By now you’re probably well into the 2019 grazing season. It usually starts when there’s a little (or a lot) of Halloween candy left over. The 100-bar package was already open so you couldn’t take it back to the store. And it wasn’t your fault that only six trick-or-treaters showed up. So, despite having told yourself that you really shouldn’t indulge, all the goodies were gone by the first weekend in November.

Thanksgiving week does nothing to slow down the consumption of foodstuffs. Fortunately, it’s been decreed that neither pecan nor pumpkin pie calories count on Thursday, Friday or Saturday of that week. As long as there’s leftover turkey, you’re in the clear with desserts.

Unfortunately, even if you’ve been absolutely resolute in your good eating habits throughout the rest of the year, once the outdoor activities wane in colder weather and the get-togethers begin, it doesn’t take long for the resolve to go by the wayside. By the time Karen from accounting brings in homemade macaroons the week after Thanksgiving, you’ve pretty much decided Brussels sprouts and kale salad can wait until January.

But there is a plus side to this, and it has nothing to do with ascending numbers on a bathroom scale. While we eat, most of us pause long enough at least a few times during the holiday season to give thanks for what we have. For the majority of Americans, that’s a lot. Even if you think in terms of who or what you’re not, you can find many reasons to be thankful. For instance: Half the citizenry is glad it isn’t Donald Trump. The other half thanks their collective lucky stars every day they aren’t Nancy Pelosi.

You know, one of the reasons soap operas have been a popular genre of entertainment for so long (besides good writing and excellent acting) is that viewers know they can tune into their “story” and find someone worse off than they are.

In that spirit, I have again reconnoitered the checkout line at the grocery store and found several examples of people whom, if the headlines are to be believed, we can be glad we’re not right now.

Prince Andrew might well head the list this year. You’ll recall his name surfacing during the Jeffrey Epstein imbroglio last summer. Andy and Jeff apparently spent lots of quality time together, no doubt discussing world issues on Epstein’s private island in the company of young ladies, purportedly experts in foreign affairs. The prince has recently been relieved of many official royal duties and will now be limited to dedicating leper colonies on remote South Pacific islands for the foreseeable future.

Actually, many of the Windsors are having a rough go of it — with each other. Those not on speaking terms reportedly include Meghan and Kate and perhaps even William and Harry, who are coming to the defense of their respective brides. (Oh, one or both of the ladies is supposedly pregnant too.) It’s a good thing Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Not even the queen’s banquet table would be big enough to accommodate the spatting heirs. Speaking of the queen, it’s a little suspicious that as the new season of “The Crown” starts its run, there are rumors Her Royal Personage may have had an affair. (Hey, I only read the headlines in the papers, I don’t authenticate them.)

According to the tabloids, on our side of the pond, it seems Megyn Kelly is planning revenge against NBC. When the network dropped her from its lineup, she was not a happy camper and now threatens to dish some dirt on what she found out behind the scenes. (All this while continuing to be paid millions a year by 30 Rock.)

NBC has actually made more news than reported it of late. There was yet another story about Matt Lauer and his possible dalliances. And the tabloids are saying that network execs are practically down on their collective knees begging Kathie Lee Gifford to come back and save the cash-cow “Today” show from wreck and ruin.

In other checkout-aisle headlines, there are deep dark secrets to be revealed about the residents of Mayberry. Olivia Newton-John is the recipient of a miracle. One of the Kardashians is leaving some show. The Olsen twins live in a bizarre world. And Lyndon Johnson ordered J. Edgar Hoover to kill JFK.

You see? There are lots of things for which to be thankful you’re not. Like a royal, or celebrity or even an elected official breathing rarefied air. It’s really quite nice just to be grateful. Count your blessings. (And not the calories.)

Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta. See more of his work at www.wordsmith-at-large.com.

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