In 2015, I began a blog to basically vent my feelings and frustrations during a difficult and depressive stage. I forgot about it for about 3 years. On 29 July 2018, I decided to re-start my blog. Instead of posting willy-nilly, I decided to stick to a schedule. Deep down, I thought it would crash and burn like its previous incarnation after a few weeks. As it turns out, I managed to last a few weeks. I even gave it the name Ray’s Rants of the Week, since I was posting new stuff every week.
Here we are now, nearly one year, and fifty posts later. I can’t believe I’ve actually made it to my 50th post for this blog. Sure, it’s not huge and prolific, but that was never the intention. I mean, had it grown big, that would’ve been okay. I’m just happy there are faithful readers!
As you can imagine, constantly finding new material to write about can be difficult. You don’t want to re-write the same stuff if you can help it. Occasionally, I’ll search online for ideas. One of the suggested topics I found was to do an “A to Z” type post. So, since my blog is usually me ranting about something, there can be a lot of negativity. And if you know me, most of the time, I lean toward the pessimistic side of things—the “half-empty glass” way of thinking, if you will. So, for this milestone 50th post, I’ve decided to switch things up a bit. This time, I’m going to go from A to Z, and list something I’m thankful for, beginning with each letter of the alphabet. So, without further delay, here goes the list.
I initiate this catalog of thankfulness by including the Alphabet, these 26 letters that make up every word in the English language. It is by recombining these letters that we can form all the words in written form that we can emulate by speaking. It is with these words that I am able to write and convey a message to other people, such as in this blog that you wonderful people are reading.
Second on my list is Baking stuff. When I have the time and ambition on my days off, I like to make cookies, cake or even the occasional cheesecake. Sometime, I hope to try to do other things. I make my kids’ birthday cakes (as seen on my personal Instagram page). In fact, I haven’t bought a birthday cake in several years. I find the store prices for cake ridiculous, so I decided to bake and decorate them myself. Sure, it can be time consuming, especially the Mario block cake I made this year. However, it’s worth it in the end.
Number three on my list of what I’m thankful for: Caffeine. God bless Freidleib Ferdinand Runge for discovering and isolating the compound C8H12N4O3, otherwise known as caffeine. It is found naturally in nuts and plants (such as coffee beans, cacao and the kola nut), and also artificially. Chocolate, coffee, sodas and energy drinks and many other foods/drugs contain caffeine. Caffeine keeps me going (albeit until the caffeine and sugar wear off), but too much can be lethal.
Now, we’re on to the letter D, and for that, I choose Dr Pepper, I would have to say. On the occasions where I drink a soda, it’s this one. Since I tend to get acid reflux fairly badly, this soda is the least acidic of the main ones (comparing to Pepsi and Coke). I still feel reflux, but not as badly. Many times, instead of that, I’m drinking Powerade, which is even less acidic.
In the fifth position, I include Education. I’m happy I got what I have, and I regret not getting more. If I could somehow time travel, I would go back and further my education more. Perhaps I would’ve gone to a culinary school, or taken that pharmacy technician class much sooner (I took that course back in 2012, but got discouraged after completing it, because few places were hiring at the time, and the ones that did interview me never chose me; now, there are pharmacies all over hiring😞).
Though it seems our federal government seems to be slowly eliminating them, I’m thankful for the Freedoms the US still has. Fortunately, we don’t have the rockets blowing things up left and right or suicide bombers and car bombs in this country, unlike others. There are really dangerous cities to live in, but at least you don’t have to worry about getting shot by cops or soldiers if you talk shit about the government or the President. We still have that freedom.
To take up the spot for the seventh letter of the alphabet, I want to say that, as corny as it may sound, I like my Gel pens. Ballpoint pens are okay, but they can skip a lot when writing. You also have to hold them firmly to the paper for them to release their ink. My hand hurts after a while writing with them. In the case of gel pens, usually there’s much less effort for me to write. And give me a bold point pen, not those extra-fine ones that feel like they’re gonna tear the paper as you write.
