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John Scalzi – Saying Thanksgiving Grace, the Science-fictional Way


Dear Great and Gracious Lord,

This Thanksgiving, we pause to reflect on all the bounty and good fortune with which you have graced us this year. Thank you, Lord, for this feast we have in front of us and for the family and friends who are with us today to enjoy this bounty and this day with us, even our Cousin Chet. Thank you for our health and for our happiness.

We also thank you for the world and that in your wisdom you have not stopped the Earth’s core from rotating, collapsing our planet’s magnetic field and causing microwaves from the sun to fry whole cities, requiring a plucky band of scientists to drill down through the mantle and start the core’s rotation with nuclear bombs. That seems like a lot of work, so we are pleased you’ve kept the Earth’s core as it is.

We also thank you for once again not allowing our technology to gain sentience, to launch our own missiles at us, to send a robot back in time to kill the mother of the human resistance, to enslave us all, and finally to use our bodies as batteries. That doesn’t even make sense from an energy-management point of view, Lord, and you’d think the robots would know that. But in your wisdom, you haven’t made it an issue yet, so thank you.

Additionally, let us extend our gratitude that this was not the
year that you allowed the alien armadas to attack, to rapaciously steal our
natural resources, and to feed on us, obliging us to make a
last-ditch effort to infect their computers with a virus, rely on
microbes to give them a nasty cold, or moisten them vigorously in
the hope that they are water-soluble. I think I speak for all of us
when I say that moistening aliens was not on the agenda for any of us
at this table. Thank you, Lord, for sparing us that duty.

Our
further thanks to you, our Lord, for not allowing the aliens to invade
one at a time and conquer us by taking us over on an individual
basis. That you in your wisdom have not allowed aliens to
quietly inhabit our bodies and identities — the better to attack us by
cornering us in the rec room or outside while having a smoke — means
that we can enjoy each other’s company without undue paranoia. It also
means that if we are obliged to set a flame thrower on Cousin Chet, as
we are sometimes tempted to, we will not see his flaming head sprout
arms and try to scurry away. And for that we are truly blessed.

Thank
you for not allowing the total moral and economic decline of the United
States, our Lord, that would turn one or more of our great cities into
a prison or spring any number of apocalyptic scenarios upon us that would turn our planet into a vasty wasteland where only dune
buggies and leather-clad miscreants have survived. It’s not that we
have anything against leather-clad miscreants — I refer you, Lord, to
the previously mentioned Cousin Chet — but we prefer them to be in the
minority, and also those dune buggies so rarely have seat belts — that’s just not safe.

Most specifically, thank you, Lord, for
not sending a large meteor or comet tumbling straight at the planet,
forcing the government to turn to oil-rig operators to save us all.
That oil rig in the Gulf this year didn’t exactly inspire confidence,
if you know what I mean, Lord. And while we know that humanity would
likely survive such a massive impact thanks to those underground cities
the government has built, we are not at all confident that any of us at
this table would get a pass into those cities, and we don’t have
either dune buggies or wardrobes made mostly of animal hide. So thank
you, Lord, for not making us worry about that this year.

Finally,
Lord, thank you for once again keeping the scientists from
bioengineering dinosaurs back to life. While the idea of a pterodactyl
with stuffing and all the trimmings seems like a good one at first
blush, getting past the raptors in the supermarket parking lot would
probably be a challenge, and we would end up having to stake one of our
own to the shopping-cart return so the rest of us could get past, and
I’m not sure that we could persuade Cousin Chet to do that more than
once.

For these and so many other things, Lord, we offer our
humble gratitude to you this Thanksgiving. However, I think I speak for
everyone when I say we would still like speeder bikes, so if you could
get someone to invent those by Christmas we would all be obliged. Amen.

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