Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

from A Year of Morning Thanks

"Default behavior"

“Default behavior matters a great deal,” the man on the radio said, seriously.

What a great phrase—“default behavior.” It’s what we do if we’re not jarred out of doing it, because we’ve always done it, by rote and by preference.

“Default behavior,” a phrase we’ve picked up from our computers, is my writing one of these thank-you notes every morning. Default behavior, for me, is going to the gym right now and working out, is brushing my teeth, is washing one’s face, and eating a bagel or crunching whatever dry cereal is in my cupboard because I bought it on sale. Default behavior is what we do almost as if without thinking at all.

Default behavior is what my wife and I prefer more and more, the older we get. Patterns get lovely, traditions get dear, quiet nights at home get comforting. "Same old, same old" has begun to sound pretty darn good. Not only that, we get resentful when, for whatever reason, we don’t get to practice our "default behavior."

Some people might consider it a rut, I suppose--this "default behavior." It's what ties us down, what keeps us from thinking outside the envelope. Default behavior is what we practice ritually in those areas some call our comfort zones, those playgrounds others of us don't necessarily want to be liberated from.

I like the line. So I'll just exercise my default behavior and hang it up this morning.

Here goes. This morning I’m thankful for new words or phrases that get at the very heart of what I know is true, phrases like “default behavior.”

There, I said it, my morning thanks--my default behavior.

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