Belly Full O’ Turkey and a Break in Sight

This Thanksgiving, as I was thinking up my list of what I’m grateful for this year, I came up with a few items not worthy of the awe-inducing round table at the official family dinner. Sure, I’m always grateful for friends, family, health and happiness… but where’s the fun in saying that for 25 consecutive years? If I’m going to be real, these are the things I am truly grateful for this year:

Facebook chat (and its seductive “offline” option)

This was the year I will intimately recall the year most of my friends got the hell out of dodge. Everyone graduated and relocated to faraway lands like California, New York, Spain and Japan. I was the chump left in the dust to enroll in graduate school and spend Saturday nights writing research papers. That doesn’t make me sound bitter, does it? Luckily, Facebook has been around to keep me connected with the friends that moved away, and has allowed for many a fun night of chatting, photo-sharing and consequent walks down memory lane.

However, as a graduate student, my time spent online these days is about 10% social, 5% shopping, 2.5% watching mindless YouTube clips, and 235% research and writing. That said, as much as I love my friends, I love the option of going “offline” to an equal degree. When I forget to go offline, I’m often interrupted into procrastination by messages from friends and family. Believe me…as much as I’d rather reminisce about our 3 A.M. road trip to Port Aransas in 2006, I really need to get my paper done!

Charlie Sheenisms

Oh, Charlie. Never before has such a colossal train wreck provided me with so many useful catchphrases. I can’t even count the number of things I was “winning” at this year, or the amount of “Tiger Blood” and “Adonis DNA” that fueled many passionate debates. Charlie exposed me to magic that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise in my boring, normal life. He helped me to “park my nonsense” and realize that I, too, have poetry in my fingertips.  

Sure, he was obnoxious, but the guy sure knows how to coin a catchphrase!  And all kidding aside, his inebriated mutterings allowed him to set the Guinness World Records for the “fastest time taken to reach 1 million followers on Twitter,” gaining nearly 130,000 followers per day, and also for the “Highest paid TV actor per episode – $125 million” before he was fired from Two and a Half Men. Then, he took his show on the road and tickets sold out in less than 18 minutes. The man may be an idiot, but he’s a rich idiot who knows how to make the press work for him. And he knows how to say ridiculous things that provided hours of entertainment for my friends and classmates.

The YouTube Clips I Played on Repeat

That 2.5% of time mentioned above for watching mindless YouTube clips was probably a bit understated. There are few things in this world I love more than cell-phone-captured video clips of grown men sliding off of roofs and missing their kiddie pool mark, or other grown men providing voiceovers for cats playing pattycake. Little else gives me the kind of pleasure that videos of drunk babies do. Try them out for yourself. I dare you not to smile.

All humor aside, Thanksgiving is really one of the few days of the year that forces me to sit still and think about what I have going on in my life. It’s easy to let school and work keep you down, so it’s important to have days like these to really help put everything into perspective. After all, I’ll be graduating in May and possibly moving off to faraway lands myself.

So to my fellow Mayborn-ers and grad students alike: At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, you really have to slow down and take it all in stride. Who knows? Ten years from now you could look back at this time and really cherish the chance you had to learn. You might even be grateful for the professors who gave you 40+ hours of homework per week? Or not. Either way, keep your chin up and remember that instead of floating in the widespread limbo between graduation and employment, we’re putting our time to good use. With our bellies full and Christmas break in sight, let us carry onward!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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