20 Things I'm Thankful For
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – 1. Turkey. Most of the time you eat it sliced up in a sandwich, but once a year you get to tear into a mound of meat the size of a poodle. That takes us back to the days when a person's cave was his castle and the largest corporation was the one that went out hunting for mammoth. It's good to get in touch with that, because things haven't changed much since then.

2. My office. It's not a cubicle or an area; it's a blessedly enclosed space, far from any person who might, on a whim, walk in in bad humor and yell at me. It's important for an office to be both in the middle of the action and far away from it, and that's what mine is like. Lots of Sturm, very little Drang.

3. My desk, which is large and has many drawers whose contents will be disgorged only upon my physical or professional death.

4. My door. Life would be unthinkable without it. I would be like a sore that never stops getting picked at.

5. My couch. Sometimes, in the middle of a long summer afternoon, when the phones have stopped ringing and the weekend beckons, I lie down on it and enjoy an overwhelming thankfulness for ...

6. Quiet. As in the absence of sound. I treasure its presence until, inevitably, it is blown up.

7. Warm autumn days. We'll be having more of them, thanks to the failure to control global warming. It's nice to walk in the park with the sun warming the top of your head, the trees still full of leaves ... in December.

8. My boss. I'm not going to make a big deal about it, but the guy's been good to me over the years, even when he didn't have to and it wasn't particularly advantageous to him personally, a rare thing for a business executive.

9. I am outlandishly appreciative of each and every gizmotic marvel I possess. My BlackBerry, for instance, which is now blue and acts like a weird, flat, bloated cellphone. It has a color screen, and you can play with it a lot of different ways, which I've found is an excellent means of passing the time when you'd prefer not to be working but to look as though you are.

10. My cellphone, which I have not abandoned in favor of the oddball BlueBerry, has an excellent video and still camera built right in. People can't tell you're taking their picture, which is neat. It also connects to the web to provide maps and travel directions when you need them. The other day I found out how to drive from my office in New York City to my office in Los Angeles. It took 22 steps and involved Wyoming. You see what's possible during budget meetings?

11. Speaking of which, I'm thankful for my pal Bob, who is our controller and has pulled my bacon out of the fire more times than I can say. Hi, Bob!

12. Did I mention my laptop? It's a new Apple Powerbook G4, and last month I went across the country doing nothing but playing music I downloaded before they killed Napster. I'm thankful I have those MP3s too, even though I'm sorry that Beethoven and Fats Waller aren't enjoying all the royalties they would have if I'd paid the record companies $20 for a CD.

13. The little birdies that play outside our building. They do not sow, neither do they reap, but they are the one form of wildlife that I'm likely to see during a given workweek, unless you count squirrels, which I do not.

14. Re-reading No. 13, I realize that it's quite possible I'm losing my mind. I'm glad that for the most part I'm not aware it's happening.

15. I'm thankful that this year I had to attend far fewer formal presentations with Powerpoint support than I did in the mid-1990s, when they were at their height, and consequently I did not fall asleep in any meetings, unless you count that session with the sensitivity trainers at the retreat in Phoenix last April.

16. I'm thankful to have been invited to the retreat in Phoenix last April, and even more thankful that I'm going to the next one, which I think will be at Pebble Beach in February!

17. I'm thankful that the SEC's crackdown on white-collar criminals has been so fruitful and has gotten Martha Stewart off the street.

18. I'm grateful for Ed and Fred and Betty and Brad and Elaine and Moesha and Larry and Harry and Barry and Ralph, all of whom work for me and seem pretty pleased to do so. They make me look good, and I appreciate it, because the harder they work, the less I have to, and that's what management is about.

19. I am thankful that the cities to which I travel are still standing, for now. I don't look at a skyline anywhere in the world in exactly the same way. I guess once you can't take things for granted anymore, you appreciate them more.

20. My expense account. Long may it wave! But, you know, responsibly!

Stanley Bing's new book, Sun Tzu Was a Sissy: Conquer Your Enemies, Promote Your Friends, and Wage the REAL Art of War (HarperBusiness), is available at finer bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at stanleybing@aol.com.