Taking thanks

November 22, 2012 § 21 Comments

Now’s the time of year when we briefly pause from our rapacious, self-aggrandizing, endless dedication to acquiring things for ourselves and take a look around. It’s not just to see if there are thirds or fourths of turkey and dressing, or to see if we’ve left any bargain unexamined at the Target pre-Black Friday Wednesday Discount Sale on Tuesday Night.

We take a look around to give thanks.

But not me. Not today.

I ain’t thanking anybody. Been there, done that. Shouted my thanks to the skies and the Internet every year since mom told me I should be thankful, and enough’s enough. Yeah, I got a lot to be thankful for. There. Write me down as “thankful.”

Taking thanks

This year I’m going to focus on taking thanks. “What a selfish turd,” you’re thinking. Well, yes. But hear me out.

How many times during the year does someone thank you, and all you do is give them a perfunctory nod? Or say, “Sure, dude.” Or worst of all, say “No, thank YOU,” effectively tossing their gratitude back in their face like a smelly dishrag.

Fact is, I’ve been getting thanked all year for all kinds of shit, some of it trivial beyond belief, some of it not so trivial. But so what if it’s a big deal or a little deal? The DEAL is that whatever I did meant enough to someone for them to stop, take a breath, and utter the magic words. People almost never say that gratuitously, except, of course, on Thanksgiving.

So why didn’t I take each and every one of those thanks in the spirit it was offered? Why’m I waiting until the Day of the Great Overconsumption of Bad Food and Hard Liquor while Driving Gas-Guzzling Cars to Overpriced Discount Sales for Shit We Don’t Really Want or Need to think seriously about all of my good fortune in 2012?


Because I’m a sheep who does what he’s told.

Not this year, though. This year I’m taking thanks. More specifically, I’m taking thanks related to cycling. I can’t take them all; there’ve been too many. But I’m going to take a handful of those thanks and give them what they deserve in the same spirit they were offered: With humility and appreciation.

Okay, the humility is a work in progress. But the biggest drunkathon begins with a single shot, right?

You’re welcome, wankers

Several people have thanked me this year for blogging. You’re welcome, wankers. It’s a selfish endeavor, as I love to do it. But you know what makes me do it? You, the four or five people who occasionally read what I write and who chuckle or snarl or roll your eyes or even choke up a little. You took a minute out of your life to read, and another minute to say thanks. You’re not just welcome, you’re more welcome than you’ll ever know.

An NPR wanker thanked me earlier this year for yelling at him, and for following it up with a terse explanation of what “If you’re second wheel, pull the hell through, dammit!” means, and why.

You’re welcome for the tongue lashing, wanker. Unlike 99.9% of the rest of humanity, you didn’t take personal offense at the public beatdown (which you would have been justified in doing), you didn’t call me an ass and tell me to shut up (appropriate responses, both), and you didn’t go home and pout (lame, but what so many grown up people usually do).

Instead, you reached out on FB to find out what it was I was all upset about. Wanker, your maturity and calm and decency made me feel like a tool, and made me grateful that you’d accepted my idiosyncratic hollering for what it is: All bark, no bite, and a sincere desire to keep the sharp end of the stick safe and fast. You gave me a lesson while taking a lesson, and you thanked me in the process. You’re welcome, wanker, in the most profound way I know how to say it.

An NPR wanker thanked me last week for giving her a couple of pushes up Pershing, pushes that allowed her to hang onto the foaming, stampeding herd of idiots.

You’re welcome, wanker. You’re welcome because I never used to push anybody, ever. When I saw people coming apart at the seams I’d always shrug and say, “Welcome to hell, wanker,” as they spiraled off the back in defeat and despair.

But you know what? Suze Sonye started giving me little boosts on the Donut after hard efforts, and Rahsaan started giving me power shoves on the NPR when I was unraveling, and Greg Leibert did, too, and so did Harold Martinez. I never thanked any of them, wanker, but I remember each one of those pushes, where they happened, and how I felt.

I never thanked them, wanker, but I got the message: Don’t be too fucking proud and tough to lend a hand. So instead of thanking them, wanker, I reached out and pushed YOU. Granted, these spindly little arms don’t push like a Harold Martinez or a Dave Jaeger or a Rahsaan or a Suze, but sometimes that little push is the difference between on the back and OTB.

