I've been at this online stuff a long time. Since 1998 I've been involved in message boards and websites devoted to the horror genre. It's been a long road that has not been without pitfalls. I've made great friends, had amazing opportunities, and have had miraculous things happen because of my online activities. I've also had some awful experiences. It's like real life in that way: It can't all be good.

One tradition I've had for many years is to post Robert A. Heinlein's short essay, This I Believe, for Thanksgiving. I don't believe that this piece was written for Thanksgiving, or any other holiday, but it always seemed fitting to me to post it at this time of year.

Cynics scoff at holidays, and I've done it myself. People using a holiday as an excuse to act in other than their usual bastardly ways. I'm all right with that. The frantic pace of our everyday lives make it incredibly difficult to remember that most of us have a lot to be thankful about. I'm sure there are exceptions, but we have our legs that enable us to walk and discover new things. We have roofs over our heads, and plentiful food to eat. Clean water to drink. Friends and family.

Sure, we can't afford all the nifty books that the small press tempt us with, but that's all right too. Do we really need deluxe volumes for our reading pleasure? I think not.

The world sucks in so many ways, but we can watch our beloved movies in uncut, widescreen prints on DVDs. We can find nearly any book we'd like to read, thanks to the Internet. Great music of every style is available at our fingertips. The nature of distribution is changing, and I'm not happy about that. Right now I'm not complaining too much about that. It's not the time to dwell over what we don't have, or what we are losing, but instead concentrate on the things we can still cherish.

I'm grateful that Horror Drive-In have survived for nearly five years. I'm grateful for the friends I've made at the forum, and the writers and artists whose work has graced the site. The reviewers who generously have given their time. Everyone that participates at the forum or has sent me an email. And also everyone that checks in to read the content here. I'm not mentioning any names. There are too many to list here.

It's been a bumpy road, but a wild ride. Thanks for joining me on it.

And without any further ado, I present This I Believe, by Robert A. Heinlein.


I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them. I believe in my neighbors. I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults. "Take Father Michael down our road a piece. I'm not of his creed, but I know that goodness and charity and lovingkindness shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike. If I'm in trouble, I'll go to him.

My next-door neighbor is a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat. No fee--no prospect of a fee--I believe in Doc.

I believe in my townspeople. You can know on any door in our town saying, 'I'm hungry,' and you will be fed. Our town is no exception. I've found the same ready charity everywhere. But for the one who says, 'To heck with you - I got mine,' there are a hundred, a thousand who will say, "Sure, pal, sit down."

I know that despite all warnings against hitchhikers I can step up to the highway, thumb for a ride and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, 'Climb in Mac - how far you going?'

I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime yet for every criminal there are 10,000 honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not so, no child would live to grow up. Business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but is a force stronger than crime. I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses and the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land.

I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.

I believe that almost all politicians are honest. . .there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true we would never have gotten past the 13 colonies.

I believe in Rodger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River. I believe in -- I am proud to belong to -- the United States. Despite shortcomings from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.

And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow, white, black, red, brown. In the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth. That we always make it just by the skin of our teeth, but that we will always make it. Survive. Endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from the apes will endure. Will endure longer than his home planet -- will spread out to the stars and beyond, carrying with him his honesty and his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage and his noble essential decency.

This I believe with all my heart.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone. Eat too much, drink too much, but remember to be thankful for what you have.

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