female readers who either have no finer sensibilities or who clicked the wrong link and are even now wondering why they haven't closed their browsers and rushed to an eye-cleaning station). If you play games at all, if you hook up with friends or family to enjoy the odd hobby game, or even if you just buy them and put them in your closet, then you are one lucky bastard (unless, like I said, you're a girl. Then you're a lucky something else).

There are literally billions of people in the world (not that you needed me to tell you that), and an immense number of them are hungry today. A staggering number of people will die today, away from their families, left for dead or shot to death or maimed or just dying from dysentery brought on by dirty water and spoiled food. There are mothers missing their kids. There husbands mourning their wives. Today, all over the globe, people are miserable.

But not us. We're sitting here at our computers, surfing the net and checking our email, trying to decide on one more game to add to a stack of games so ponderous that we could sell them all and fund an entire Mexican town for a month. We are thinking about our turkeys, our lasagnas, our steaks. We have so much that we can't even decide how to spend it all. If there has ever been a point where you had to decide between the most recent expansion for Arkham Horror or a used copy of Railroad Tycoon, then you have it damned good.

If you're an American citizen enjoying this site from the comfort of home, then we have even more reasons to be thankful. Because right now, some 20,000 or so of your fellow Americans are on the other side of the globe, in some Godforsaken third-world country, holed up in a tent in the middle of the desert or a cave in a mountainside or some other miserable, rat-infested turdhole, looking forward to wearing body armor while they eat dry-ass turkey and canned cranberries provided by the USO (I was military - even when we got good food, we didn't get good food). And for a lot of those gutsy men and women out there putting their ass on the line so we don't have to, they're grateful for what they have. You should be, too.

And even within the borders of our nation, thousands are going hungry, or enjoying their Thanksgiving feast at a homeless shelter where they're trying to explain to their kids why they had to sell their Hannah Montana bed set along with the house when Daddy lost his job and they had to move into their station wagon. Today, somewhere, there are people hurting, real bad. They're getting kicked out of hospitals because they don't have insurance. They're getting foreclosed because they don't have a job. They're losing their cars, their life savings, and everything they've worked for years to protect. And yet lots of those people, sitting around a cafeteria table and eating Thanksgiving dinner off a plastic tray while surrounded by crazy people who wet themselves and talk to their food, lots of those people are intensely grateful, too. You should be, too.

My point here is not to make you feel bad. I sure as hell don't feel bad. I feel lucky, and humble, and awed by my good fortune - but I don't feel guilty. I've worked for what I have, and while I grant you that I had opportunities others did not, I didn't get here by accident. If you have the money to spend on games, chances are good that you didn't get there because of some random fluke. You may have had chances other people didn't get, and you may have been passed over by the Recession Fairy sprinkling layoff dust all over the country, but just because you got lucky doesn't mean you didn't bust your ass. You shouldn't feel bad for your success, unless you're a giant bag of crap, in which case, go ahead, feel bad.

No, what I want, for myself and for anyone reading this, is to think about what you've got and be grateful for it. If you're usually grumbling about your crappy job and your dirty apartment and your complaining family, give it a rest, just for a day. Today, thank whatever deity you worship for the job that lets you buy a meal, and the apartment that keeps the cold out, and the family who loves you even if they can't stand you. The next time you want to bitch about how lousy you have it, when you see your neighbor driving a better car and you're still driving your '97 Honda POS, be grateful. Change the way you see the world, acknowledge how good you've got it, and quit your bitching. You've got it good.

Now go eat some turkey, and have a good Thanksgiving.

3 comments:

Hanamigi said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you :D

Anonymous said...

Amen Brother!

Yep it is great day, I got to hike in my giant botanical garden with my volunteer/friends , climb a couple of giant fig trees ( like swiss family robinson trees - the one is over 100 ft. across ), play games behind our gift shop and still work and sell lots of stuff to the tourists, ate way to much and did not have to prepare or clean up the meal at all and come home to a big house that I am truly blessed to have since it is paid for and less then 6 months after it was completed - Yep Life is better then good I tell you.

Of course I do not have any turkey for sandwiches today, but I think I can live with that, :)!

Hendal

Jason Smith said...

Matt,

Thanks for the Thanksgiving thoughts. You are right. We do GAMES for a living. Life is good. I feel that in my heart. We should always remember it, and your essay helped me do just that.

From all of us over here at Dogstar Games, we thank you for playing and reviewing the games, and for keeping us smiling.