I was sitting in the service department of my Toyota dealer, staring at a book without seeing it as I waited for my car. God was next to me, watching “The Price is Right.”
“Eight-hundred forty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents,” he said.
“Huh?” I said.
“The retail price of a stainless-steel Kenmore 4.2 cubic foot freestanding gas range,” said God, pointing to the television.
On the screen, an excited young woman blurted, “Twelve hundred dollars!”
Drew Carey looked sad for her as he revealed the price. God shook his head. “I tried to tell her,” he said. “If people would only listen to me …”
“Oh,” I said, and returned to the book I wasn’t reading.
God regarded me a moment. Then he said, “Transmission?”
I looked up. “What?”
God said, “I asked if you brought the car in because your transmission went blooey. Obviously, something’s got you down.”
I sighed and closed the book. “Trump,” I said.
“The guy that’s going to be our new president,” I said.
“Oh yeah,” said God. “With the hair, right?”
“Yeah,” I said. “That guy.”
“Well, what about him?”
On the screen above us, some man had Drew Carey in a bear hug. I sighed. “He’s the worst excuse for a leader I’ve ever seen,” I said. “What kind of ‘president’ spends his time whining about how he’s treated on ‘Saturday Night Live’? Or has to pay out $25 million to resolve a fraud case en route to inauguration? Not to mention that he’s assembling a cabinet only a Klansman could love.”
“Frightening,” said God.
“Yes,” I said. “Now here it is Thanksgiving and I find that, well, I’m just not feeling very thankful.”
God was incredulous. “But look at all I’ve given you. You’ve got that great wife, you have a house, you have health and you’ve got that new granddaughter toddling around.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Of course, I’m thankful for all that. But the country…”
“You should thank me for the country, too,” he said.
“How?” I said. “Like I just told you, there’s nothing to be thankful for.”
“I disagree,” said God. “I did some of my better work here.”
“Oh?” I said. “Which part? The bigotry, the stupidity or the misogyny?”
God gave me a level look. “You’re angry,” he said.
“Yeah,” I admitted. “I probably will be for the next few years.”
“Why?” asked God.
“Why?! Didn’t you hear what I said about the dope we elected? About the Masters of Evil he’s surrounding himself with? I expect better from this country.”
“You expect better,” said God. On the screen above, some lady shrieked and bit her fingernails as the Big Wheel spun.
“Yeah,” I said. “I do.”
“And what gives you this expectation?”
“This is America,” I said.
God laughed. “You people always say that word like a magic spell,” he said. “But there is no magic in it. Certainly no guarantee. You may expect better in America only because here, you have the freedom to demand better – and to work toward better. That’s all ‘America’ means. You had that freedom before this Trump person was elected, and you have it still. Not everyone does.”
“So you’re saying the fight to form a more perfect union is always ongoing? And that even in our current predicament we can draw strength from knowing that? You’re saying that God abides even now, and that these are things to be grateful for on Thanksgiving Day?”
God smiled. “I’m saying thanksgiving is not a day.”
“Wow,” I said. “I never thought about it like that.”
“You’re welcome,” said God.
Leonard Pitts Jr.’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.