I know I lost my son. And don’t tell me not to be sad, or to get over it. Don’t tell me not to feel guilty or what a good person I am or whatever little phrase you think will fix it. Because this really, really can not be fixed.
But get off of some things. Like don’t be a racist. Don’t be a jerk. That will help. Don’t insult my intelligent. But most of all, if you want to help me, just shut up and be thankful.
Be thankful not only because you don’t have to live the rest of your life with your son’s remains in an urn. Be thankful that you have a bunch of material comfort and you live in an amazing time.
Be thankful that in your pocket is a device which contains a camera better, yet smaller than anything your grandfather knew, that has basically an unlimited number of shots that never need to be dropped off for development. It lets you make and receive calls anywhere and be connected with all 7 billion people on the planet all at once and contains in one touch all the collected knowledge of mankind. It’s your little black book, your calendar, your watch, stop watch, and alarm clock, your compass and map, and your little game system. And while you wait in line, you check scores and you aren’t even amazed by what this does. So shut up and be thankful. You don’t need a dime in your shoe. You don’t need to find a pay phone that works.
You tap water is clean. You can drink it. You aren’t starving. Your food may be crappy, but it is probably not contaminated with bacteria or parasites. You have electricity for over 4 hours a day. In fact for more people on the planet, this is now truer than ever. Food, water and shelter. And you can leave your house unattended without anyone stealing the rusted corrugated panels that pass as a roof. You don’t have lice, ticks, chiggers or bed bugs. None of this was likely for most of the people on the planet less than a century ago. This is comfort. This is privilege. Shut up and be thankful.
Think about what your parents faced when they were your age. War? Nuclear annihilation? Hell, my mother graduated from high school in a concentration camp and her marriage with my father was illegal two years before they tied the knot. Do I have to face that? Did I ever? Segregation by law is gone. I need to thank God that I never had to worry about that kind of shit. I’m not being persecuted. Neither are you. No one is coming for your guns or locking you up. And no, this is not a dictatorship. On top of this your tax burden is also at a 50 year low.
War is actually at a low. Insurgencies and civil wars, proxy wars, nations invading or disputing borders, revolutions and uprisings are all down. All waning after the Cold War ended. Are you thankful? People aren’t dying by the thousands every day anymore… and it does make a difference.
On top of that a dozen diseases have been eradicated and even cancer, more often than not is survivable. No more iron lungs or large numbers of people blinded, crippled, deaf or sterile from childhood diseases. Even abortions are down. Significantly. As are teen pregnancies. And high school graduation is twice what it was 50 years ago.
The air today is actually cleaner than it was 40 years ago. Do you remember third stage smog alerts? Rivers don’t catch fire anymore and there isn’t a two foot berm of cigarette butts, cans and trash along every highway.
Murder and all violent crime is at its lowest in 20 years. And that is not only true here, but around the world as whole. And property crime is down. Perhaps we aren’t on a decline. You are safer now than at any time since WWII. And terrorism? It still kills fewer Americans on average every year than toddlers with guns or wild pigs. Thank God.
Sometimes I’m sad. And a lot of people care about that. Thank you… and thank God.
Sometimes I feel like my life is shit. (And I don’t really know what that all means… but I get down and depressed and feel hopeless…) And people I care about try to cheer me up.
So do it. Shut up and be thankful. Convince me we live in a wonderful world in a wonderful time and maybe I can lift up my head and join you.
Or continue to complain. I’ll join you. Tell me how crappy life is. I’ll join you. Tell me we are in a decline. I’ll buy it. We can feel fear together, persecuted and hopeless. Yeah. But don’t wonder then why I feel like my life is shit.