So, wanker, you’re welcome for those pushes, as long as you understand they came to you in a roundabout way from Suze, and although I can’t take credit for them, I can sure say “You’re welcome.”

Finally, a couple of South Bay wankers thanked me for some socks I sent their way. “Thanks for the socks, WM!” they said. “These are rad!”

You’re welcome, wankers.

But did you know that I’ve been stuck in the cave on and off this year? And did you know that when things were looking pretty black, you were saying something silly, or stomping on my dick, or pretending to listen to me blabber, or slurping lard with me at The Habit, or sending me a happy text with some goofy emoticon, or just sending out vibes of love through the ether, vibes that I somehow fricking received?

Did you know that thanks to you, wankers, there’ve been days where I’ve been able to wrap my fists pretty tightly around the edges and hold on like a never-say-die bastard?

And did you know that the reason I ever got those socks in the first place is because a wanker from Bakersfield came down to visit one Saturday and passed them on to me out of nothing but friendship? That in addition to a lot of road scum, dirty toenail grime, and a slightly gamey smell even after four washes and a bucket of bleach, there’s a circle of love in those pink garish unicorns?

From my vantage point, those socks were a pretty small symbol of appreciation for what you’ve done for me.

So you’re welcome, wankers, all of you.

And all that those words imply.

§ 21 Responses to Taking thanks

  • Running Cyclist says:

    Thanks WM for being so damn entertaining, articulate and even inspirational! And you’re welcome for reading.

  • Nealio says:

    Have only been reading the blog over the last few weeks (but like a true wanker went back and read nearly all the previous entries), but Happy Thanksgiving!
    ‘Real Heroes never are’ – very true, the heroes are people like you who put an arm out to give a helping push up a punishing hill, the little things.

    • Admin says:

      Thanks, Neal! What goes around, comes around…eventually. Hopefully bell-bottom jeans will defy that truth, though.

      I suppose as a Dubliner I can’t properly wish you Happy Thanksgiving. But I can wish you Happy James Joyce, which is what I think of, always with a smile, when I read or hear your city’s name.

  • A-Trav says:

    A little shove. A little love.

  • Don Hoffman says:


    Thanks for the blog. Sharing the fun and insights in our own little wankaton up here in Calaveras County….

  • erica says:

    Happy Thanksgiving. I really enjoy your blog. I am always talking about your blog to people and although it’s pretty hard to describe, it’s also pretty awesome. Have a great weekend and stay away from all those damn sales.

    • Admin says:

      “Hard to describe”…that’s awfully polite of you! And appreciated.

      Hope your holiday is relaxing, too. You won’t catch me anywhere near a sale, don’t worry. Unless, of course, that’s where Mrs. WM decides to serve dinner.

  • bp says:

    WM – thanks for inviting me on the Wheat-grass last summer. I felt included and really enjoyed myself.

    Hope you indulge a bit today – you’ve earned it.

    • Admin says:

      You didn’t just feel included. You WERE included. Glad you enjoyed it.

      I will indulge today. I just haven’t decided exactly how.

  • David says:

    Your blog got my into doing some group riding at the beginning of this summer, and your post on “why race?” (or something like that) got me to set aside my fears and do my first race in 25 years. Thanks! I am loving the lunacy of it all!

    • Admin says:

      Great! I mean, oh, no! Good for you, dude. We get one time through this fun house, might as well do all the rides!

  • John Psycho Wike says:

    Thanks Wanker!!! Your blogs are awesome and gives me that extra gear. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Liz says:

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Chris says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Man. Your blog has been the catalyst to get me out of cycle-tourist mode and get back to being the flame out super-sprinter-climber-time trial misfit team leader I haven’t been since several bad crashes and two daughters (who now ride with me) took shit off the rails.
    I am coming back with a vengeance for 58th spot in several races this year.

    Thanks for the push Seth.

    Cheers, Chris

    • Admin says:

      Do it! You’ll regret it. You’ll hate it. You’ll flog yourself for it.

      You’ll never feel better.

      You’re welcome, and Happy Thanksgiving to you! Urp.

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