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Friday, October 1, 2010

I Didn't Throw Up

Although I don't know for sure, because the Obamas haven't invited me to dinner at the White House (yet) apparently, the family engages in a nightly (or however "nightly" they're all together at the table) activity called "Roses & Thorns." In the activity, while Secret Service Agents are making sure terrorists don't spring out of the mashed potato bowl, the Obama family members share one crappy and one happy thing about their day. I think, upon reading that previous sentence, they ought to rename the activity "Crappy Happy" but they probably have too much class for that.

Which is nice for them.

My wife and I, who have far less class than the Obamas, (at least, I do), engage in the practice "One Good Thing" or O.G.T., if we're feeling abbrevatory. The title of the activity is pretty self-explanatory-- and it differs from the Obamas' practice because it obviously leaves out the one shitty thing, which is fine with me, because, usually, there's too many shitty things to narrow it down to just one. Most of the time, it's all I can do to find the O.G.T.

And that's kind of the point.

It doesn't have to be something big, or powerful, or even particularly meaningful. It can be that you found a crumpled up dollar in the pocket of a jacket that you haven't worn since last November. Or it could be that some random asshole smiled at you on the street (that hasn't happened to me [yet]) or that two Big-Kat Bars fell out of the snack machine even though you only paid for one.

I mean-- could there be a better O.G.T. than that? And, no, guys cannot have multiple orgasms, so our perspective "good things" is admittedly limited.

My wife and I have been doing O.G.T. for years, and I have spread the practice to friends, and students, and, if I'm feeling particularly bold, coworkers. I haven't tried it with the mental patients with whom I work, and I'm not sure that I'm going to, because, for some of them, a good thing could be "I fucked my cupcake this morning real hard" or "The voices sang to me in German today" or "I didn't shank my roommate in the jugular with a broken mini-golf pencil" and, really, there are things that I just don't need/want to hear.

Even if, to some people, they're good things.

Sometimes, oftentimes, I find myself really digging for that O.G.T.-- digging like a motherfucker, and while that may sound depressing, actually I think it's kind of good. It would be unfortunate to get swept up in the superficial, the inconsequential, your day being awash with asskissers who do nothing but massage your ego and whisper sweet somethings into your ear. Sometimes, searching for that one diamond in the pile of poo is worth the effort, if you can stand the smell.

Andy Breckman is a singersongwriter whom I particularly enjoy. You know him as the co-creator and the executive producer of "Monk," but I didn't watch Monk, so I only know him as a singersongwriter. If you haven't heard of his music, (and chances are you haven't) check out his album "Proud Dad." It's fucking hilarious. He can only play about three chords and all his songs sound the same, but they're very funny, and honest, and sad. And that's kind of how I like to flatter myself-- with that description: funny, honest, and sad. And I can't even play the guitar half as bad as Andy Breckman.

Anyway, Andy sings a song called "I Had a Good Day." I love this song. It's a sing-a-long, and every year I worked at summer camp, I sang it with the kids. They loved it. At least, I think they loved it. Here's how it starts:

"I'm doin' okay,
I had a good day.
I gotta say,
I had a real good day.

I didn't throw up!
I didn't throw up!
About a quarter to four,
I almost threw up,
But I didn't throw up,
I had a real good day!"

I'm pretty sure that, today, the fact that I was able to see a four hundred pound black woman walk down the hallway with her ass hanging out, a 50-year-old cocaine addict with an adult diaper sticking up out of his pants with his shirt tucked into the diaper, a completely toothless (except one huge upper fang) man with mental retardation throwing up into a trashcan, without throwing up is my One Good Thing.

What's yours?


  1. I like the idea of O.G.T. I've been trying to do a gratitude journal on my iPhone but I believe I have exactly one entry.

    Guess I'm an ungrateful jerk.

  2. Totally off subject, but I fell asleep watching Monk and had an extremely vivid dream about him. It was disturbing. I haven't watched the show since.

    As for the O.G.T....well, it's early yet.

  3. My one good thing is that, while I did in fact throw up, I had someone there to dance with me in the convenient store when I managed to get myself out to buy painkillers.


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