I’m Suspicious of Gratitude: The day after Thanksgiving should be about being pissed off.

From the newsletter

Thanksgiving is the time of year where we are obligated to publicly enumerate our many privileges and blessings. For me, it’s really not that hard, because I do have way too many privileges and blessings. My home was filled with many loved ones last night. Our buffet overflowed with platters of food and treats. When the guests left, I went to bed in a warm home with my boys near by. Honestly, it’s hard for life to get better than that. 

At the same time, I’m a little suspicious of this whole gratitude thing. It may be a ploy by those who control the world to keep the rabble quiet and complacent. If we are busy counting all our good fortunes, then it is almost rude to talk about politics. Injustices are only discussed in comparative terms: “Well, my life is a whole lot better than those poor saps who don’t have X or Y. I have X AND Y AND Z, so dude, I win!”

In order for political change to happen, people have to be a little pissed off. If we’re sitting around bloated on turkey and tweeting that we’re thankful for the family dog and warm sweaters, then we’re not writing articles, showing up to meetings, and organizing. Being political isn’t always nice. It’s about pointing out uncomfortable truths and forcing people to make tough choices. If we don’t complain, then nobody will make changes. 

If I am legally obligated to be grateful one day a year, then I think the day after Thanksgiving should be all about things that piss me off. 

I’m pissed that we could be doing a better job of educating all our young people. I’m pissed that families caring for their disabled children are exhausted, ignored, isolated, and overwhelmed. I’m pissed that raising a family is so difficult. I’m pissed that inequities are growing. I’m pissed that rhetoric for change never matches up with actual change. I’m pissed that Donald Trump is still in the news. 

What pisses you off?

20 thoughts on “I’m Suspicious of Gratitude: The day after Thanksgiving should be about being pissed off.

  1. One of my relatives (not in the US) just had another heart attack after a year of his doctors refusing to see him in person and pooh poohing his heart complaints. I believe he is out of the hospital or should be out soon, but he’s down to less than 30% of heart function.

    I recently got successfully through a sinus infection with parking lot flu and COVID testing and telehealth (our primary care office is not seeing symptomatic people in person), but at some point folks have to realize that telehealth should be a sometimes thing, not an everyday thing, and that COVID is not the only killer. I have liked the convenience of online appointments for non-medical stuff, but routine medical apts. need to be in person.

    Thank goodness for the offices that are seeing patients in person!


    1. I think that the nearly 2 years of deferral of routine (and not-so-routine) medical care is really starting to come back and bite us.

      I know of three people in my friendship group who have had delayed cancer diagnoses because of Covid lockdowns.
      We don’t know (yet) if that delay has been sufficiently critical to cost them their lives – but it certainly has others in the media.

      We have 3 particularly high levels of ‘ordinary’ cancers here in NZ, which are highly susceptible to screening for early diagnosis and a high probability of a cure: breast, skin (melanoma) and colo-rectal cancer. Almost all routine checks for these cancers have been missed over the last 2 years – and the hospitals are still in crisis mode with no plans to catch up.

      People will literally die, because of this.

      And that’s not to mention the mental health crisis – again services were under critical pressure pre-covid, and are collapsing under the weight of current demand.
      It’s not even possible to go private – as the waiting lists are so long, and many psychs aren’t taking new patients.

      I agree that telehealth is convenient when you just need a prescription repeat, or check on a minor niggle. But it simply doesn’t work for serious diagnostic purposes – especially if you’re older or tech disadvantaged, or simply not a very good communicator.


    2. Apparently, there was a misunderstanding. My older relative is only missing half of his heart function. Yay?

      It is true, though, that before his heart attack, the cardiologist was only promising to see him in person in July 2022. (This is Vancouver BC.)

      I have no idea what the thought process is here.

      Related: I see that the governor of NY is authorizing the health depts. to limit elective surgeries:


      You might think that the hospitals can figure out for themselves if they are getting crushed, but whatever.


