Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Story

Today is Thanksgiving. It's a day to sit back and give thanks for the many good things you've experienced in your life. It's a time to enjoy family and good food and perhaps a football game. The day is a good reminder to step back and think about things. After saying all that...why are you here reading this thing? Okay, this Fan will give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you did a Google Search on the Thanksgiving story. Maybe you want to know what this day is all about. This is the Thanksgiving story.

Once upon a time there were a group of people who once lived in the most powerful place on earth. Their voices were heard by massive amounts of people. As such, they became the keepers of the narrative. They didn't just report the story, they became part of the story. These leaders drove the story. Painting pictures with cultured prose, they plied their craft and held onto a few cherished ideas. A pitcher was judged by how many games he won and batters were judged by how many runs they drove home and by their batting average. The narrative was about the nobleness of the contests and about clutch performances. They weren't just the keepers of these precepts, they were the guardians of the truth.

And then there was a famine across the land. They found themselves in a shrinking world of slow sales and new ideas. The New World was the Internet and over in that place, there was bounty and freedom unheard of in the Old World these leaders came from. This New World was where people were spending their hard earned money now. Few people preferred newspapers anymore. Temples like the Sporting News were toppling as Internet content started starving out the leaders of the old world. Churches of the old world were closing in record numbers. Industry analysts predicted only gloom and doom.

Finally, these old world leaders felt they had no choice but to hop on a ship to the New World. They sailed the Mayflower to the New World and continued to try to write articles instead of posts. And once they landed in the New World, they found the natives.

These natives knew the New World. It wasn't new to them. Armed with spreadsheets and web design savvy, they could build a fire without a tinder box. They understood the landscape and how to search and be searched. Their methods were strange to the old world leaders and they had different deities than batting average and wins. It was sacrilegious. And at first, the old world leaders didn't want anything to do with them. 

The old world leaders settled near the open waters and build their settlements based on their previous ideas. They built new churches and created towns. But they couldn't survive that first winter. They were starving. They wanted to get paid for their content like in the old world. But in the New World, nobody believed in money. And the natives didn't care. Their livelihoods weren't based on their strange ideas. They already lived off the fruits of other labors. Some of the chiefs in the New World took pity on the old world leaders and tried to help them. The chiefs tried logic. They had pow wows with the old world leaders. But the chiefs and their people would never be anything but unwashed heathen. The old world leaders accepted the smallest of help but held rigid in their precepts. They became the Puritans and turned their noses up at the chiefs and the native people.

And this is where the story gets interesting. Because in this Thanksgiving story, the Puritans did not take over the New World. And they never would. The native people grew numerous and simply organized. Their mobility in the rough terrain was more nimble. The Puritans became outnumbered on a massive scale. They became walled in their fortresses of piety. The New World natives would forget about them and joke at the old world leaders' expense. The New World natives had tools that couldn't be defeated. When the tools weren't perfect, they tinkered with them and made them better. Heck, even a pitcher with one win over .500 won a Cy Young Award.

The Puritans held onto the wrong ideas. The New World natives knew that batting average meant little and neither did wins by a starting pitcher. Clutch was often random and small sample sizes were to be ignored. Data ruled the New World. And anyone with just a little sense could understand these New World ideas. Because they made sense. Oh, a few of the old world leaders were smart enough to adapt. The rest will die off of starvation and neglect. They may rant from a rooftop with what's left of their strength but few people are listening.

And so it was that even a poor native in the far-flung reaches of what became northern Maine could through the snow and ice find a way to attract over eleven thousand people to his tepee each month. While certainly not the sharpest tool in the native shed, this native is wise enough to not build a foundation on sand and stand rigid on ideas only partly understood. This New World still has a lot to teach us and this native will continue to strive to learn as many pathways through this land as possible.

For those of you who stop by to hear this old native speak, much thanks is given. To be able to write about something so loved is a wonderful thing. To be able to reach an audience is truly amazing and thanksgiving is every day. There is also much thanks to other natives that write so well and teach this old native so much. For one thing this old native understands is that art exists in the New World just as much as it did in the old world. And a powerful artist will always be appreciated.

Perhaps this retelling of an old story didn't hold true to the original. But it's this Fan's Thanksgiving story and this is this Fan's place. And that's the whole grand idea in the first place. 

1 comment:

Charles Simone said...

Fantastic story. Happy Thanksgiving.