Thanksgiving

blog6pictureI know, I know, this is a post about what I’m thankful for. So why should you have to read it? Please hear me out for a hot minute, though, because I just might have something to say that will be important to you.

Now that I hopefully have your attention, I’ll attempt to turn you away as fast as possible by being slightly controversial. Well, actually my government textbook is the one being controversial, so I don’t feel so bad.

“The broadly shared political culture of Americans influences the policies adopted by the US government. Americans define their relations with one another and with political authority in terms of rights,” Tocqueville writes. “Americans are far more ardently and tenaciously attached to equality than to freedom. Though democratic communities have a taste for freedom, this freedom is hard to preserve because its excesses are immediate and obvious and its advantages are remote and uncertain. The advantages of equality, though, are readily apparent, and its costs are obscure and deferred.”

While this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for equality, I’m equally thankful for freedom, even if it is remote and uncertain. It’s hard for me to understand that I have these “things” simply because I won a veritable genetic lottery that is birth in a first world democratic nation. But I have to take it and run with it.

I guess there I go again with the long introductions leading up to a wholly anticlimactic main idea in my post. I’m thankful this Thanksgiving, and of course all of the time, that I have the freedom to buy books on Amazon and read them.

This statement seems elementary; however, it’s a testament to knowledge, technological progress, and equity. In this twenty first century world, I, as a seventeen year old, read on demand the thoughts of anyone I please nearly instantly.

I literally stumble upon almost all of the books I read, so here’s the story for how I found my latest read, When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön. My AP Literature teacher has made a few references to a book titled Things Fall Apart, so I decided to see what all the hype was about. With a quick Google search, I found the wrong novel, proceeded to read it, and loved it. It turns out that I didn’t read the book of literary merit, but I coincidentally read a book of spiritual merit.

When Things Fall Apart focuses on the idea that “when things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test of each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize.” The novel is packed with stories that, while admittedly infused with innocent Buddhist undertones, offer some real insight to life.

The author writes, “I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: ‘Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.’ Nevertheless, when the bottom falls out and we can’t find anything to grasp, it hurts a lot. It’s like the motto: ‘Love of the truth puts you on the spot.’ We might have some romantic view of what that means, but when we are nailed with the truth, we suffer. We look in the bathroom mirror, and there we are with our pimples, our aging face, our lack of kindness, our aggress and timidity—all of that stuff.”

Through the course of just over one hundred pages, she outlines the process of “getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, during these times.” This book has been a thrilling read because it has offered me ways to understand what is happening in my life. I just stumbled upon this book, and I can read it in the comfort of my own home like it is no problem, and for this I am sincerely thankful.

I hope you give this book a spin because “sometimes you just have to let everything fall apart.”

I hope that I’ve given you something interesting to think about over the Thanksgiving holiday, but before I go, I have another “something interesting” to let you ponder. Thanksgiving is the holiday of the turkey. I mean, I have one in my refrigerator as we speak, but did you know about the curse of the turkey?

The curse of the turkey is exactly as it sounds. Each year, sacrificed turkeys exact their icy revenge on the feet and pets of “many” Americans. (I say many because I’m too lazy to look up an exact number.) Let’s do a quick calculation.

The force that a frozen turkey of about 22 pounds, or about 10 kg, hits the ground, or an unfortunate foot or beloved animal, from a four-foot high countertop is 3920N or almost 882 pounds of force. I don’t think I need to say anything more, kids. Watch your turkeys, be safe, and know that I’m looking forward to the next time we can talk about stuff!

Collin Bentley, 2014 College Match applicant