I awoke this morning, this “Black Friday”, at 4 a.m. Not to head out to the stores, rather to head in to work. I turned on the local talk station, as I do every morning, to find out what has transpired since yesterday and what will be happening later on today.
The very first thing I heard this morning was stories of people getting in fights, assaulting cops and each other, getting arrested, tased, maced and shot in altercations at stores last night.
There is a certain irony to the fact that on the day we set aside to reflect and be grateful for the things we have, we go out and commit felonies trying to acquire more things. We sit around a table, many of us will hold hands and pray, and we eat more than several days worth of food for the average third world individual. Then we watch football, drink, argue with relatives we haven’t seen since last year, and pass out on the couch. Later, we rise from the couch, don our heavy winter jacket and head out to the Walmart (Macy’s, Kohl’s, whatever). We join a sea of people, most of whom have also engaged in the traditions earlier in that day. And then we, as adults, as role models for our children, see a T.V. on sale, and assault the people in front of us in an attempt to grab it.
Should you happen to make it through the melee and actually depart the store with your prize, there will, in some places, be someone in the parking lot waiting to steal it from you.
Then, if you can make it home without having an accident, you can stuff your prize in the closet, sneak in to your kids bedroom to kiss them on the head, and go to sleep with a smile on your face… thinking about the woman you elbowed in the electronics section and the guy you tripped on the way through hardware. Yessir! You maneuvered your way through those crowds with the grace and style of O.J. Simpson! Unfortunately, you also displayed his character in the process.
And what have you gained? You bought some off brand, piece of shit T.V. that will blow up in 3 months, for $200 less than the name brand T.V. that has been working without a hitch in my living room for the last 7 years. No returns. No exchanges. No extended warranty. And you will be sitting there, still broke, with a broke T.V. in a few months, bitching about how you got ripped off.
You will never pause to consider the fact that perhaps the reason you don’t have nice things is because you make stupid decisions. And when you bitch about the way society is going, or “what’s wrong with kids these days?”, it will never occur to you that YOU are part of the problem.
People ask, “How was your Thanksgiving?” Mine was the same as any other day. The wife was at work, the kids were with the ex-wife. Mom and sister are on the other side of the country. Dad isn’t worth visiting. So I slept late (woke up at 6 a.m.), and sat around playing video games and talking to the others in my gaming group who had nowhere to go and nothing to do. I didn’t check the newspaper, or clip any coupons, or seek out any deals. I will simply go online and order the gifts I want, at whatever the price is at the moment I am viewing it, and move on with my life.
So no… I didn’t “give thanks” yesterday. I also didn’t assault anyone or demean myself. So I guess I’ll call it even.
26 more days to go before the most commercialized day of the year! Where the notion that it is better to give than to receive is openly mocked.