It's that time of year again where we're all supposed to note what we're thankful for as we come together with family and friends, share some good food and company, maybe watch a game if you're into that, and just be content. So of course, I have to honor the tradition in my own way by posting right here for all to see.
Now, I could take a comical approach with a list of oddball things I'm thankful for. I could wax serious with a heartfelt pouring out of my soul. Or I could just keep things simple, say a massive thanks to everyone and then be on my way.
Well, why limit myself, right? I'm in a good mood today for some strange reason, and this is my blog, so I can get away with doing it all if I want. You can't stop me. You might not read it, but that's just a chance I'm going to have to take (PLEASE don't leave me!).
So, let's start it off like this: just in case I miss anyone or anything in my further missives, let me lay out a blanket thanks to everyone who's done anything for me at all, be it a thought, a helping hand, a prayer or what have you. Thank you, and have a great holiday.
Okay, so that's one out of the way. Next up, let's take a look at some things I'm especially thankful for this year.
1. I'm thankful for cheese. Yes, I said it. I LOVE cheese! Deal with it. (cheese is yellow).
2. I'm thankful for those sidewalk Santas doing their thing, and all the volunteers wearing flashing noses. They may look like complete idiots, but at least they're idiots for a good cause.
3. I'm thankful for the biggest little state in the world, Kentucky, who thinks they are better and cooler and bigger than they are. If you live here, you know what I'm talking about. Wake up, Kentucky, we will never be New York or any other big state like that with their big cities! Stop trying so hard! But I love ya (no I don't). :)
4. I'm thankful for peanut butter and jelly, and Reese's peanut butter cups. I can't eat either anymore, but whoever thought of putting chocolate or jelly with peanut butter is a king in my eye!
5. I'm thankful for modern technology, without which I would not have the patience to cook and would be one bored son of a gun!
6. I'm thankful for Skrulls. Just because.
7. I'm thankful for people worse off than me because then I don't feel as bad. Wait, that didn't come out right. Okay, moving on...
8. I'm thankful for Madonna who shows us we can all be gracefully old, or is that an old disgrace?
9. I'm thankful for Britney Spears who has confirmed to the world that our nation cares more about celebrities than anything else in-the-world! I'm also thankful that she's shown us we can all be rich and famous without any talent and by making every bad choice we can possibly make! (I kid, seriously - I hope she's getting it back together - had to throw in the pop culture references)
10. And I'm thankful for Steven Colbert, Barrack Obama, Seth Green and Mike Meyers who show us the funkiest looking of us can be anything we want to be!
This list has been brought to you by the letter "T" and the number "2". Why? I haven't the foggiest.
On a more serious note, this has been a very eventful year for me. More eventful, in fact, than the last five years have been. It started off like every other year, and I wasn't doing to great like the previous four. Then things started changing before my eyes and I regained hope, vision and faith. Oddly enough, had it not been for two chance events this year would have most likely been no different.
The first of which was my gall bladder attack in March, right before my birthday. It was a wake up call for many things. It scared me, and it made me think about things. I seriously thought I was dying at one point as I couldn't breathe at all and was in so much pain I couldn't stand it. I was very close to passing out. So I am thankful that happened because it did something inside of me, aside from causing me much pain. And it gave me a name to put to the pain I had been in for the two previous years.
That combined with a job offer I got the next month really set the course for my year. I had to have some dental work done before I could go on the trip for the job (to Georgia), and I might not have done that had I not had the attack. It's too complicated and personal for me to explain that here, but suffice it to say that both occurrences got me off my butt to do something about things, and I haven't looked back since.
So even though the job ended up not working out, I'm thankful to Tales of Wonder for the offer and the trip, which they paid for. It was a great experience. Not to mention I got to see my dad for the first time in years while I was down there. We reconnected, buried old issues, and probably for the first time in our lives, we became friends with mutual respect for one another, which is more than I could have asked for. I'm a grown man now, and it's nice to know that my dad, though far away, is a part of my life in some way.
After that trip I set it in my mind that I would make it to Wizard World Chicago, a comic convention, regardless of whether I got the job or not, and I did, thanks to Scott Simmons who picked me up and went with me, and Chuck Moore who provided me with a press pass. Within the first 15 minutes of the show I had landed a lettering gig with Image, and throughout the weekend I made numerous contacts and new friends, and got to sit in on some cool interviews. I also got to finally meet internet buddy Chuck Kennedy for the first time and go out to eat a couple of times, further strengthening the friendship that we have.
I could go on and on about Mid-Ohio-Con, getting Wannabez published, finding a new online home at Comic Related and a new friend in Chuck Moore, and so on and so forth, but you all know all this already, and I don't want to waste your time.
So let me wrap it up by saying that this year has brought me great strides from where I was, both in attitude and in spirit. I was down and depressed for at least three, maybe four years and didn't see a way out. This year that has all turned around. I'm still struggling with things, and my circumstances still have a long way to go, but if anything, this year, all that has happened, and everyone I've had the chance to meet has given me hope and restored my faith. I feel blessed for the first time in a long time, and that's a feeling I never want to let go of again.
So to all you who have contributed in any way, small or large, to my good fortune this year, whether you know it or not, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And a special thanks to: Cary Kelley, Jason Berek-Lewis, Chuck Kennedy, Scott D.M. and Shannon Simmons, Chuck Moore, Ray Hickson, Jenny and Josh Goguen, Lance Stahlberg, Jeff McClelland, Jason Moser, Jeff Kipnis, Christopher Joe, Jeff Mariotte, Kris Simon, Jim Valentino, Sean Taylor, Brent Sprecher, Itai Rosenbaum, Bob Hickey, Mark and Jonna LeMieux, Bill Gladman, Victor Carungi, Steve Seirer, Grant Chastain, Tracy Duty, William Turner, Peter Aitken, Andy and anyone else I've left out (please forgive me if I have, it's a long list). Without you all, this year wouldn't have been as successful and promising as it has.
To all of you out there celebrating it, have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy your time with your loved ones - if the unfortunate losses my friends have suffered recently, and the many losses in my past have taught me anything it's that we don't have nearly enough time with those we love. Make it count.
May you all be richly blessed this year and beyond.