deer, some birds, mashed acorns & a bucket of balls (or …what you deserve)

deserve want

“Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what’s more than enough.”

=

Billie Holiday

 

 

Ok.

 

I meant to post this as a Happy Thanksgiving but for a variety of reasons <and excuses> it just didn’t happen.

 

Thanksgiving is about turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

 

Uhm.

Or how about a Bucket of Balls?

 

Yup.

 

—–

Have a ball at Timothy O’Toole’s Pub in Chicago.

This casual sports bar has made a tradition of serving up crispy, deep-fried turkey testicles during the holiday season. The meaty nuggets are ordered by the bucket and are accompanied by ranch, barbecue or buffalo dipping sauce. The balls have become so beloved that the bar holds an annual Black Wednesday (that’s the day-before-Thanksgiving) turkey testicle-eating tday marilyncontest where the winner takes home a frozen turkey.

—–

 

 

Sigh.

 

Only Americans could create a bucket of balls for a Thanksgiving tradition.

It is part of our youthful charm.

 

Anyway.

 

The first Thanksgiving was more like five deer and some birds, a shitload of shellfish, twigs, acorns and well … no pie.

 

In fact … the feast the Wampanoag Indians and Pilgrims ate in 1621 was … well … ducks, maybe a swan <gulp>, shellfish <thin clams or mussels>, nuts <anything they could mash>, no sugar <so no stuffing or cranberries or … well … pie>.
We know the colonists regularly consumed ducks, geese and swans. And, instead of bread-based stuffing, herbs & onions or nuts might have been added to the birds for extra flavor.tday duck cook

 

Turkey or no turkey, the first Thanksgiving’s attendees almost certainly got their fill of meat.

 

Fairly bland but at least the Pilgrims & Indians weren’t killing each other <like many families do on Thanksgiving … I note that so no one thinks killing each other around the Thanksgiving table is actually a tradition>.

 

 

Anyway.

 

I cooked a turducken this year … as I have the past three years.

 

It is this fabulous creation of layered turkey, duck and chicken with a spicy stuffing mix.

 

It is an exorbitant excessive culinary delight.

turducken cooked cat

And as I gazed at it I thought of all the years in the past as I lived a nomad life away from any family, my own or anyone’s, and I think of the solo trips to islands and far off countries and … well … luxuries many people have never had the opportunity to enjoy.

 

 

At that time … I never thought anything about the ‘luxury’ or any sense of extravagance.

 

At that time … in my mind.

 

I deserved the break.

 

I say this gazing at my turducken when I know people in other countries … shit … in cities in my own country … will never know this luxury adorning my dining room table.

 

Am I altruistic?

 

Shit no.

 

I tend to believe I am simply gaining some perspective on what I used to consider  … well … I deserved. And it makes me reflect upon people and how they think about ‘what I deserve.’

 

And as I begin discussing ‘what I deserve’ I will hearken back to the original Thanksgivings and the fact the original pilgrims were … well … not called pilgrims.

 

“Those who were members of the Separatist Church Movement referred to themselves as ‘Saints.’

About 60 others who came over in the Mayflower with them were called ‘Strangers.’

But they all knew how to have fun and enjoy life. They made and drank a lot of beer, hard cider and something like today’s brandy.
Occasionally there was drunkenness and fighting.”

 

 

So.

 

The original thanksgiving was a celebration for the harvest … for work.

tday table peanuts

It was not indulgence … it was not extravagance … it was a celebration of real output <not income>.

 

 

I would suggest it was an understanding of balance. And an understanding of the Life value proposition – work & what I deserve.

 

Look.

 

That is a hard thing to understand.

 

It seems like it should be easy … but it is not.

 

“The hardest choice in life is usually between what you want, and what you deserve.”

=

Rashida Rowe

 

Society makes it tough.
The Pilgrims were a small tight knit group of people with similar attitudes honed by similar hardships. They had a common interest in success and outcome from hard work.

 

All those things make it easier to not only understand the balance but share the balance.

 

Today?
Today it is difficult.

 

Society makes it difficult.

 

 

Society has a nasty tendency to complicate our understanding the ‘deserve’ balance.

 

deserve getting what youEverywhere you turn there is the message screaming at us that we need to give ourselves a break and have a treat:

 

==

Girlfriend, put your feet up and enjoy a mani-pedi.

You deserve it!

<note: …. always with an exclamation point>

Hey mom! Following an afternoon with your crazy kids, you deserve a stop at the mall to treat yourself to new shoes or that designer handbag or, well, whatever you want!

<note: …. always with an exclamation point>

Life got you down? Retail therapy! You deserve it.

<note: …. always with an exclamation point>

==

Ok.