What would be a good “H” item? Probably Humor, or at least a sense of humor. Though I am very introverted (according to the questions on the website 16personalities.com, my personality type might change slightly, my level of introversion is always 100%), I still like to try to make others laugh, using my warped, demented and dark sense of humor. Sometimes it’s all I can do to get myself through a day.
Item number nine on my list of thankfulness, being Introverted. That may seem weird to some, but let me explain. Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean being a hermit. We like to be with people, but not too many and not for a real long time. Around people we’re comfortable with, we can be open and talkative. But it takes a lot to get to that point. Then, after socializing, we need our “me time” to unwind and recharge, as being social drains an introvert’s energy. I really enjoy some time to myself, which is one reason why I never could get into all the social activities or clubs in school. It is who I am, and I really wouldn’t change it.
Tenth item on this post: my Job at Cracker Barrel. Yes, it’s stressful some days. Do I wish I made more money? Absolutely. Who doesn’t? But a good majority of the time, I enjoy what I do. I like working with food—cooking, baking, producing a finished product for consumer enjoyment.
For the letter K, I am extremely thankful for my Kids. I love them to death, and would do just about anything for them. Obviously, I wouldn’t do anything illegal, but I would say I would shoot someone, if had to, to defend my kids. I have four of them; though they can be a pain in the ass at times, and occasionally we have our arguments and disagreements. They can at times think I’m the worst person in the world or hate me for whatever reason, I still couldn’t imagine not being their dad.
In the twelfth spot of things I’m grateful for, I place Life, even though it can a bitch, sometimes it’s downright shitty, and on more than one occasion, I have wished I wasn’t a part of it (yes, I have thought on numerous occasions that everyone around me would be better off if I didn’t exist. Obviously, I have never attempted to do it). I have learned over time to never say that things couldn’t be better, nor that things couldn’t get any worse, because life can always be better, and it could also be worse than it is. Most of the time, I’m just trying to conquer the present day.
Though it’s dirty (god only knows where it’s been🤔🤢) and I never seem to have enough, I am thankful for Money, as it enables me to acquire things I need, such as food, gasoline and it pays my bills every month. For me, anyway, there’s always too much month at the end of the money🤣!
For the letter N, I’d have to go with Nexium, the acid-reflux fighting purple pill, generically called esomeprazole. It’s my go-to medicine to combat the aforementioned acid reflux. It really sucks to be laying in bed trying to sleep, and about an hour later, to start coughing and, along with that cough, up comes stomach acid into the throat🤮. It’s gross, it burns, and it usually keeps me up half the night, having to use like three pillows, sleeping almost sitting up to alleviate the attack. If I pop one or even two of those wonderful purple pills, I’m usually okay for the day.
The fifteenth letter of the alphabet is O. Something beginning with this letter for which I’m thankful, I guess would be that I’m thankful for being an Omnivore. I like meats (steak, pork, fish, chicken, etc.) with most meals, but I enjoy salads and vegetables, as well as bread. Though it’s said it’s healthier, I couldn’t picture myself following a vegan diet. I like animal products too much to cut them out completely. Food is wonderful😍🤤.
This one might sound a tad on the weird side, but I promise there’s logic behind my thought. For the letter P, I pick my Plasma donations at BioLife; that is, so long as they don’t say my protein levels are “slightly low” and don’t let me donate for a couple of weeks. Okay, blood plasma is necessary for the manufacture of medicine for certain conditions. But my reason for donating? Simple: money. They pay me to donate, and that’s easy money. I definitely have an ulterior motive. Is it selfish? Probably, but at least I’m being 100% honest in my reasoning.
In keeping with the theme of being an introvert, for the letter Q, I really value my Quiet Time, the “me time” I referred to previously. Introverts need some time to themselves to regroup and recharge the mental battery.
