I used to like the month of November. It was a low pressure month. Sure, there’s the whole cooking a gargantuan meal that will take you two days to prepare and be consumed in under 15 minutes because a football game is starting but besides that your only really “must do” is help your kid’s clean out their Halloween candy baskets.
Now November has been ruined. It’s become the show off month. 30 days of “look at me, look at me” where the boastful pummel social media with a flurry of blustery prose disguised as gratitude posts. In an attempt to decipher what all this “gratitude” really means I’ve done extensive research analyzing these posts and have been able to discern through a complex matrix of psychological and environmental evaluations a code to help you translate what the gratitude poster is really saying.
The “I am thankful for such a loving and supportive spouse”: The spouse post usually kicks off the gratitude season and you can expect to see at least five spousal related posts in November – each one getting mushier and/or making the reader feel more uncomfortable as the month progresses. The serial “I love my spouse” poster is usually motivated by one of three emotions or a combination there of 1) He/She is having conflicted feelings about the old ball and chain and hopes that the act of proclaiming how much they love their spouse just might make it so. 2) He/She feels guilty about something related to the marriage and uses the gratitude posts as a way to minimize their shame. In the scientific community we call this the “eraser effect” and find the more heinous the spousal guilt the more lovey dovey the posts as if the person is attempting to expunge their marital malfeasance by an inordinate amount of Facebook/Twitter hugs and kisses. 3) He/She is married to a self-esteemed challenged individual and to keep crying jags and pharmaceutical usage to a minimum must constantly be cooing and wooing their lesser half on the social media stage.
The Hallelujah poster: The repeat “I love Jesus” gratituder is trying to let us all know that they not only attend church, but are leaders of at least two bible studies, co-teachers of Sunday morning worship lessons, sing in the choir, and are a guiding member of the Spiritual Formation Committee. What they don’t want you to know is that they have a “Shades of Gray” level crush on their minister, work the sanctuary like a Walmart greeter because they need to up their Arbonne sales figures and use church as a socially acceptable way to escape their family.
The “I love my family” gusher: This continuous stream of familial praise is often a disguise for less than stellar happenings on the home front. In fact, our research shows that the more grandiose the gratitudish compliments, specifically pertaining to teenage sons and daughters, the more likely the chance that child has recently been suspended from school or has a court appearance in their near future. Any use of a “click here if you love your son or daughter” post on Facebook increases the likely hood of an impending court date to 95%.
The Traveloguer: This poster uses November as an opportunity to share their vacation pictures (again) on social media. The gratitude posts usually go something like this: “I am so grateful for my family’s opportunity to see the world and experience different cultures.” No matter that they went to Disneyworld because there’s Epcot and that counts – right? Each day is a new thankful vacay ditty accompanied by no less than four pictures. A psychological profile of this type of poster reveals a deep-seated need to justify the cost of their vacation by forcing themselves and “friends” to re-live the “good times” every month.
The “I’m Rich in So Many Ways” list maker: This gratitude post is really a list better suited to share with an insurance company and/or police department in case of a robbery or home invasion. The poster with methodical precision takes you on a tour of their possessions from their 7,500 square foot Mediterranean style home complete with wine cellar to their “I am so thankful for my amazing closet with a Swarovski crystal chandelier and designer handbag cubbies.” What the poster is really grateful for is that the bank has given the family one more month to get up to date on their mortgage. The poster is also honing his/her skills writing product descriptions just in case an Ebay auction of a “few non-essential personal items” is needed.
The Selfie: Beware of this gratituder. Research shows the Selfie possesses an attitude disorder called “Oversharing Dysmorphia” or in layman’s terms “I’m 45 but still hot. Here are the pictures to prove it.” This disorder is known to affect both the male and female of the species. It usually manifests itself in a series of selfies accompanied by a compliment lamely disguised as a gratitude post as in, “I am soooo thankful for my trainer because he helped me get this amazing set of 6 pack abs! oxoxoxo” Mental health care professionals advise that you delete or hide the “Selfie” during November in order to minimize your own anger management issues.
The All in One: Slowly back away from your computer screen, tablet or smart phone if you encounter the All in One. They are armed and dangerous and have been known to inflict brutal pain and suffering to your visual cortex and are so infused with their own B.S. and deeply hidden (like core of the earth deep) self loathing they could implode at any moment. The All in One is the gratitude poster who has the gift of employing all six aforementioned poster traits in one status update as in – “I am beyond grateful for the eternal blessings of the Lord who daily smiles on me and my wonderful, handsome, triathlete husband who is such an awesome 7 figure provider for our family. Everyday I give thanks for our gated community of million dollar plus homes and my amazing twins who have attended four different private Christian high schools and now are doing mission work by enrolling in the local public alternative school. I rejoice and give glory to my maker and trainer (LOL) that at age 46 I still get mistaken for 25. If you don’t believe me here’s a vacation photo from our summer home in Hawaii. P.S. So not photoshopped. #nofilter. Is God good or what?”
Now that you’re armed with this scientific data go forth and enjoy the November cornucopia of social media and be grateful for your new found skills of deciphering the gratitude code.
**For more Snarky check out my book Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.
Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.