 

While I focused on women <because there is an inherent underlying theme that women are being too hard on themselves — juggling the duties of being mothers, wives, professionals — all at once> the fact is that all of us are encouraged, because we demand too much of ourselves, to ‘stop punishing ourselves’ and go out and indulge ourselves in some way as therapy.

 

 

Ok.

 

First.

 

I am all for breaks.

 

 

But in the good ole days … Thanksgiving was but one indulgent break from 365 day toil. That is a well deserved break.

 

In comparison. Today?

 

Weekly pampering?

Monthly reward for work well done?

Daily indulgence of something to break the day up?

 

 

Where is the number?

 

What is the number?

 

 

How much do we truly need and doesn’t more of it actually:

<a> make us expect more (answer: yes), and

deserve karma

<b> create the impression we are sacrificing more in our everyday toil (answer: yes).

 

 

Secondly.

 

Uhm.

 

 

Instead of “punishing ourselves” by plowing through life we reward ourselves with making purchases that sit on a credit card <called ‘debt’> or spend money on some intangible indulgence which depletes four wallet size <and savings size> which could be used to actually accumulate something that could actually bring us closer to whatever our vision is.

 

 

Look.

 

Before everyone gets defensive about how many indulgences are required to get you through the week, consider the source of your belief that you need some indulgent break every week.

 

 

Were you really raised to believe some continuous indulgence <under the guise of ‘reward’> is a basic part of human life?

 

Or was the idea planted by some marketing genius promoting therapeutic benefits of whatever indulgent behavior they want to sell you?

 

 

We all should use every opportunity to better ourselves. And this includes thinking about what we truly deserve.deserve nothing

 

But what we deserve is, and should always be, balanced by our understanding of ‘effort.’ And effort should be all about making every minute count.

 

 

Let me be clear.

 

I love the American ambitious ‘you can do anything’ culture.

 

And I dislike it at exactly the same time.

 

 

Why?

 

Because it is a constant struggle.

 

All of us get tugged by ambition and at exactly the same time get tugged by fairness.

 

No.

 

I am not suggesting you cannot have and do both.

 

Yes.

I am suggesting it gets tough to balance.

 

 

One is driven by individualism <what I deserve and I want a good happy Life>.

 

One is driven by collectivism … or some version of pluralism <I would like everyone around me to live a good happy Life>.

 

It is natural to focus and put a heavier emphasis on the “I” portion … especially at first … because you typically have nothing <or little> and you believe you need ‘something’ before you start worrying about fairness or general Life happiness of others.

 

 

The true struggle occurs once you … well … have.

You have invested the effort, you have worked and focused and did … and all of a sudden you have entered into the “I deserve” mentality <zone>.

 

That is actually a byproduct of ambition.

 

Ambition, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Unfortunately it brings some baggage along with it. It’s almost like you go on this trip without any bags … and when you get off the train you have a bag you carry off.

 

The bag is a metaphor for tangible shit you have accumulated <which reflects your effort in your eyes as well as the eyes of those who look> but it also contains mental shit. Self value, self-actualization and self-esteem. And it is the mental aspect which builds up the ‘deserve equation.’

 

We almost consider it as an aspect of winning … as in ‘winning in Life.’
I played the game.

 

I put in the effort.

 

I deserve the trophy.

 

 

And maybe that is where we get it wrong <sometimes>.

 

Playing the game versus winning.

 

Life, in general, is not measured by how many wins you have <or awards you get> it is about how you play the game.

 

It really shouldn’t be about “winning in Life” it really should be “Life played well.”

 

Unfortunately … that is not part of the USA DNA.

 

We are an ambitious group of people who like to have, and measure, progress.

We are a group of people where ambition is not a negative word … it is indicative of a positive spirit. It is indicative of an underlying competitiveness … which resides in the souls of 99% of Americans. I am not suggesting it is the only characteristic within us … just that it is always there and always suggesting ‘keep going.’

 

“The problem in France is that ambition is not a compliment.

It’s almost a bad word. ‘Ha, look, he’s ambitious.’

So that’s a very difficult situation for an athlete: As soon as you try to be ambitious you have people mocking you.

For instance, we would never have made the war in Iraq.

On the other hand, we may never win anything.”

=

Bouin

 

This is not about slamming USA.

 

This is not an indictment of our ‘can do’ spirit or an indictment of ambition.

deserve a good life

This is simply a reflective moment on how we think about what we deserve on Thanksgiving.

 

 

We deserve more than a ‘bucket of balls’ on Thanksgiving.

 

We deserve a sense of success for effort. Not anything truly tangible … but a sense.

 

We deserve a good sense and a good feeling for playing the game with effort.

 

 

If we figure that out I tend to believe all the rest will simply fall in place.

 

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Written by Bruce