If you’re reading this, then I guess you’re still alive. Stick a needle in your arm. If it hurts and you cry out, don’t worry, you’re well and truly alive. If it doesn’t hurt, you’re dead. In that case, ask for St. Peter at the gates and he’ll sort you out. The good news is that you can take off that ridiculous face mask. And do me a favor: tell God that we can’t all be like the saintly Job. I’m more like those disciples that screamed in panic, “Lord, save us, for we are perishing!” My celestial spies tell me it is this year’s trending topic among the prayers that reach heaven.
But fear wasn’t invented in 2020. In Spain, 1936, the communists arrested the humorist Pedro Muñoz-Seca for being a monarchist, a Catholic, and a right-winger. He was taken to Paracuellos, where 4,000 people were assassinated by order of the Communist Party. Muñoz-Seca was in the middle of his pantomime trial, one stop away from the firing squad, when, making a show of his ever-sharp wit even in the face of tragedy, he shouted out to everyone in the courtroom: “You can take everything from me … but you’ll never take away my fear!” Later, after hearing his death sentence, he replied, “No, you have even managed to take my fear away.” Perhaps this explains why the brilliant writer is now on the way to his beatification. God has a sense of humor.
Fearful or not, if you are alive, that would be the first reason to thank God this catastrophic year, no matter how unpleasant, grotesque, foul, and toothless, like an Antifa rioter, it has been.
It goes without saying that we should thank God for wine and beer. We should do this always, at all times.
We should also be grateful that this year has shown us the true colors of communism. Once again it has caused a wave of death and misery. Although this is not a first for 2020 either: In 1958, the bloodthirsty Mao, who knew as much about agriculture as I do about the mating rituals of tapirs, decided to exterminate all the sparrows as part of his so-called Great Leap, which actually turned out to be a Great Leap into the abyss. Mao said that the sparrows ate the grain for the crops. Very observant, this Chinaman was. He ordered them all killed under the pretext that for every million sparrows exterminated, 60,000 people could be fed. It sounded as good as any other communist promise. The bad thing is that reality is not communist: the disappearance of the sparrow triggered the insect plagues that devoured the crops, starting the Great Chinese Famine.
If, as some say, the coronavirus came from eating pangolins, bats, or any other inedible filth at some wild animal market, the famine caused by Mao would also be responsible for our current crisis: it was the desperation and the death from last century’s malnutrition that drove Chinese peasants to start eating dogs, cats, rats, bats, insects, dead or alive, in some places even resorting to cannibalism, which incidentally is an accurate allegory for all communist policies. I reckon we ought to thank God for living in a country that, when celebrating something important, kills a turkey and eats it after cooking it, and doesn’t go nibbling on raw pangolins.
It goes without saying that we should thank God for wine and beer. We should do this always, at all times. We Spaniards do it every day. Imagine having to endure the Biden–Harris election campaign without alcohol, as if we were in Saudi Arabia. We might very well have given in to cannibalism too.
Give thanks for the face masks also. For those of us who like to talk to ourselves on the street, it has made things much easier and has saved us from many embarrassing situations. And for those of us with bad memory, it has made our lives easier: we no longer have to recognize anyone out there. “With the mask it’s impossible to tell” is what I say to anyone who takes offense at me for not having recognized them as I pass them on the street, in the subway, or in a hospital waiting room. Of course, between you and me, I did recognize most of them.
We thank God dearly for our elders. Once again, with their courage and wisdom, they have helped us to endure, with peace of mind and even joy, situations that are thoroughly unacceptable to our restless youth. The pandemic has shown them in an even more vulnerable light than usual. If they manage to stay with us, 2020 will have taught us that the elderly are not something useless, as the wretched Central Europeans think — which is why they are killing them off with euthanasia — but the pride of our society.
Another good reason to thank God for 2020 is that, if you live in the United States, you have enjoyed economic prosperity representative of the abundant harvest that gave rise to this celebration. Even in the midst of the crisis, with half the world reeling, you live in a great country that still has a chance to emerge even stronger from the pandemic, as long as Biden doesn’t ruin it.
The list is endless, like the American electoral process. Thank you for so much … For not carrying as much resentment in your heart as Kamala Harris. Because we have realized how important the small jobs that go unnoticed are: the waiter, the nurse, the elderly caregiver, and so many others. Because those stupid face-to-face company meetings are a thing of the past — God be praised! Because at last people are talking to you — from a safe distance. Because it has taken a pandemic to get crazy ol’ Greta Thunberg off the front pages of the newspapers. Because we can still enjoy sunny mornings. Because the official optimists and new Instagram hippie-philosophers have finally run out of things to say. And, in particular, because that irritating Alejandro Jodorowsky has not released a book this year.
And, of course, and although to be honest there are days when I feel closer to asking God for the complaints sheet than to actually thanking Him, when I think of Thanksgiving dinner, I do admit that I am eternally grateful to Him for having made me a man and not a turkey. It’s not that I’m afraid of the oven. It’s just that I don’t like being the center of attention.
Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, The American Spectator, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and is a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website www.itxudiaz.com.
Translated by Joel Dalmau