I know that this is the season to count your blessings. The blessings list is, after all, one of the few you can fill without a credit card. But having grown up prepared for the worst - sort of like the Defense Department - I always get nervous counting up (or on) the best. The minute I actually list a blessing, I'm convinced the big eraser in the sky will come down and wipe it off.
For that, and other reasons having to do with the evil eye, I feel much more comfortable compiling a list of the things I have been blessed without.
At this time of year, I therefore like to ponder all the wonderful things that I Have Not, Did Not and Am Not.
I feel, for example, enormously grateful that I did not spend Thanks-giving dinner with Larry Flynt. I am blessed because Donnie Osmond is not by brother, Jon Peters in not my barber and Janey Jimenez is not my biographer.
I am grateful that I have not been able to trace my own family's roots back beyond my great-great uncle - the one my grandmother used to refer to endearingly as "Sam the Bum." (Over the years, she shortened this to "Sambum.")
I am blessed that I am not dating Pete Hamill, because I couldn't stand the competition; not dating Jerry Brown, because I couldn't stand the expense of paying for both of us; and not dating Ralph Nader, because I could not stand the rejection.
I am lucky to be neither a Cosmo Girl nor a Total Woman, because if I were I would have to dress like that.
I am lucky not to be Elizabeth Taylor because then I would be married to John Warner, and I could not stand his attention. (I could not, for that matter, stand at his attention.) I am particularly content not to have heard in recent months about Renee Richards. Fanne Fox, Liz Ray, Farah Fawcett-Majors or Bill Loud. Or Pat Loud. Or the Little Louds.
And of course, I count among my blessings the fact that I didn't spend Christmas with Larry Flynt, either.
There are many other items that stir my soul to song:
I don't bank with Bert or booze with Billy.
I have not had to fill out a sex questionnaire.
Not every white rat has gotten cancer.
Not every piece of clothing has a designer's name on it.
Richard Nixon has not been born again. Yet.
Fred Schafly didn't want his wife to run for the Senate.
The Evel Knievel doll has been relegated to the discount bin.
I am, fortunately, not as insecure as the woman in the Oil of Olay ad - "When did you first realize you looke older?" - or as secure as the women in the mink ads - "What Becomes a Legend Most?" Modesty?
I am grateful that I have not "lowered my expectations," "gone back to basics," started taking Geritol or nread one single memoir by a Watergate prisoner. I have also not bought a self-help book, or had an encounter of the third kind.
Furthermore, I have not been involved in a "creative divorce" or an "open marriage," and someone has driven a stake throught the heart of the last "meaningful relationship." I have not been to a dinner party at which people discussed the Panama Canal. Allan Bakke's name has not appeared on my dance card. Not once.
As if all this weren't enough to fill my days with Joy to the World, I have a full year during which Henry Kissinger was replaced in the hearts and minds of the American people by Artoo Deetoo. And no one has tried to analyse it.
Finally, I am blessed right to the end, because I am not spending New Year's Eve with Larry Flynt.