As my family sat at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day shoveling food into their mouths at a rate so alarming that I considered dialing 9-1-1 and alerting the paramedics in advance that someone at my address would soon choke and be in need of emergency medical assistance. After all, doing so would be at least as warranted as calling the local 9-1-1 service because Burger King put mustard on a customer's burger after the customer had specifcally requested a mustard-free burger, which I believe actually happened. Eventually, I thought better of my preemptive strike and decided simply to allow the gluttons to face Karma; if the Heimlich maneuver worked or the paramedics made it to our home on time with equipment, great, If not, it probably wasn't meant to be.
Anyway, as I was pondering the situation concerning the lack of safety surrounding me at the dining room table, not to mention the lack of observation of conventional table manners, my dad noticed what must have been an unpleasant expression on my face. Though I wasn't looking at myself in a mirror and wasn't, therefore, necessarily the most qualified descriptor of my own facial expression at that precise moment, because I know what I was feeling at the moment, I would have to say my expression could best be described as one of combined concern and disgust. My father, on the other hand, categorized my look in the way he most frequently categorizes my facial expressions: he said the look was purely one of self-pity. (It's pointless to argue with my father about anything. Were the late Vince Lombardi to return to life and show up in our livingroom for the purpose of discussing with my father the weather conditions during the legendary 1967 NFL Championship game commonly known as The Ice Bowl, my dad would find cause to take exception with Lombardi's determination of the wind-chill factor at kick-off time. If Dad were engaged in a conversation with Neil Armstrong, he would probably disagree with the famed astronaut about the feel of walking on a surface with one-seventh of the force of gravity that the Earth possesses. My dad argues when the person with whom he is arguing actually agrees with him. Arguing with my father is utterly futile.) Even though I could eat only a few bites of finely-cut food, Dad told me that, since the purpose of the holiday was to give thanks for one's blessings, I would not be allowed to leave the table until I could come up with ten specific things for which I am thankful. Mind you, I'm only allowed out of bed and into a recliner for a total of four hours a day, in addition to my ten required daily torture sessions otherwise known as walks. Yet this man, who at least in theory spawned me, and who is a medical doctor to boot, which would indicate that at some point in time he must have taken that Hippocratic Oath thing that they all supposedly take at some point promising to do no harm (I call it the Hypocritical Oath where my dad is concerned), was more than willing to risk my well-being by forcing me to sit in an uncomfortable dining room chair while my narcotic-addled brain attempted to unearth ten things for which I was thankful. Keep in mind that this demand was not forced upon anyone else present at our dining room table. Nonetheless, there was no way of avoiding this unfair treatment. I requested a piece of paper and a pen. Since I coudn't eat, I might just as well have used my time writing.
Ten Things for Which I Am Thankful
by Alexis Anne Rosseau
1. I am thankful that my father did not perform my splenectomy. He surely would've botched the job and killed me in the process.
2. I am thankful that I'm no longer in the hospital. Even if the nurses didn't kill me, either deliberately or through their incompetence, the food eventually would have finshed me off, either because it was so disgusting that my inabiity to eat it would have cause me to starve to death or because dangerous pathogens were present either in the food at the outset or were transferred to the food by the unwashed hands of the cafeteria workers.
3. My mom spent two nights as my roommate in the hospital because she had just undergone kidney stone removal surgery. Not only was she good company; the doctors and nurses could not mistreat me in her presence.
4. My PseudoAunt's Cousin's Ex-wife brought to me one dozen Baskin Robbins clown cones to me, and I still have eight remaining, which my brother has been forbidden by those with authority to enforce the directive, to touch without my express consent, and only when I am in a sufficiently lucid state to give consent. He can't wake me up at 3:00 a.m. after I've taken a Vicodin to ask for one.
5. My PseudoAunt Jillian just received the news that she passed the California Bar Exam on her first attempt.
6. My piano is being tuned next week.
8. My father doesn't hav any hernias or back problems that I know about, so he can carry me upstairs if I don't feel up to making the trip on my own.
9. Jesse Spencer is back on "House" after an entirely too long hiatus.
10. The thread count on my Egyptian cotton sheets at home is 2,000, This is because my aunt and uncle are generous, not because my dad tells my mom that money is just money and that it's senseless for us to live as paupers so that their money can all go to some charity when my parents finally pass on to the next world. The sheets in the hospital practically gave me bedsores, and I was only in there for a week. Thank God for Egyptian cotton sheets with a thread count higher than two digits.
Postscript: My dad was less than pleased with my effort, but he did agree to let me relocate from the dining room chair that is, I would imagine, approximately as uncomfortable as an electric chair would be, to the family room sofa. My dad periodically shows trace evidence of a conscience.