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Verner column: A partially bionic man gives full thanks

Things I’m thankful for this year: – I’m thankful my friend Pete found his true love and remarried at age 58. It’s reassuring to know that Internet romances can have a happy ending, and sometimes the bald geezer gets the girl.
– I’m thankful my friend Billie found another newspapering job in Colorado after her previous newspapering job in Colorado came to an end when the newspaper folded. These days, most of us have learned to look at journalism as seasonal employment, like harvesting tomatoes or following the carnival circuit. Even so, it probably offers more stability than Billie’s backup plan: Moving to Nevada to open a combination brothel/water-pipe bar called “The Happy Hookah.”
– I’m thankful I finally got around to reading Russell Shorto’s “The Island at the Center of the World,” a fascinating account of the founding of New Amsterdam and what would become modern-day Manhattan. When it comes to the nation’s early history, the Puritans and Pilgrims had the best press agents, while the Dutch were relegated to musty footnotes in funny shoes. Along with giving us van Gogh, good cigars and Amstel beer, the Dutch contributed greatly to the spirit of religious tolerance, representative government and capitalism. If not for the Dutch, New York City would simply be another Boston.
– I’m thankful that Sarah “Going Rogue” Palin has given media pundits and talking heads something new to obsess about. Love her or hate her, the moose-stalker from Wasilla is a lot more interesting than Harry Reid and a 2,000-page health-care bill.
– I’m thankful for implants. No, not that kind. A broken tooth recently gave me new appreciation for the wonders of modern dentistry ó and the affinity between bone and titanium. I now have a screw in my jawbone and a new tooth. I figure I’m gradually becoming the bionic man, one bicuspid at a time. So what if a single tooth cost more than my first two automobiles? If anybody suggests I ought to put my money where my mouth is, I can honestly say I have.
– I’m thankful for S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford. Mainly, I’m thankful that he’s governor of South Carolina, not North Carolina. I’ll say this much for former Gov. Mike Easley: When he entered into a sweetheart relationship, at least he was jetting around with Rick Hendrick and not jetting off for a rendezvous with some Argentinian heartthrob. Nobody enjoys witnessing the breakup of a family, yet Sanford’s marital saga is one of the more fascinating stories in recent memory, combining politics, betrayal, meditations on soul mates ó and steamy e-mail messages. It could be the basis for a scintillating TV miniseries ó or at least a twangy country-music song.
– I’m thankful for the minor compensations that come with getting older. Items that have been in my wardrobe for 20 years are now coming back into style, although I did finally give up on the suede bell-bottoms and Nehru jacket. I no longer feel compelled to apologize for forgetting names. Plus, there are the discounts. An acquaintance called me the other day to relate this happy news: He had just turned 60 and was downright giddy to learn he could now get 10-percent off on his Viagra.
– I’m thankful for all of the people who serve on local elected boards. While this extends to all of our city and town councils, I’m especially grateful for those who offer themselves up for the county commission and the school board. The broader the constituency, the more difficult the task of reconciling the competing interests of differing groups. If you think it’s challenging to keep tribal warfare from erupting at large family gatherings, try your hand at school redistricting or choosing a site for a new jail.
Have a happy and safe holiday.
– – –
Chris Verner is the editorial page editor for the Salisbury Post.

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