Nov 16, 2007

Remember to Be Grateful

Valerie J. Steimle

I was so motivated to finish my editorial this week for the paper I contribute. I got the idea for my article from an email that was supposedly written by Jay Leno himself. So a week ago, I mailed an actual snail mail letter to Jay Leno, care of the Tonight Show, thanking him for writing this wonderful email on being grateful. Tuesday late afternoon, after my deadline was past and the article was already printed, I received a letter in the mailbox from the Tonight Show. What a quick reply and I was very excited thinking that maybe Jay Leno wrote me a letter back. The address written even looked like what his handwriting would be. So I opened the letter to find out that it was one of his staff writing to tell me that: “Sorry, this email was written by someone else and that through email alterations and multiple forwards the impression was given that Jay Leno wrote the whole thing. It was Craig R. Smith who wrote it and Jay Leno only used the last sentence for a joke on the show.” I was so disappointed. Even worse I had already run the article that was to come out on Thursday (yesterday). I hoped no one would call me about it and so far no one has but here is what I wrote about being grateful for food for thought on this Thanksgiving holiday:

With Thanksgiving coming next Thursday, there have been many writings on the internet and in newspapers about being thankful. One in particular was from an unexpected writer: Jay Leno. Usually a funny guy, Mr. Leno wrote a poignant piece about what we should be grateful for and I wanted to write some of his words here. This is from Jay Leno:
"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true, given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence, 2/3's of the citizenry just isn't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What are we so unhappy about?''Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time, and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year.Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all, and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.”
He asks interesting questions and he goes on to talk about how 70 percent of us have homes in this country and if there were ever a fire at our house, a group of men and women volunteer or are paid to come and put it out. Our neighborhoods are free from bombs dropping and militias raping and pillaging and where many teenagers have computers and cell phones.
We live in the greatest country in the world but yet we are so spoiled. There is nothing worse than a child who has everything and then just thinks about what he doesn’t have and demands more. Are we really that unhappy? No, I don’t think so. We are just ungrateful. We have so much freedom and so much wealth and opportunity. We are so blessed and there is so much to be thankful for, we should be the happiest people in the world.
So this Thanksgiving let’s remember our blessings and be happy. Let’s not buy into that negativism that we read about all the time. We have a lot to be thankful for in our lives. Just ask Jay Leno. He’ll tell you.

Even though it wasn’t Jay Leno that wrote those things, somebody did make a good point and we should still be grateful for what we have. Especially around this time of thanksgiving.


  1. Great blog, Valerie. I'm sorry it was so frustrating for you. I remember getting that e-mail. It really did make it sound like Jay Leno wrote it.

    I saw a marquis the other day that said, "We don't need more to be grateful for, we just need to be more grateful."

  2. Your blog made my day, Valerie. I'd just read (and have already forgotten where) that the greatest sin is the sin of ingratitude. That's probably because gratitude stimulates us to move on to higher goals, whereas ingratitude inhibits, which slows, if not stops, our progress. When we dam our progress, that's sin. (So much for my illogical logic.)

    My hat's off to Craig R. Smith, whoever he is, for his insightful essay, and to you for your moving editorial. Thanks for posting it. Don't worry about not having time to research the source completely. I can't imagine Jay Leno suing you, and Craig Smith seems like a nice guy. You can always give him credit in your nest editorial.

    Thank you again for your whole post. I feel so thankful right now that I think I'm energized to such a degree I just might get everything on my list finished before bedtime. When, or if, my energy flags, I'll just come back to the computer and re-read you.

  3. Your editorial is timely!!! Several of the blogs I frequent and commenters on those blogs are all a bit puzzled about that statistical information. Makes you wonder who they actually polled??!! At any rate, it does give the rest of us a moment to step back and ponder ALL those things we have that make our life special and wonderful. Even things like microwaves, I LOVE them.

  4. Thank you all for your comments. I did write an explaination for my editorial the next week and it worked out well. I didn't really care about the statistics either because the whole idea makes you think about what we have that the rest of the world doesn't.
    Happy Thanksgiving!


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.