My friend Jimmy says all the time, “If I’m not grateful, I sure ought to be.” I’m thinking he’s wrong. I mean, seriously, what is there to be grateful for? It’s Nov. 19, and the weather is not even fall like. I’ve been so warm during the day that I am wearing shorts as I head to the Third Street Promenade for lunch with my friends.

This time of year I should be in long underwear, heavy jeans, wool socks, boots, a sweater and an overcoat with some goofy knit hat so that I end up looking like an obese Michelin Man. The joy of that attire is not to be underrated. After all, as you try to stay warm when you’re outside, as soon as you are inside you start to sweat like a Swede in a sauna. That temperature change is supposedly good for your health.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to be so grateful for all the people who keep invading our city on the weekends. Don’t they know it’s so crowded that no one comes here anymore? Kids these days have no memory of Yogi Berra, America’s greatest philosopher.

Jimmy is always so grateful about having a roof over his head and food on the table, but doesn’t he realize how hard it is to choose a good restaurant in this town? It takes me half an hour to figure out if I want Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, Polish, Jewish, Mexican, California fusion cuisine (whatever that is), steakhouse, seafood, raw, vegan, European, classic American diner or Mediterranean.

He thinks it’s awesome that there are so many choices for housing these days thanks to the opening of all these new apartment buildings, with more to come. The nice part of that is people are getting confused on where to pick up friends, so they just pick up strangers and make new friends.

I agree with him that it is a good thing we have regulated those taxicabs though, they needed it. It was hellish trying to figure out which local cab company I wanted to give my money to. It’s much better to have a very few large organizations in charge to regulate their drivers. After all, if Santa Monica doesn’t stand for heavy government control of business, who will?

Which is why those legal skirters over at Lyft need to be on alert in town. They take all the worry out of getting a cab. We can now just go online and get anyone nearby who wants to make some extra money to pick me up, and the city doesn’t get a dime. This lawlessness must come to an end. They should be crushed under the heavy boot of the City Council, just like the small, locally-owned taxicab companies were.

So, if you can’t tell by now, I’m being sarcastic about all of that. As Thanksgiving approaches we have a ton of things to be grateful for in our city.

Yes, we have our growing pains. Yes, I’m not happy about them. But the fact is that growth and progress is rarely painless. In my own life, if I want to change something for the better I have to give up something that has become comfortable and familiar. The discomfort of the new will fade, and then it will be the comfortable and familiar.

I don’t like the fact that Norms is gone and that what will replace it will be a monolith of rabbit warrens, but there may be a new restaurant on the ground floor that I love. I don’t know.

Years ago I didn’t like the fact that the old Pioneer Boulangerie was sold, and turned into a rabbit warren of apartments and retail spaces. But the large crowds I see at the M Street Kitchen and Stella Barra nightly, tells me that a very large contingent of people do like the change.

I have a roof over my head. I’ve only intentionally skipped a meal for diet’s sake, and I daily get to see the ocean and enjoy the quality of fresh sea air. My life here is better than 99 percent of the world.

If you’re not grateful this Thanksgiving, you sure ought to be. Look at the Philippines, Syria, India, Cyprus or even closer to home. The tornadoes in the Midwest have devastated large swaths of the country; Indiana, Illinois and Missouri all have major damage.

We live in a paradise, and we should be darn grateful for it. This Thanksgiving do something nice for someone you don’t know and who is in a worse financial place than you. You can afford it.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.



David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father’s and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.

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