In the eighteenth spot of thankfulness, thank science for Rockstar energy drinks. I drink them practically every day, sometimes up to four in a day, depending on how long I’m working. No, they’re not cheap, nor are they good for me, but I seem to be hooked on them. I particularly like the ones that are dubbed “TMGS”—tangerine, mango, guava, strawberry—and TMGS Twist (a new one only available at AM/PM stores, the closest one fifty miles away in Mesquite, NV). Even though I intentionally don’t drink many of them due to their high caffeine content, I do find that I get a tremendous headache when I don’t have one. Maybe caffeine withdrawals talking there🤔?
Sailing along on this journey of what I give thanks for, the next item on my list is Smartphones. I like the ability to do everything we can do with our phones, in my case, Android phones, like my current Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (along with all the other phones I’ve owned in the past, be they from Samsung or LG).
Without the wonders of today’s Technology, I can do all the things we do now. Like having one device to listen to music, surf the internet and have it available anytime without those insipid dial-up connections, access various mobile apps for games, banking etc., connect with friends via social media, and write this blog for anyone around the world to read.
One thing that everyone would say that I am is Uncommon. Thank heaven for that, right? If there were more than one of me in this world, I would sure feel sorry for them! Seriously, though, the world would be a boring place if everyone were identical. I find it quite amazing that there are something like 7¾ billion people in the world, and no two are exactly alike. You ask about twins, triplets, etc.? They’re really damn close, but not exactly identical.
Vaccinations are an important addition to this list, however it might ruffle up some feathers. Because of these parents who think vaccines are evil or cause autism (or they just take the word of some quasi-famous person who stripped for Playboy some 25 years ago), formerly-eradicated diseases, such as Measles, Whooping Cough, Mumps and many others, are making a comeback. The vaccine-to-autism link has been debunked and proven to be false. However, there are still these people, for whatever reason, refuse to have their kids vaccinated. It’s gotten to a point now where some school districts are denying unvaccinated kids the ability to go to public schools, so as not to further spread these nefarious diseases.
Good old Water, otherwise known as H2O. A nice, cold bottle of water is one of the best things in the world, especially after a lot of physical exertion. I try to drink it more on the days before I go do my donations at BioLife. Since carbonated sodas usually give me a bad acid attack, it’s either Powerade/Gatorade or water. I prefer bottled water, since tap water just tastes weird to me, like it has dirt or metal in it. And now, according to a report by CNN, a study even shows that drinking tap water in California could cause cancer. Then again, it seems like just about anything can be linked to cancer!
I can’t think of a single damned word beginning with the letter X that I could be thankful for. Okay, maybe Xylophone. Why? I really don’t know. It’s a weird word, and it’s a way to fill what would otherwise be an awkward void in my list.
We’ve reached the penultimate item on this alphabetical list of being thankful. Item #25 is this: I’m thankful for You, the readers, followers and fans of my blog. Without you guys reading this, it would be just another page of one website lost amongst the nearly 2 billion sites and the roughly 130 trillion pages Google indexes every month (to blow your mind a little more, between Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook, they have a combined storage of roughly 1200 PB [petabytes—the next order up from terabytes; in other words, 1,200,000 TB, or 1.2 billion gigabytes]🤯)
To round out this list, I would like to include the number Zero. “Why zero?” you ask. The answer is simple, yet not quite so much. To start with, it’s how much self-esteem I have. After that, it’s also something I use at work frequently. Especially on those days where I try to keep myself from having a panic attack or a mental breakdown. I just say that I have “zero fucks left to give.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this double-length post this week. Now you know a little bit more about me, and you know I’m not totally a pessimistic guy. I am thankful for things. I may be a very guarded person, but deep down, I’m just like anyone else. These 50 posts over this last year have been quite interesting, I’d say. I hope you’ll stay on this ride for the next 50, and perhaps beyond. Well, until no one is interested anymore. Until that (hopefully never) happens, we’ll keep plugging away every week. Until next Sunday, for a new installment, as ever, be safe and be well.