At Thanksgiving, I come in from out of town, and eat a meal that someone else cooked, in a house that someone else cleaned, enjoying entertainment that someone else planned.
On Christmas Eve and Easter, I have the nerve to do it in my own town. I join a family I was not born into and enjoy the company of children I did not raise. I get to bring the children I did raise with me. Then they get to eat food we did not cook, because that's how I raised 'em.
On July 4th, I eat a pancake breakfast I did nothing to make at a party I did not throw. I watch a parade I did not plan and listen to fireworks someone else set off. Then I eat hotdogs I did not grill on a lawn I did not mow.
My goal is to have this sort of arrangement for every national holiday, so if anyone wants to host me on President's Day, I'm open.
Even on workdays, I drink coffee I did not brew. I use a bathroom I did not clean. At meetings, I sit on chairs I did not set up. Then I walk out, leaving chairs I did not put away. And at least once a day, I look at flowers I did not plant, water or arrange.
In other words, I'm a freeloader. And I admit it. I'll even put it in writing.
Why? Because sometimes, when I'm not busy freeloading, I can fall prey to score-keeping.
So I keep this list handy. It reminds me that the balance sheet of my own life is far from reconciled. I'm a freeloader, who gets more than I deserve.
As the new year begins, I'll start by giving thanks for all I get, for all I have and for all I have taken for granted.