Last week, I took this site and wrote what I considered to be a well-reasoned and thoughtful essays about reasons to stay home and make a smaller and more low-key Thanksgiving. It was not well received.

Often, to promote these posts, I post the article in community Facebook groups, and one particular group did not enjoy the piece (or, perhaps the concept of the piece) at all. I was told to suck it on several occasions, and was also referred to as a “loser”, “sad” and a “beta cuck”. If I didn’t know any better, I would think those people were TRYING to hurt my feelings.

Look, these are complicated times and people have to make their own decisions. Last week, I made the difficult choice to not spend tomorrow with my sister and my mom and that fucking sucked. The weekend after Thanksgiving has always been the weekend when my entire family converges and we celebrate our Christmas together. It’s just easier this way because we’re spread out over three states and we all have our own different plans when the holiday actually comes around. So, we ring bells for the Salvation Army and have pizza and a gift exchange and it’s a really wonderful time. Family is very important to me.

A few years ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and had to have surgery and there’s a whole lot of bad stuff there that never got better. But, what I always will remember was after the surgery, he and my mom came to visit my wife (then girlfriend) and I at our house for Thanksgiving. He was charming and funny and it was an amazing day. It’s something I always think about and will always hold close to my heart. He would pass on the next summer and I miss him every day. The point being, not being around my family this holiday weekend is going to be really hard for me.

That being said, while I still am a believer in staying home for a small, safer gathering this year and not watching either of the first two NFL games (which look to be unbearable to watch), I am always in the mood for giving thanks and being grateful. So, allow me to do a little of that right now.

First off, while this year has been a goddamned trashfire, it’s weirdly been a kind of kick-ass year for the Drufke family. I am extremely thankful for my wife (who I have said before on this site is my better in every single possible way), my smart and funny 16-year old son, and my new wonderful four-month old miracle baby. It’s hard not to look at these people and feel a great amount of joy.

I’m thankful to be part of a wonderful community of comedians from the Chicago suburbs. We’ll not be having our annual holiday party/ridiculous awards show this year, and that is another reason that this year sucks because I look pretty fucking great in a black suit. So many of my comedy peers are caring and kind and so fucking funny. I’m thankful to run a wonderful show in Aurora with some of the most wonderful people in the scene, and we’re thankful that we get the best comedians in Chicago to come and grace our stage and make people laugh.

I’m thankful for social media. Look, it’s so easy to be bitter at Facebook and Twitter. I get it. Sometimes, those sites suuuuuck. But it’s been the only way to keep in touch with all of these people I haven’t seen since fucking March.

Lastly, I’m very grateful for this site. For Brandon, the chief architect of this place whose writing is always a pure blessing to read. For Jack, who always goes along with my dumb ideas. For Michael, whose brain works in ways they absolutely shouldn’t. For Rick, who just knows how to turn a phrase so splendidly. To all of the other authors who have trusted us with their art (yeah, I’m calling it art!), I’m even grateful for the site a bunch of us were writing at before this one, as it allowed us to be here. I’ve written over 90 essays and reviews for this site, and I’m so thankful to be given the outlet to do so.

This last week, my anxiety has been sky-high and I’ve found myself crying. A lot. And that’s ok. We all have to get through these times using whatever tools we have. I’m not going to apologize for having emotions and I’m going to try to understand when people have different coping mechanisms than mine.

Let’s all take a little time to think about the things we’re grateful for. We may not all be together this holiday, but we can all still share our love and smiles and gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Thanks for reading.

One thought on “Thankful.

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