Thanksgiving was so yesterday. Now, gimmie, gimmie, gimmie!
Yeah, I'm thankful for family and stuff, but that's not good enough. This is America, where big trucks are synonymous with patriotism, and Uncle Sam needs you to shop today - it's Black Friday! So do your part and fill up your Ford Huge Big with all kinds of stuff. Or else a bunch of big-box employees might not get the 50-cent raise they were told they might get but were never really going to get anyway.
Remember to go to the landfill first and dump out all the stuff you got last year to make sure you have enough room. Don't drink milk or party too hard the night before, either, as it might impede your ability to yell across the crowd, "That's MY TV! I got up at 4 a.m. to get it, don't you get it?"
It doesn't hurt to pack some brass knuckles, either. Sometimes the Christmas spirit needs to be knocked back to last January.
Personally, I love Black Friday (which is already becoming Black Thanksgiving; at least one major retailer is starting its sale at 9 p.m. that day).
I've never participated. I enjoy it for the aftermath.
It's so fitting to begin the holiday season - a good, Christian one, too - with documented proof of the way things really are in our culture. It's normal, everyday America, only the pace of things is amped up on Red Bull. Soon video clips and news stories will flood the Web and we'll be able to watch reruns of ourselves going totally insane as a society.
I'm happy to say I think Black Fridays around here are merely busy, not violent. No one's been trampled to death in Glenwood Meadows that I've heard of. However, take a good look at what is going on across the nation, because we are a part of it. We contribute to the demand and success of Black Days right along with everywhere else.
If no one showed up, it would have stopped a long time ago. I repeat: we are a part of it and we don't see it, which is the problem.
I saw a car with some contradictory bumper stickers a few weeks ago on Grand Avenue. One sticker read, "I'm a human, not a consumer!" Right next to that was a large Apple sticker that probably came with her iPhone 5.
Well, if your identity is expressed by a corporate logo - which it clearly is if the sticker is next to another expressive sticker you placed on your car - you might be a consumer.
I say we've been brain washed. I say stop watching commercials. Kill your television. At least draw a line in the sand somewhere, for the love of Dog! (I say "Dog" because everything seems to be backwards lately.) Prove that we are capable of more restraint than seagulls around stale bread.
Wouldn't that be an amazing statement if our local Black Friday sales flopped? Wouldn't it be great to stop the creeping greed, at least so we don't lose Thanksgiving to the monster as well?
Imagine if Black Days became total non-events in our little town, a place where we make a soft, reverberating statement that there is something worth more than money and stuff; that we won't have corporate, homogenized values shoved down our throats like cardboard horse pills. Shoot, maybe we'll get some authentic holiday spirit back in our hearts.
But that won't happen. Millions of consumers will always flock to discount sales. Some will be lured by promises of a new Xbox, all five of which will be sold out in five minutes, but no matter. They'll buy plenty of other things anyway, because shopping - consuming - is what we do best, by and large, and extra large.
Yeah, other people are like that, but not me, you might be saying.
Wake up! We are losing our initiative and this creeping Black Day is a sign. Plenty say they don't like it but still plenty go. They shrug their shoulders as if they have no vote, saying they might as well get a good deal. So the blackness thickens a bit more.
We talk a good game, but only from the couch ... as we watch outrageous film clips of shopping chaos, laughing like it isn't us.
- "Open Space" appears on the second and fourth Friday of the month. Derek Franz writes for the Eagle Valley Enterprise and lives in Carbondale. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.