  2. I’m pissed-off about our society prioritizing the physical and mental health and well-being of teachers above that of their students (I guess because they’re adults, able to vote, and have a kick-ass union).
    Here, we’ve only been back in in-person education for a week, and some schools are choosing to have ‘mental-health’ days – i.e. kids stay at home, and do non-online activities (ha! ha!).

    I have a friend who teaches 8 year olds. She’s had 7 (yes, that’s all that have come back – out of a class of 24) to teach this week. She had to provide online learning materials (basically worksheets) for the rest – so no actual ‘teaching’
    And has been whining on social media about how ‘hard’ it is to teach both in-person and online.
    She teaches in one of the poorer areas – with kids who really need the stability (and sometimes safety) of school, and the support and belief of a teacher who cares. These are the kids who need to be back at school right now (actually they needed to be back at school 2 months ago).

    Because parents have been so traumatized over the ‘threat’ of Covid, and the fact that under 12s can’t be vaccinated (at least not yet, here – and benefits are a bit dubious in any case) – many are choosing to keep their kids at home.

    I’m pissed-off with the education dept – who seem to be working for the benefit of the teachers, not the children – and utterly ignoring the lowest demographics.

    Now, I don’t have a problem with out-of-class education; if you want to homeschool – be my guest. But many of these are the parents who don’t have the time or energy or knowledge to actually teach their kids. And, no, babysitting your younger siblings, or playing marathon Fortnite sessions, isn’t going to position you for a meaningful career.
    The Education Dept. has some really rigorous homeschooling criteria that parents have to pass. But not for these families – they’re just ignored. The Dept is just pretending that they’re still enrolled at school. And the school is pretending to teach them.

    I’m pissed-off with lockdowns (102 days and counting) – which only affect the law-abiding.
    It’s been enormously clear that Covid has been spreading here – despite the stringent lockdown restrictions – because there’s a segment of our society which has no interest in following ‘instructions’ (even in the interests of their own safety). Why this should be a surprise to anyone beats me. If someone is a drug dealer, then they don’t have a high opinion of legal restrictions – so why would anyone assume that they would follow them?

    I’m pissed-off with a government which has been so focused on Covid (and on a social ‘woke’ agenda) that they appear unable to even make a start on resolving the problems they were elected to deal with (rampant house prices, is the big one; but also a whole bunch of social and physical infrastructure construction needs).
    And who are proving incapable/incompetent at even dealing with the practicalities of Covid (just had to rush legislation through under urgency (this means no opportunity for parliament to scrutinize it, or for public bodies and interested parties to submit on unintended consequences) – this is legislation which has huge impacts on our civil rights – and people are rightly concerned that the government has got it right (their legislative competency to date, strongly suggests that they won’t have); also it appears that the Covid passport they’ve mandated has been released as an *editable* pdf (you don’t even have to hack it to change the details) – making it entirely useless as an effective screening option to restrict venue access.

    I’m really pissed-off with our government bending over backwards to placate the unvaccinated minority. If they choose to be unvaccinated, then that’s their choice. Why should the rest of us continue to be restricted to protect them.

    And with their weak vaccine mandates. Look, *if* you are going to mandate vaccination: announce it, give everyone involved 2 months to get vaccinated (we have a double shot Pfizer vaccine in NZ – with a 6 week recommended delay between the shots) – and then fire anyone who chooses not to be vaccinated.
    What the govt has done is:
    * Wait until 6 months after mass vaccination for essential workers was available.
    * Find out that a percentage of workers (in important, public facing roles, like police and nurses) won’t get vaccinated
    [NB: this is *entirely* predictable – apart from the general ‘reflect society’ aspect – we already know that a significant percentage of nurses refuse ‘flu vaccinations]
    * Announce a mandate.
    * Extend the mandate multiple times.
    * Allow people to go on *fully-paid* special leave if they don’t want to get vaccinated.
    * I’m expecting the next step will be to give them a severance bonus payment to leave!

