The Annual Flaunting of Gratitude

Sarah McMahon
4 min readNov 23, 2023

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

“What are you thankful for?” I asked Mike, my long-suffering boyfriend, who is often mistaken for my husband, not because we wear rings but because he is quite a bit older than me. “Long in the tooth,” as the horse people say. I was expecting him to say, “Oh, I’m so very grateful for you, my sweet, precious, intelligent, stunningly beautiful girlfriend.” But instead he just said, “Baby Jesus.”

Mike isn’t a radical atheist or anything, but I also know for a fact that he does not pray to the lord baby Jesus each night. It’s funny sometimes, the things other people think are funny. Just the other night, we took a sunset walk, and he guffawed out loud at a lone suitcase that sat in the alleyway, covered inconspicuously with a plastic garbage bag. Mike thought it funny but I just thought it sad.

The day before Thanksgiving is commonly known as “Blackout Wednesday” because it’s one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving Day is one of the largest days for running, thanks to our beloved Turkey Trots. Not to be blunt or anything, but what are we doing?? To quickly recap; Americans drink themselves into blackouts before arising at 6 a.m. to slog through a local 5k before gorging themselves on sleep-inducing turkey. Then on Friday, we spend frivolously because Thanksgiving is blessedly over and we can all dive into the true celebrity of holidays, Christmas. Stores have been prepping for Christmas since August and good thing, too, because rent is nearly due, and I won’t be spending a damn dollar come Black Friday.

In the spirit of my own holiday tradition, I’ve compiled my own gratitude list. The Annual Flaunting of Gratitude is not meant to rub in my own good fortune, but rather, to illustrate that even the worst of us have cause to be grateful. I have excluded the very obvious things, like my family, my friends, and my ability to breathe.

1. I’m thankful that I can pay rent in this godawful economy. Inflation is the word of the year this year, and despite the high cost of everything, I have not incurred any debt and my credit score remains stunningly high.

2. My teeth. Teeth are one of the hardest substances on earth-did you know that? I didn’t know that until very…