With typical American efficiency, this country has appointed one day out of the year on which we're supposed to give thanks. We bow our heads and say a blessing, eat a big dinner, and then it's time to move on and get back to more important things, like squabbling over the TV remote.
But I've been counting my blessings, and it seems to me that, besides the fact that the Native Americans came to dinner with some lovely hostess gifts instead of kicking the pilgrims' butts out of their country, we have a lot to be thankful for every day of the year.
For one thing, I'm glad Thanksgiving is over so that our nation's retailers can fully focus on getting ready for the Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa celebration, and those decorations that have been appearing in the stores since last Valentine's Day can now be seen in their full glory without distracting competition from any lesser holidays.
But my gratitude list doesn't stop there. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things that currently make me glad to be alive:
* Nobody has yet cleaned Saddam Hussein's clock, but at least finally everybody all over the world knows what a bad guy he really is and how he wants to poison everybody with a deadly chemical made from beans. Now I know what those ladies in hairnets in my high school cafeteria were really up to.
* The crime rate is down. I attribute that directly to the TV program "America's Most Wanted." It seems that in America we finally figured out what to do about crime--we turned it into entertainment and sold commercial spots during it. Who says it doesn't pay?
* On the other hand, Boston au pair Louise Woodward reportedly has declined offers to sell her story to the tabloids.
* Quentin Tarantino has been sued for assault and battery by producer Don Murphy, whom he allegedly attacked in a West Hollywood restaurant. Murphy had agreed not to file charges but said he changed his mind after Tarantino "boasted of his attack" on "The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show." It's not clear whether the bantamweight former video store employee hummed or sang "Stuck in the Middle With You" during the attack, but rumor has it he requested that Harvey Keitel come in and clean up afterward.
* In other legal news, annoyingly untalented '60s leftover Peter Max has been accused of cheating the IRS and may have to serve jail time. Let's see how those rainbows look as tattoos.
* As yet, there have been no reported cases of mad cow disease in the hamburger-lovin' United States.
* Kathie Lee Gifford is out of the sweatshop business and has time to turn her attention to abuses closer to home.
* If legislation goes as planned by the French Socialist government, soon all French workers will have a state-mandated 35-hour workweek, leaving them an extra five hours a week for testing nuclear weapons on remote Pacific atolls, inventing different cheeses and thinking up other ways to embarrass Americans besides liking Jerry Lewis and awarding the Legion d'Honneur to Sharon Stone.
* McDonald's has no plans to market any James Bond action figures in conjunction with the release of "Tomorrow Never Dies."
* Miramax co-chairman Bob Weinstein and director Wes Craven vow that after "Scream 3," there will be no more "Scream" sequels. "I won't be part of 'Scream 4, 5 or 6,' " agrees writer Kevin Williamson. Finally, someone in Hollywood shows some integrity.
* By this time next year, there will be a total moratorium on news stories about El Nin~o.
* Democratic fund-raisers apparently sold only 10 plots of land in Arlington National Cemetery in return for campaign contributions from people who the Armed Forces don't think have a right to be buried there. When you think how many dead people there are in the world, 10's not so many, though it does give new meaning to the old joke: "Who's buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier."
* Nicolas Cage is Superman!