Obstinate and Pliable

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

What profit hath a man of all his (Thanksgiving) labour which he taketh under the sun?

Posted by John on November 23, 2007

When I first saw my oldest child this morning, he told me

“Once again, another Thanksgiving has come and gone.”

He was, of course, exactly right. Despite the hours of prep that we put in yesterday, the emotional buzz from our family-style Thanksgiving had quickly faded overnight. We were already mentally back to our pre-Holiday routine. He was experiencing his own pre-school version of the hedonic treadmill, or our psychological tendency to revert back to our baseline emotional state after we have good experiences, like, say a Thanksgiving feast.

I think the particular phraseology that my son used was telling. It seems to come from his recent repeated viewings of Peanuts holiday specials on TV. (I can hear in my head Linus sighing and saying: ‘Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, Charlie Brown.’) Charlie Brown is emblematic of a world weary character facing continuous disappointment. I imagine that it all would have been familiar to this guy, someone who knew all about the limitations of huge turkey dinners or any other form of hedonism.

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