Well, this year I’m in no mood for Thanksgiving. Quite frankly, the general state of my life, health, and the world in general has me feeling grumpier than a starving vegan in a steakhouse. Between being increasingly decimated by a progressively crippling disease, forced to witness a nation and a planet gone mad and suffering through the worst fantasy football season I’ve had in over a decade, I find myself more inclined this year to say “no thanks” than “thanks.” So, I’ve decided to invent my own little holiday: No-Thanksgiving, a day when one can feel free to share their disdain and disgust with freedom and pride.
No-Thanksgiving coincides precisely with Thanksgiving, so those who find themselves forced this Thursday to sit around a table of people gushing with gratitude while feeling only varying shades of repulsion are hereby granted license to let loose with a bile laced torrent of grievances when it comes your turn to speak. You’ll feel a whole lot better, and you can tell the others at the table – as they look at you horrified in slack-jawed bewilderment – to pull up their big boy pants and just carve the freaking bird. And then you must swallow some air and unceremoniously burp out a hearty “Happy No-Thanksgiving!”. A burped “Happy No-Thanksgiving” is the only mandatory ritual required of those celebrating this new holiday.
So, what am I especially not thankful for this year? Oh, let the litany begin…
I am aghast at the list of famous and powerful men who have proved to be harassers and sexual abusers of women, a register that seems to grow daily like an ignored melanoma. Granted, some of the grievances committed are worse than others – in my mind, there is a world of difference between cupping someone’s butt and sexually touching a 14-year-old – but none can be considered acceptable behavior. These ongoing revelations have led me to ponder questions I never imagined I’d formulate, such as how much satisfaction can there be in forcing somebody to watch you masturbate? Back when I was healthy and single, the thrill of finding a new partner lay largely in the fact that she actually liked me. When introduced to a beautiful woman I never once had the slightest urge to corner her in some secluded space so that I could pull out my Wee Willie Banjo and start strumming a tune, finally depositing the results of my melody making into the nearest potted plant. The fact that the women subjected to such spectacle didn’t projectile vomit on the men in question is a testament to the strength of the female gender. A pox on all of these degenerates, along with an especially nauseated “no thank you.”
I am horror-struck at the destructive power of my disease, which knows no bounds and defies any attempts to arrest it. This thing is Godzilla, and my life is Tokyo. It doesn’t help that during the last few months I’ve been hit with a series of flu bugs and other viruses, which are to multiple sclerosis as fine hooch is to a recovering alcoholic clinging to the edge of the wagon. The frightening thing about my getting sick with any kind of bug is that the resulting physical carnage always proves to be a preview of things to come in the not-too-distant future of my disease’s relentless progression. I’ve often surprised myself and others with my stoicism in the face of hurricane MS, but I must admit there have been moments these last few months that have left me scared shitless. Not being able to get myself in or out of bed, control my bladder, or summon up the strength to push a fork through a piece of broccoli are not exactly harbingers of a rosy future. Note to my doctors or any other doctors who happen to be out there: help! And to my disease: an emphatic no thank you!
I am driven to distraction – literally, I can’t sleep – over the abominable tax plan being rammed down the throats of the American people by Congress. I’ve always tried to keep politics off of these pages, but not speaking out against the abhorrent is the worst kind of cowardice. And these tax proposals, as currently constituted, are most certainly abhorrent. Putting aside the fact that they are yet another attempt at supply-side economics, a theory which has never, ever proven successful whenever it’s been implemented – “But, but, Reagan!” I can hear some sputtering, conveniently forgetting that President Reagan raised taxes 11 times after he initially cut them (click here) – what is really unsettling me is the fact that by all objective estimates the current tax proposals will increase the federal deficit by between $1 trillion and $2 trillion (click here, here, and here). This very likely will trigger mandatory cuts to Medicare (click here), and I fear will eventually be used as an excuse for yet another misguided push to privatize Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The combined effects of these changes would leave millions of the most vulnerable Americans – the elderly, chronically ill, and disabled – without the social safety net they so desperately need. There is no doubt that the US is in need of tax reform, and getting through the process will always be as pleasant as a national root canal, but the hyper-partisan tax proposals now on the table should be anathema to all reasonable Americans. So, with all the strength I can muster, I shout “no thanks” to the current version of tax reform. If you agree, call your Representatives and Senators at (202) 224-3121.
I am a horribly disillusioned by modern medicine as it is currently practiced, rife with conflicts of interest and cynical calculations that put profits over people. Due to the explosive growth in the cost and profitability of pharmaceutical drugs, it seems the goal of modern medicine has become treating rather than curing, a model which is great for Big Pharma but sucks elephants for those of us saddled with horrible diseases. The eye-popping amounts of money generated by drugs that treat but don’t cure have insidiously transformed the landscape of medicine from top to bottom. The medical journals, increasingly reliant on Big Pharma monies for their survival, predominantly publish studies favorable to pharmaceutical company interests. These studies are usually conducted by researchers who are on the payroll of the companies whose drugs they are studying. The doctors reading these published studies are in turn very often paid handsomely in the form of shady speaking and consulting fees by the very pharmaceutical companies whose products they prescribe. In any other industry people would go to jail for this kind of crap, but in medicine, where they can perhaps do the most harm, these practices are now considered business as usual. For an insightful article on just how pernicious these shenanigans can be, (click here). So, come this Thursday’s No-Thanksgiving I will include the entire medical establishment high on my list of no thank you’s…
I’ll end my list here due to time constraints, though in my current state of disgruntlement I could easily extend it ad infinitum. No-Thanksgiving day will soon be upon us, and it wouldn’t make much sense to publish this article once the day has passed. I’d ask all who wish to join me in celebrating this new holiday to refrain from throwing a drumstick at your idiot uncle and instead help to grow the popularity of No-Thanksgiving day by providing a list of your own candidates for “no thank you’s” in the comments section of this essay. Come on, give voice to all of your pent-up grievances, grudges, and gripes so that all of your fellow MS curmudgeons can revel in your misanthropic meanderings!
To all my wonderful Wheelchair Kamikaze readers, I wish you a tremendously Happy No-Thanksgiving! And a Happy Thanksgiving to the more well-adjusted among us…