Dennis Hinkamp

Dennis Hinkamp

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I’ve never been much of a count your blessings kind if guy. Of course counting things since Nov. 4 has become a contentious and subjective activity. My reasons go back further. Maybe the underlying theology has changed since 1974, but in my 13 years of Catholic School preceding my terminus from St. John Vianney it was more like: 1) Stop whining. 2) Life isn’t supposed to be fun. 3) It could be worse.

I know next week is “thanks” giving and ItCouldBeWorseGiving only makes sense in the hip hashtag lingo of social media. However, this is perhaps a mental health exercise that could work for you. It couldn’t possibly be worse than mindfulness. I think you can see where this is going. If you were truly mindful you could see the future possibilities of worse-ness. Your now-ness is wishful thinking.

Maybe you are staying home next week against your will and desires. Maybe you will be stuck eating a turkey roll and missing the drumsticks and ill-defined giblets. Maybe your cranberry sauce will be all sauce, no cranberries and just that maroon jiggling jelly stuff. On the bright side you will not have to gag down a single bite of Aunt Latroy’s tomato aspic. Nobody in the family has had the guts to tell her that it was invented as a joke by pot-smoking editors 1960s era Good Housekeeping magazine. It does not matter that marijuana is now legal in many states; aspic is not edible and cannot be transformed into “an edible.” You are much better off staying home.

Maybe you miss jetting across the country on what used to be the festive busiest travel week of the year. It could be worse. Take comfort knowing that you could have fallen for the $12 round trip and 100,000 frequent flier miles offer to get the middle seat on the first nonstop flight of the somewhat repaired Boeing 737 Max next week. You could have got stuck there between two home bound football tackles who are allergic to the ironic bad Christmas sweater you wore to surprise you relatives. Much full-throated sneezing ensues. You might have just barely made it to your departure gate and forgot to, or were afraid to, go to the restroom after drinking that 32-ounce double Grande mocha pumpkin spice latte that was half price for $13 dollars because of expired milk at the airport café. It could be that bad. You should be thankful that you are just living La Vida Logan unamused at your turkey loaf’s dearth of discernable poultry parts.

Once you get the hang of it, you can see through the lens of everything-could-be-worse. Logan patriarchs could have put the new In-N-Out Burger in the middle of a new roundabout centered at Main and 400 North. Personally, I think the best location would have been next to Chuck-A-Rama so that you could have the two least-thought-through hyphenated food place names in history right next to each other. You could drive down main and chuck in and out at the same time. Getting a WinCo is scant compensation. Doesn’t Trader Joe’s sound a lot more appetizing and friendly? #Unlikely.

Staying inside your local COVID people pod has got to be better than going home to a room full of uncle-Dennis-type relatives who not only talk about politics and religion but also talk about religion in politics, various economic theories and obscure distance running statistics. Why would you want to argue in person when you spend all day muting people on social media?

Speaking of Dennis-type people, I looked up who I look like in famous art on Google and the results were 70 percent like the pitchfork holding rube in America Gothic. It could have been worse; it could have been the Muppet Beaker or some vaguely European looking mass murderer. When I was younger, I was always getting comments that I looked like someone somewhere they knew, but they just couldn’t put their finger on it. I think I mainly look like the crazy older “Big Love” Bruce Dern but with Kevin Bacon’s “Footloose” nose. It could be worse.

Dennis Hinkamp would like to wish everyone the least worst Thanksgiving possible.

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