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    Celebrating a moment of gratitude on encountering something that actually met my expectations, prosaic though it may be.

THE Shopping Cart

Start: See this shopping cart?

I am grateful for this shopping cart. Not just for shopping carts, but this shopping cart, specifically. I latched on to this one in the parking lot of the neighborhood big box store a week ago, and after I was done with it I just knew I’d be writing this.


No, it didn’t hold the most exciting purchase I ever made, win the war against terrorism, or even save my life. However …

  • It didn’t have a caved-in basket or bent frame from being pummeled by someone who probably should have lost their license to drive six decades ago;
  • It actually didn’t have garbage in it, or anything in it covered with someone else’s (or someone else’s children’s) bodily fluids;
  • It didn’t have any unsightly thing tied to it that was so visibly annoying that it demanded sawing off with a dull car key;
  • It didn’t have any components torn off of it making it not only less functional but actually something of a laceration hazard;
  • It didn’t pull to either side, making it as impossible to maneuver when loaded as a car with a lockbar on the steering wheel;
  • It didn’t produce a distinctively loud and equally embarrassing thump with each revolution of one wheel or another;
  • It didn’t have that problem with the big front wheel (you know, the wheel with the anti-theft mechanism built into it that probably doesn’t really work anyway) where they twirl constantly and refuse to stay in contact with the floor; and …
  • It didn’t rattle and squeal as if it were half-full of frustrated chinchillas.

Gentle reader, I was gliding smoothly along in Shopping Cart Heaven. And, no, the thing didn’t even look all that new.

I am grateful for that shopping cart.

The Threshold for Gratitude is … What Threshold?

Now, I know full well there would be plenty of people would respond to this statement with something to the effect of, “Maybe this is narrow-minded of me, but I try not to get emotionally involved with anything that came off an assembly line,” or, “Daniel, I think you need a life.”

It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been the butt of a joke, but this misses the point entirely.

I mean, come on. What does it hurt? Where is it written that there is some “gratitude threshold”? How big does something have to be for us to be grateful for it?

If we can’t be grateful for the little things, how are supposed to be grateful for the big ones?

The answer to that … is that we’re not going to be grateful for anything.

Hey — Does Gratitude Require a Permit or Something?

THE Shopping CartSo I’m grateful. For once I was able to just use a cart, and not have to tune out the obvious deficiency (-ies) of it, or be wary of handling it, or even fight with it.

Now, honestly: I should be grateful for even having a cart at all, let alone an albeit indifferent big-box store to buy what I need, let alone money to buy it with, let alone a car to put whatever it is that I bought to take home, let alone a home to take it to.

So I celebrate the moment that I recognize something that is as good as I could reasonably expect it to be, be it a triviality below most people’s radar.

And if that kind of gratitude sounds pathetic to you, well, maybe you should just go make your Congressman regulate it or something … you ingrate.

• • •

Copyright © 2012, by Daniel Brenton. All Rights Reserved.


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Daniel Brenton is the creator/author of the 5 Second Novel series, co-author of the space race thriller Red Moon (with David S. Michaels), and is the author of the satirical column The Round Files, published in Stuart Miller’s short-lived Alien Worlds Magazine.

Despite being a writer, Daniel has no cats at this time, is unwilling to become an alcoholic, and has a very difficult time keeping a straight face while writing about himself in third person.

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