Tonawanda News

November 21, 2012

DUVALL: The annual un-Thanksgiving list

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — It’s time to resurrect a Thanksgiving-week tradition!

There are lots of places you can go for schmaltzy what-I’m-thankful-for lists. We all love freedom and turkey and really cheap TVs. But we’re well past the stage of making turkeys out of construction paper handprints, so that stuff is a little, well, dumb.

In the great and grand tradition of curmudgeon-dom, I offer you my annual abridged un-Thanksgiving list:

• I am completely unthankful for Facebook. I would quit the ubiquitous social medium were it not for the fact that I’d be cast off as a social pariah. 

Of course, I use it all the time and it makes life easier. But the price of that convenience is high: All the banality. That, and it devalues actual interpersonal communication. Why do I need to talk to a friend when I know what they had for breakfast? I certainly don’t need to ask how their children or boss are doing. And god knows I don’t have to ask their feelings on the election.

Such perfunctory communication lulls us into a sense of genuine connection when really all we have is frivolity. What about all those serious things people (most people, that is) never post on Facebook?

But thankfully I know what song they’re listening to on Spotify. That’s a decent substitute for a real relationship with someone, right?

• I’m unthankful the election is over. Now I have to think of actual column topics, not just bag on Mitt Romney. 

It’s low-hanging fruit, a real peach ready to be picked and suckled for 700 words whenever I needed them for almost two years. I know I should be better than that. But Romney just made it so easy!

Bring back Bain! What about the height of trees in Michigan! Car elevators! Dressage horses! Seamus on the roof of the car! The 47 percent!

It’s enough column fodder to almost make me wish he’d won.

• I’m unthankful for cable news stations already predicting what Obama’s win means for Hillary in 2016. As Charlie Brown would say, “Good Grief!” 

Not two hours after Obama was proclaimed the winner, a panel of “experts” on CNN were speculating about 2016. 

We just got done with one of these things. Can’t we wait two hours before we start talking irresponsibly about the next one, which isn’t for another four years?

If that’s your idea of political commentary just shut up.

• I am, again, unthankful for the Buffalo Bills, a perennial un-Thanksgiving listee.

I love them. They’re my team through thick and thin.

And I’ll be sending them the medical bills when I finally snap and require a spell in the loony bin because I can’t stop screaming at the TV on Sunday afternoons.

• I’m unthankful I’ll be turning 30 in just a few short weeks. Though on the upside, I might pick up yardage on the age front. The growing patches of gray hair at my temples usually lead people to guess I’m older than 30 already. If that’s the case, I figure reminding everyone of my actual age can’t hurt.

• Riffing off that, I’m also unthankful I’ll need to renew my driver’s license, though the picture on it was taken when I was 18 and sorely needs to be replaced. Come to think of it, I should probably replace the photo accompanying this column. It’s now an astonishing five years old and the aforementioned gray hair is much more prominent than when I first took this job.

Coincidence? Doubtful.

• I am completely unthankful for the “fiscal cliff.” If you haven’t read it a thousand times already, it’s the Washington-coined term for the pending tax increases and spending cuts going into effect at year’s end unless Congress and President Barack Obama do something to prevent it, which is about as likely as the Hatfields and McCoys breaking bread together Thursday.

But politics aside, my main gripe is with the actual term “fiscal cliff.” It conjures up images of Obama and House Speaker John Boehner speeding down a desert road in a top-down convertible, holding hands ala Thelma and Louise. 

First, this is a serious matter. Couldn’t we find a less childish way to refer to impending fiscal doom? Second, I dislike anything that makes me picture Obama and Boehner in drag.

So there you have it, this year’s un-Thanksgiving list. One thing I’m thankful for: The folks who read these things, whether they love it or hate it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. His column appears Wednesdays and Sundays. Contact him at