    I’m pissed-off that, even after nearly 2 years of Covid crisis, the government has made no effective steps to expand our critical care infrastructure (both beds and staffing) in hospitals.
    There should have been an active recruitment phase (when nurses were begging to come to NZ, and being turned away by our (frankly incompetent) Minister of Immigration). There should have been active construction/refitting of hospital critical care facilities. Instead, this Government has prioritized the restructure of the District Health Boards (the management structure). I’m sorry, but does the word ‘crisis’ mean anything to you!

    I’m pissed-off that NZ is still restricting the rights of our citizens to return to their own country.
    While they have (finally) announced that they can isolate at home next year (currently required to stay in an MIQ facility – which is the choke point – only 3,000 rooms) – I’m really concerned that the govt will seize the opportunity provided by the scare over the Omicron variant (which sounds like an SF/Thriller movie title!) and slam the doors shut again.

    I’m really pissed-off overall – that this Covid crisis has exposed the weaknesses in our society, and exacerbated in the pre-existing inequalities. And that our government appears to have zero desire or, perhaps, ability, to actually do anything about any of this….


      1. But I’m grateful for fresh broad beans out of the garden (I think you guys call them fava beans) – double podded tossed with pesto and new potatoes & served alongside pan-fried salmon mignons.


    1. “Because parents have been so traumatized over the ‘threat’ of Covid, and the fact that under 12s can’t be vaccinated (at least not yet, here – and benefits are a bit dubious in any case) – many are choosing to keep their kids at home.”

      Meanwhile I’m here pissed off that my 10 year old nephew was exposed to a classmate with COVID, thus putting them as well as my cancer-survivor brother-in-law at risk for COVID.

      I’m also prepping my class tomorrow about fake news and new media, so I am just extra irritated right now.


  3. More griping:

    I just got an email from school that we need to pick up kids at 11 AM on Thursday, as school is going to be cancelled for the rest of the day due to a football championship. It will be a nice break for my high schooler (who could go on a bus with friends if he wants to), but I wish my 3rd grader were having a normal school day.

    I guess school is optional these days!


    1. Wow, they cancelled school for 3rd graders for a football championship? Presumably because the school is in the championship? Is it the culture that the whole school will go? Say because littles have HS sibs?


      1. bj said, “Wow, they cancelled school for 3rd graders for a football championship? Presumably because the school is in the championship? Is it the culture that the whole school will go? Say because littles have HS sibs?”


        I kind of get it, kind of don’t get it. I’m OK with it as long as it doesn’t become a habit.


      2. Today is the 11 AM pick-up day because of the big game. I see that there is some (limited) aftercare available for inconvenienced families.

        When I dropped off my 11th grader at the upper school, the administrators were dancing to Queen’s Can’t Stop Me Now and when I dropped off the 3rd grader at the lower school, the staff doing carpool were dancing to YMCA along with the school mascot.

        Big day!


  4. What am I NOT pissed off about?

    That we didn’t spend the last 18 months figuring out how to do education much more flexibly. Yes, it would take more money. Too bad.

    That caring for kids, the disabled and seniors was cut from the infrastructure bill.

    That what wasn’t cut from the infrastructure bill will make its way into the pockets of the usual grifters.

    I’m still pissed about misogyny, too. Most men over 30 are on my shit list.


    1. Anonymous wrote, “Most men over 30 are on my shit list.”

      Give the under-30s some time! They’ll get there, too!


  5. Based on what my three girls tell me about high school and college conversations, most men under 30 are already there.


  6. My oldest informs me that her afternoon Latin literature class is going to be on Zoom, due to the fact that the instructor is in Costa Rica or some such.


    This doesn’t rise to the level of a gripe exactly, but WOW.


  7. 3 students out today, 1 with COVID, 2 quarantined because of exposure to COVID+ person, over Thanksgiving.



    1. Oops, 4. Just got the notification from the university. The student had emailed that she was sick, but not with what.

      Get. Your. Boosters.


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