i’m not languishing in a squalid prison.i haven’t been arrested and beaten for my political views. i don’t face humiliating interrogation techniques and degrading torture tactics as a detainee. i am not forced to leave my country out of fear for my life. i did not get returned from incarceration for defending human rights unconscious in a wheelchair, severely beaten, tortured, and barely alive. when i’m feeling the full force of the anxiety, depression, isolation, and despair that comes of being my sick, demented parents’ caregiver for years of my life, i try to think of the above reasons and more to be thankful. to whom or what, i’m not sure, but there it is. i’m not wedged into a tiny cage. i can stand up, lie down, and take a walk. i can hold any opinions i like, however absurd or angry. i am not tortured, at least physically. mentally, well that’s another story. sometimes i think i’m living in a country of devolving savages, but they haven’t reached zombie apocalypse stage–yet. ok, well maybe at wal-marts they have. i’m still alive and relatively healthy, even without a doctor or health insurance, so far. so hey, i’m being thankful. granted, laced with issues, but still trying for a little perspective. i suspect just below the surface of many of us humans is still the childish insistence that life be fair. that we deserve happy endings. but real life is never like that. sometimes just getting through is as good as it gets. and it goes downhill from there, and can get downright hellish. it’s hard to step back and keep a perspective, when you’re maybe not in that literal cage, but in a metaphorical one of your own making, or someone else’s. you can really get a refugee complex, without actually being one. when your hopes and expectations get smacked down by reality, you can become another casualty no matter where or how you live. so sometimes it’s more productive to remember how much worse it could get, not how much better it could have been in some parallel universe. today is my mother’s 84th birthday. she’s still alive and existing from day to day. i’m still under a roof, for now. it’s not a heartwarming situation, so why pretend? the money for her upkeep is almost gone. but it could still be a lot worse. also, the best son in the whole entire universe is still alive and well out there. i have brothers without whom i could never have survived this. i may not get my hopes up for anything beyond this, but i can freely put my honest thoughts down publicly and not have the thought-police bash down my door. so there you have it: my belated thanksgiving speech. and i didn’t even do my native american rant this year (though i still thought it), so be thankful for little things.