Thanksgiving: Thanking you in advance

We love getting thanked "in advance," for things we may or may not do. So often, at the bottoms of e-mail submissions, there is a "TIA," thanks in advance. It is always warming to be thanked, even in advance.

Passing on the blessing of unwarranted thanks this Thanksgiving season, we thought we would thank a few people in advance for making certain "lifestyle" changes that we know would make them, and us, much happier.

To George W. Bush: Mr. President, we thank you in advance for informing your gang of yes people that from now on things are going to be different. First, you will bring competing viewpoints to the table. Second, those who question the plan will not be vilified, leaked-upon, or otherwise eviscerated. That's the point of living in a democracy, right? In fact, a good place to start is to borrow from Napoleon's dictum: Good news can wait. Wake me up only with the bad news. Of course your aides should knock first. You can thank them in advance for that.

To members of the U.S. Congress: We thank you in advance for chucking your legislative bag of histrionic tricks over Iraq and getting down to business. You applauded the President's pre-invasion State of the Union speech like Politburo apparatchiks. Now deal with it. Watching you last week, we're reminded of what the French writer Andre Malraux was told when he asked a Jesuit priest, after hearing so many confessions, what he'd learned about human nature. The answer: "There are no adults."

To Michael Moore, film maker: Hey Michael, next time you think about making an election year film that plays footsies with the truth - don't, OK? You helped George Bush get re-elected. We thank you in advance for what you won't do.

To Tyrone Willingham, Husky football coach: Coach, we admire your integrity, your decorous passion, your subtle intelligence. But we thank you in advance for not (please, please stop) referring to yourself in the third person. It happened again in the Sunday paper: "We're making progress, but the steps are too slow and too small for Coach Willingham." Coach, it gets confusing. Sometimes we don't know if it's you, one of your players or even God talking. Besides, it's kind of creepy.

We thank in advance whoever will comfort the Coos Bay father and son bereft of their pet bear this Thanksgiving season. Fish and Wildlife officials removed the full-grown, live-in from the backwoods cabin last month.

Father and son found an orphaned cub a couple of years ago. The rustic trio evidently lived a life of perfect harmony. Now they have to bear up under the loss.

"We treated her like a daughter," said the father according to news reports. They shared pizza, gave her showers and blow dried her hair. She slept in a bed and could work the door handle to go outside. She was free to go anytime; she wasn't a hostage, the crestfallen hosts told officials. "Bears have rights, too," chimed the son.

"You could see the hurt in those guys' eyes when we took it," a Fish and Wildlife worker told reporters.

Well, we thank the Coos Bay father and son for reminding us this world is not all shopping malls, opinion polls and political spin.

As for the rest of us - you and yours - Happy Thanksgiving. Oh, us too? Thanks, in advance.

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