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Shell Shocked: Count your blessings legally — or lose your turkey

By ART STEVENS - | Nov 17, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Art Stevens

Another Thanksgiving is almost upon us and millions of families will be gathering throughout Sanibel and the rest of the country to count their blessings. Some families will claimed a total of thirty-two blessings, while others will claim upwards of 1,000.

Why is there such a disparity over the number of blessings we count? Because some families are faking blessings record keeping, that’s why. I wonder if they realize the penalty against faking the number of blessings reported? Exaggerated blessings reporting is punishable by prohibiting the sale of turkeys to such families for a five-year period. Think about that when you cite eating your morning corn flakes as a blessing.

We need to better define blessings so that there is a set standard for blessings counting in this country. Just how should blessings be counted? We must first define blessings. And to do so we turn to a long forgotten U.S. Supreme court decision — “Texas versus Blessings.”

The case was initially adjudicated in a lower Texas court around the turn of the 20th century which allowed one blessing to be counted six times. This meant that each Texas family that counted its blessings each Thanksgiving was given far more credit than it deserved. But this was the Texas way to make everything bigger and better.

Neighboring states filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas claiming that families in their states were deprived of their civil rights because by law they couldn’t count as many blessings as their counterparts in Texas.

The attorneys representing the state of Texas claimed that it was perfectly legal to count “blessings in disguise” as part of the total blessings scorecard. The plaintiffs representing the neighboring states cited a New Jersey statute which restricted the use of blessings in disguise because they couldn’t be recognized as legitimate blessings.

The lead attorney argued that “a blessing in disguise is not intended to be recognized or identified. Therefore, it is improvident to include them in any legitimate blessings tally.”

The Supreme Court ruled that it is illegal to purposely increase the number of blessings counted by each family. Logs of blessings must be kept and they are subject to review by federal blessings counters, agents specially trained to see through blessings subterfuge.

Each blessing cannot be counted more than once and must meet the strict criteria of blessings definition as outlined by the Supreme Court: That a blessing can only count if joy and happiness are brought to a family. Specious blessings, such as your football team winning the Super Bowl, does not count as a blessing. It counts as satisfaction which is not in the official definition of a blessing.

The U.S. Justice Department has initiated a covert operation known as “BAB,” or the Blessings Adjustment Bureau. Its mission is to maintain the integrity of Thanksgiving by clamping down on illegal blessings counting. It has the authority to send moles to Thanksgiving dinners and suspend turkey consumption if untrue, forged or fabricated blessings are presented.

The BAB points out that it is merely following the letter of the law in limiting baseless and unprovable blessings. And it cautions the public at large that if any American family dares to present illegal blessings there will be turkeys to pay.