Wednesday, November 27, 2002
A time to reflect
By Jim Caple Page 2 columnist
Things to give thanks for this weekend in between wishing there was a "Pardon the Interruption" timer when your relatives start asking when you'll (choose one) get married/get a job/get a diploma/get a clue/get an apartment and finally move out of your parents' house ...
Give thanks that you're not spending the holiday at the same table with Ted Williams' children.
Um, Goose -- that turkey wasn't boneless.
Give thanks that Tony Siragusa's family isn't spending it at your table.
Give thanks that you're not driving over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house with Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire in the backseat when the state trooper pulls you over for doing 80 mph in a 70 zone.
Give thanks that Randy Moss isn't driving one of the floats in the Macy's parade and that you're not the traffic cop responsible for telling him he needs to turn right at Herald Square, not left.
Give thanks that when your halitosis-challenged aunts, grandmothers and cousin Wayne insist on kissing you, at least Charles Barkley didn't bet you how many points Yao Ming would drop on Dallas.
Give thanks that when your conscience finally prompts you to get up from the couch and help cousin Jennifer wash the dishes while listening to her describe her wedding patterns, you suddenly hear the Dallas-Washington and Detroit-New England games calling.
Give thanks that when you feel compelled to go see "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,'' you suddenly hear the Notre Dame-USC, Texas-Texas A&M, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State and Nebraska-Colorado games calling from the family room.
Give thanks that when the "Will and Grace" Thanksgiving rerun airs, you have possession of the remote control.
Give thanks during the USC-Notre Dame game that George O'Leary fibbed on his résumé so the Irish could hire Tyrone Willingham instead.
Give thanks that you aren't out of work. And if you are, give thanks that at least the Brewers didn't hire you to manage their team.
Give thanks that when your nephew wants to rent Jim Carrey in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and your niece wants to rent "Glitter," that "The Rookie" is already out in video (though if you want to catch the best sports film of the year, rent "Lagaan," the Oscar-nominated Bollywood musical about British imperialism, Indian revolt, excess taxation and cricket -- it's three-plus hours and every minute a pleasure).
Give thanks after completing a down-and-out past the cherry tree and in front of the bird feeder in the family's annual backyard football game that you felt just like Jack Kennedy used to at Hyannisport. Heck, give thanks that after speed-eating seven pounds of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, candied yams, buttermilk biscuits and pumpkin pie, you don't look just like Ted Kennedy.
Give thanks that your college is going to a bowl game. (I mean, with 27-some different bowls, I'm just assuming it is.)
Give thanks that between now and Christmas, networks will air "A Christmas Story" at least 50 times, and that you'll still smile every time Darren McGavin bitches about how bad the Bears are (and if you want a great, undiscovered Christmas gem, rent "The Ref," with Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary and Judy Davis -- screams, I promise, screams).
Mostly, give thanks that in this time of terrorism, corporate scandals, mass layoffs and general unease, you can still spend a weekend gathered together passing delicious, warming food around the table with the same ease and lack of concern as Michael Jackson dangling an infant from a Berlin hotel balcony.
And that when this holiday is over, you don't have to Christmas shop for Shawn Kemp's entire extended family.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.