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Last week I mentioned gratitude in general, and in particular counting the good things that have been happening amid all the muck.

This week, the last Sunday before Thanksgiving, I'm offering a few specific things for which we can be grateful.

Besides the obvious (the election, for all its messiness, is behind us; the next presidential election is four years away; 2020 is almost 2021; two promising covid-19 vaccines have appeared on the horizon; bathroom tissue can, for now, still be found on the store shelves), allow your heart to be awash with gratitude over the following:

◼️ That (as heard on at least one news show), you've got the perfect excuse for avoiding holiday gatherings with those tough-to-get-along-with relatives.

◼️ That, since you won't be at that family gathering, you don't have to worry about politics rearing its ugly head in the conversation.

◼️ That if you do go visit relatives for the holidays, you now have permission from the experts to "cheap out" and drive instead of fly.

◼️ And, that stopping to go to the convenience-store bathroom during a road trip really is more desirable and less disruptive to you and others than going to the bathroom on an airplane.

◼️ That you don't have a job that can get you death threats, like that of a Facebook fact-checker or a vote counter, or ... wait.

◼️ That you've got more time to work on that beach-vacation body.

◼️ That masks, annoying as they may be to wear, do serve as instant dental work!

◼️ That even though you may feel guilty about squandering any free time foisted upon you this year, you need not feel guilty that you didn't use that free time to build a Disneyland roller coaster in your parents' backyard.

◼️ That you didn't have a son who felt the urge to diss your backyard thusly.

◼️ That, what with "stay at home" suggestions and money not growing on trees, there's such a thing as a streaming stick. Dre and I were recently introduced to the Roku streaming stick (for a one-time price of $39) and are still learning our way around the thing. It turned our "dumb" secondary TV into a smart TV, thanks to wireless internet and a high definition multimedia interface cable outlet. It has taken us down a wondrous rabbit hole of channels, and channels-within-channels, we'd never heard of before. It offers premium-channel options, but the free options seem to surpass the quantity of what one gets with basic cable, and darn-near the quality. Now we're back to being able to quip that we have all these channels and nothing to watch! (More later.)

◼️ That there are "old TV show channels" available (especially if you own a streaming stick) that help you to avoid seeing all the new-TV-show episodes that want to make you relive those "early" days of covid-19.

◼️ That if you get really bored this Thanksgiving weekend, you can always invent such games as "Count the Robocallers" or "Count the Too Good to Be True Ads that Come Up on Your Social Media Feed."

◼️ That you've saved money you otherwise might have blown under nonpandemic conditions.

◼️ And you can save more money when it comes to coordinating pajama sets for the family Christmas photo — just mix and match y'all's work/study-from-home clothing!

◼️ That if you do have a few extra bucks thanks to the lack of opportunities to blow money, you're in a position to bless somebody whose finances suffered due to the pandemic.

◼️ The fact that in all this craziness, some things haven't been upended. Like, heh, celebrity news.

◼️ That you're not a crook with weirdly misguided priorities and/or poor planning skills ... such as that woman in Georgia who recently went to jail for pretending to be an FBI agent just to get a free meal at a fast-food place (Really? You were going to go to jail anyway; why not the swank French place?). Or the Einstein who recently sawed down, and stole, a rare tree in Madison, Wis. (OK, you separated it from its roots. You gonna hold the dying tree for ransom?) Or the animal-loving genius who last month stole live penguins that he didn't bother to take proper care of before selling them to an animal collector who called a veterinarian — and police — because of the penguins' poor physical condition.

◼️ That Dolly Parton is America's New Mom after her "Today" show appearance last Sunday. Parton opined that America's become divided "'cause people just seem to love to hate" — and reminded us of the upcoming Christmas season along with the need to "carry that Christmas spirit of peace on Earth, and loving one another ... into the new year." Whew. Mike drop.

◼️ Seriously ... the elimination of the need to fight folks for "merch" the day after Thanksgiving.

Thank heaven there's still email!


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