King David, back in the day, promulgated that all Jews should say 100 brachas (blessings) every day in order to thank G-d for all he has done for us.
Needless to say, I've been running a wee bit behind on my quota.
And then came Thanksgiving in New Jersey when I read a wee article in one of those poorly-edited, over exclamated!!!, full of local engagement/marriage/inside-baseball goings-on, Jewish community newspapers (that could easily have been the local Armenian, Italian or insert-ethnic-group-here community newspaper), wherein I was reminded of the 100 Blessings. It got me to thinking, maybe KD was onto something. Maybe by stopping and actually saying thank you 100 times a day, we'd not only create a different mental situation for ourselves but perhaps create a whole new reality in our relationships with others.
For example, the next day I was at a Shop Rite I've never been to before. I was buying acetaminophen for my still-twingeing back. I was irritated that I was wasting precious time at this stupid f'ing store looking for stupid f'ing store brand pain reliever and feeling simply incredulous that they could have set up the stupid f'ing store in such a profoundly idiotic and unintuitive way that I--oh great one I--could not find the logic in finally finding tylenol in the stupid f'ing dog food aisle. And just as I was at my most irritated, a really cute orthodox-looking guy walked past and smiled at me with his eyes. Not with his mouth. But he definitely smiled with his eyes in a totally non-flirty way. Just a nice, honest-to-goodness look of total contentment.
Now, follow my thought pattern, weird though it may be (although sadly indicative of how my mind works):
Oh, cute Orthodox dude at 3 o'clock!
If King David were alive today, would he be orthodox?
Black hat orthodox, even?
I bet King David had nice eyes
Oh yeah, the 100 Brachas
How am I doing at that?
I'm at negative 36 brachas today in this store alone
I'm a jerk
Thank you god for smiling eyes
Thank you god for giving me the health to walk through a Shop Rite like a slightly dialed-down Andy Rooney
Thank you god for Andy Rooney
Thank you god for aching backs--no, scratch that; brachas have to be honest and not catty toward the Creator
Thank you god for giving humans the intelligence and werewithal to invent acetaminophen for aching backs created by your sometimes no-good creations who dump blueberries on people's front steps
Okay, brachas cannot be backhanded; try again
Thank you god for tylenol.
Now just let me get out of here and I'll thank you for competent cashiers.
Yeah. It ain't pretty.
Clearly I didn't magically turn into a nicer person because I tried to be thankful--truly thankful--100 times a day. But I did force myself to get over petty stuff much sooner than if I hadn't had the impetus to move on to the blessing after the cursin'. So maybe if we all do that: try to put the minor stuff that can be a major irritant aside for just a moment--to be thankful, for example, that we have a damn car at all that can be stuck in traffic while we try to drive to a chi chi restaurant to have dinner with someone who loves us, then maybe we can declutter our minds of all the stuff that doesn't matter and refill it with the stuff that does.
Like cute young boys smiling at you as you scowl at the Puppy Chow.