11. Pepperoni: This is another fun excess that amounts to a fatty comfort food that I love. It tastes so good on everything that I can’t help but wanting just a little bit at the end of every day. Whether or not its on pizza, in sandwiches, or roasted over an open fire in camp, pepperoni is without question one of my all-time favorite foods.
12. Lactaid: when I was twenty-five years old I was rushed to the hospital twice before anyone realized that I had become lactose intolerant. I was faced with giving up all milk and cheese products in my life. It was going to be a terrible existence. Thanks to Lactaid I’ve been able to have pizza and ice cream and every other manner of tasty treat without really limiting myself. Becoming lactose intolerant had the potential to be life-changing. Lactaid changed it back and I’m very thankful for that.
13. Blueberries: There are currently two blueberry bushes on the side of our home in full bloom. And every so often Nancy lets me have one of the handful of berries that she is so excited to pick. They are fun to look at and fun to eat and they make Nancy extraordinarily happy. What could possibly be more worthy of my gratitude then they are?
14. The Buddha: It would seem that no axial sage got the message of enlightenment completely right, but where Jesus’ message is becoming ever more continuously corrupted, the Buddha’s message seems to evolve and adapt more faithfully to his original intent. I can’t say that I grew up in a Buddhist household but I’m certainly glad that I have become acquainted with the life of the Buddha and Buddhism in general since I have become an adult. Without his philosophy of nonattachment I’m just not sure where I’d be. Praise to Buddha.
15. Star Trek: No single thing taught me ethics and morals more than Star Trek. Perhaps it’s sad to say that a television show had more to do with the formation of my character than my parents did, but I believe that Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of the evolution of humanity was an idealistic one and one that I’m very lucky to have become acquainted with at a very young age. Whether or not it was race relations, or gender relations, war, addiction, leadership, or the value of the single life, Star Trek had the answers and was willing to share in a positive and entertaining way. And I was lucky enough to be listening at my most impressionable stages of development. Thanks, Gene, you are missed.