Thank You, But No

A Very Cranky Holiday List

By Marjorie Ingall

Published November 14, 2007, issue of November 16, 2007.
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Thanksgiving is upon us. If I were a nicer person this column would consist of a list of all the things I’m thankful for, but alas, I’m a crank. Ergo:

“Things I Am Not Thankful For,” by me, Marjorie Ingall:

• A vice president who wants to shoot democracy in the face

• A new attorney general-to-be who thinks waterboarding is a delightful aquatic sport

• A senator from New York who essentially says, “Hey, the nominee for attorney general will probably uphold the law, probably! And given this administration, that’s good enough for me!”

• Turkey (the bird), which, let’s be honest, sucks

• Sentence fragments

• The withdrawal of children’s cough products from the market even though they do work and you know, I’m sorry if some parents fail to read instructions and make their kids O.D., but some parents also give their kids too much McDonald’s, and obesity is also a killer, and I don’t see anyone banning the sale of McNuggets, and too little sleep is also a huge health hazard for children, yet we inexplicably fail to jail people who take their kids to 9 o’clock movies or keep them up late enough to say goodnight to Daddy when he gets home from work so that they get to see him for 20 minutes a day and know who he is, you know?

• Run-on sentences

• The fact that my gray hair is a completely different texture from the rest of my hair and I’m starting to look like Gene Wilder in “Young Frankenstein”

• Peanut-allergy paranoia, and fellow yehudim, I say this as someone with an anaphylactic nut allergy: You are not doing your kid any favors by banning all nuts from schools unless you are one of the infinitesimal number (my asthma and allergy doctor said he’s only seen a few in decades of practice) who are so allergic they can’t be in the same room as someone eating a food containing that allergen, but noooo, you people want to turn teachers and principals into police officers and want to believe, mistakenly, that you can protect your child from every cold, danger and heartbreak, and rather than taking the responsibility for teaching your kid about being self-protective and never sharing other kids’ snacks and learning to ask about ingredients, you helicopter-parent your kid and expect the world to yield to your rotating blades like Vic Morrow’s head, which ultimately will not serve your child well in the long run when you’re not there

• The fact that I still click on stories about Britney Spears (I need an intervention)

• Having to get on an airplane at Thanksgiving — or, scratch that, anytime

• The marketing of breast cancer with the dang ribbons, which may make consumers feel delightful and virtuous as they plunk down their credit cards, incidentally enriching the companies whose products are plastered with the pink ribbons, although the last time I checked, lipstick did not cure breast cancer on contact, and rather than sending a yogurt lid to a manufacturer that promises to give 10 cents to a charity, why not eliminate the middleman and give the 10 cents directly to a breast cancer charity? Or hey, give 50 cents! (Whoops, I respected the patriarchal hegemony of punctuation on this one. Dammit.)

• “If it bleeds, it leads”

• Necco Wafers

• My own elderly decrepit anxiety and guilt about not using Facebook, MySpace or Twitter

• The anointing of Hillary Clinton by the news media, despite our not having a primary yet, when last I checked, so can we please let the democratic process do its thing?

• Health insurance, and the lack thereof for many Americans, and the fact that because I was two months late scheduling Josie’s five-year-checkup so it occurred in a different calendar year from her birthday, my insurance now refuses to pay for her to get a six-year checkup because it hasn’t been a full calendar year, so I’ll have to pay out of pocket or have her skip a full year of doctor visits, and yes, I can afford to pay out of pocket though I do not want to, but what happens to families who can’t, or of course, families who have no insurance at all and oh God, shoot me, I’ve turned into Michael Moore

• Those boring melodramatic seething (him) and sobbing (her) twins on “Heroes”

• The fact that my children whine like un-oiled hinges despite my fabulous parenting, clearly having failed to read the memo about my fabulous parenting

• Crocs

• High-stakes standardized tests that distract and detract from meaningful, project-based, in-depth learning

• The amount of energy I, like many women, spend hating my body

• The fact that our military has pretty much exhausted all its recruiting efforts and is therefore encouraging felons — folks convicted of assault, robbery, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats — to enlist, causing their presence in our armed forces to rise by more than 54% from 2004 to 2005, but hey, God forbid we should have highly trained, Arabic-speaking, terrorist-chatter-decoding linguists who happen to be gay, and I feel infinitely safer knowing that the Army fired six of them

• The fine white coating of cat hair that perpetually covers me like lanugo, and I wear a lot of black, which means that I invariably look like a crazy cat lady, which we all know I am, but must I constantly broadcast it?

• The H3, because what America really cries out for is a luxury Hummer

• How short-tempered I often am with Josie and Maxine

• Mr. Richard Keane of Ultimate Pool Covers on Long Island, for whom I have left 57 unreturned messages, who seems to have taken my money and flown the coop, leaving a gaping water-filled uncovered chlorinated hole that could quite easily drown a toddler, which would really put a damper on my future summer fun

• The piles of dog poop that dot my sidewalk like giant Hershey Kisses

• The fact I haven’t visited my Grandma in three months

• My own crankitude preventing me from seeing the things I really do have to be thankful for.

E-mail Marjorie at mamele@forward.com.


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