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Oh, goodness! That headline could suggest a worrisome gesture for a newspaper's editorial page. Blame our affection for alliteration and the annual Thanksgiving meanderings on this page yesterday that displaced our usual "Thursday thumbs."

We have it on good authority that the thumb is, indeed, a finger. Ah, but we also have plenty of authorities who finger their noses -- no, that should be thumb their noses -- at the very concept. A thumb is a digit, the latter group says, but not a finger.

Let's adopt a policy of inclusion. We appreciate thumbs immensely. Who can oppose the opposable? For the purposes of clarity in event of emergency, we'd of course recommend describing to the ER doctor that the patient smashed his "thumb" in a car door, rather than a "finger." That would diminish the risk of a mistake by 80 percent.

But in editorial writing, there's no danger of delayed medical treatment, so, yes, today our digital feedback will come in the form of Friday's fingers, all of which will look amazingly like the Thursday thumbs. If we're ever forced to publish these on a Tuesday, however, we'll draw the line at "Tuesday's tentacles."

In the spirit of Thanksgiving thumbs, however, today we'll offer a few belated notions of things worthy of thanks.

Today, Razorback fans, is the final day of a brutal football season that cost the University of Arkansas another head coach and a lot of folks attending football games that, once upon a time, were not-to-be-missed affairs among fans. While we wish the team luck with today's contest against the Missouri Tigers at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, we are indeed thankful this season is coming to an end. That means a new head coach will be named soon. That means the beginning of what we hope will be a renewal of a college football team that has every reason to be proud of its history. The Hogs will have lots to prove and nobody to look to but themselves to do the proving. No, Arkansas has never maintained an Alabama-like dynasty -- few teams have -- but the university has a great history of fielding teams full of players willing to play like a "wild band of Razorback hogs," as coach Hugo Bezdek said in 1909. It's our hope the players, in the great adversity of 2019's season, have found something of themselves upon which to build future success in life. For fans, we hope the coming years will give them all plenty to celebrate and reason to forget this entire season.

Perhaps it's hard to see as good news, but The Associated Press reported this week that more college students are turning to their schools for help dealing with mental health challenges. The news agency reviewed records from three dozen public universities showing a stronger demand for mental health services in the last few years. What's good about that? Well, anytime someone who is hurting or facing difficulties in their thinking reaches out for help, it's a positive step. It means they've overcome the social stigma that over the years has kept many people from seeking the help they need. Acknowledging the need is a major achievement toward getting better. Alas, though, the growing numbers may also indicate it's not just a growing willingness to self-report, but evidence of more students having experiences that make them feel they need assistance through counseling or other treatment. We're thankful more universities are building their capacity to respond to students in need.

Let us give thanks for people who sometimes are on the receiving end of critical opinions on this page, but without whom our local communities would, generally speaking, be much worse off. We're talking about neighbors who embrace the challenges and responsibility of running for public office and serving once elected. It's not an easy task, putting yourself "out there" knowing that for almost every substantial decision, some people will be thrilled and others will be dejected and unhappy. Every community, county and region needs top-notch people willing to step up in leadership. We particularly applaud those who understand their obligation to serve the people who elected them by conducting themselves in the most ethical ways, with a devotion to transparency. News coverage is regularly filled with the transgressions of people in public office who forget their time in office should be about public service. Meanwhile, hundreds of others toil away with serious commitment and integrity. We're thankful for their service.

Likewise, we're appreciative of the nonprofit organizations who are engaged in making our communities better places to live by addressing a plethora of needs that would go largely unmet except for their existence and determination. Local and national nonprofits address everything from people who face life with disabilities to those who are homeless, from development of bike trails to support for the arts and education, from the care and opportunities of children and youth to the services vital to the aged. You name it and there's a nonprofit group out there working toward betterment. Which reminds us: Dec. 3 is designated as this year's Giving Tuesday, marking its eighth year as a promoted opportunity and reminder for us all to contribute and support organizations that are making an difference. If your own house is in financial order, why not look on this holiday season as an opportunity for generosity. If it's not, why not set your mind to the actions necessary to get on a strong financial foundation so that giving isn't just a wish, but a wonderful reality. And, of course, all of us can give of our time and talents.

Hopefully, the millions of people traveling this Thanksgiving made it to their holiday destinations safe and sound, but if it was a normal day, Thursday likely included some traffic accidents and other mishaps affecting people's lives. And while many of us at turkey and dressing safely with our families and friends, untold numbers of emergency workers toiled. We're talking police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, doctors, nurses and support staff at hospitals. They kept watch, ready to respond as always to the unforeseen incidents they've spent time training for. They anticipate and prepare for the worst so that the rest of us can go about living our best lives. Let's not pretend it doesn't require patience and understanding from their families. It unquestionably does, and for that, we appreciate the sacrifices of all involved. They truly make our communities safer through their bravery, preparedness and dedication.

And finally, we're thankful for you, our readers, for your interest in news about this community, about Northwest Arkansas, about the rest of the state as well as the nation and world that we're privileged to publish every day of the year. Whether delivered on iPads in much of the state or in print and electronically here in Northwest Arkansas, the events and issues this news organization gets to deliver is vital to a functioning republic. In this age of great technological shifts and reader habit changes, it is our hope that journalism's contributions will continue mightily for another 243 years and beyond for a nation founded on the principle of liberty. Thank you to our subscribers for their support and ongoing dedication to being informed and engaged citizens.

Give’em a thumb

Want to give some brief feedback on news? Someone who deserves a pat on the back? An idea that needs a dose of common sense? Recommend a “Thursday thumb” by calling Greg Harton at (479) 872-5026 or by email at gharton@nwadg.com.

Commentary on 11/29/2019

Print Headline: Friday's fingers

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