"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings."
- Eric Hoffer
As I sit on the dating sidelines this summer, and have time to myself without the pressures of forced conversations and its evil brother - awkward silences, I've learned some valuable lessons. Firstly, I've learned that Ikea furniture is either really hard to put together, or I'm mentally challenged. (Two hours to put a coffee table together that consists of 5 pieces of wood - and I still needed Shmegs to come over and finish the job for me). Secondly, I've learned that I pay around $120 a month for cable service that provides me with roughly 600 channels of absolutely nothing to watch. And as an extension of my second lesson, I've come to realize that Bravo is the gayest fucking channel on TV.
But perhaps the most valuable lesson I've learned thus far is the necessity to feel gratitude. Three people I know in as many days have inferred to me that they're actually looking forward to death. These were all guys with a bunch of kids who got married really young. Their wives drive them nuts, their kids make them crazy, the bills are piling up, and they want out. They joke that if it would be quick and painless, and their kids would be provided for afterwards, they'd press that imaginary button that could make all the bad go away. They joke that if they had to do it all differently, they would. They tell me I'm lucky. And I am. But their jokes aren't funny. They're just kind of sad - not so much because they'd actually down a bottle of sleeping pills, but because they'll probably continue living the same shitty existences until death really does coming knocking at their doors. And by then, they'll have wasted their entire lives not appreciating what they have.
So I'm thankful for what I have - a $79 Swedish coffee table that looked better online than it does in my living room, 600 channels of nothing to watch except a show about a flaming, bitchy real estate agent who flips houses and plays it up for the camera like he's that "I'm ready for my close up, Mr. Demille" broad, and a life I don't want to escape from.