Oh, the insanity!

Posted on November 27, 2010

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I’m thankful for my family.  For a wife who loves me, and for a daughter who promises a bright future.

I’m thankful for my job.  For the opportunity to improve my life, and to make a difference in the lives of others.

But most of all, I’m thankful for all that God provides for me, my family, my friends, and this nation.

That being said: a few years ago I set out to do a project for a philosophy class.  I wanted to go shopping on Black Friday and carry a video camera with me, so I could surruptiously record the madness as it occurred.  I was spurred into action because of some videos I had seen about the busiest shopping day of the year.  Unfortunately, I never got my footage.  A combination of factors prevented my success, so I had to produce a different work for class.  Still, my point was made to the professor and my peers, and that point is this: mankind, at the core, is a viscious creature.

I stand by that assertion based on many things, but the most recent was today, when (against my prior experience and better judgement) I ventured out, with my family, to try our hand at shopping.  On Black Friday.  And this time, I didn’t have an ulterior motive.

Fortunately, we did not experience the horror that is the stuff of legend (or national news frenzy).  But my wife did almost get run over by a lady carrying a very big box.  This one incident was almost enough to make us turn away — her because she has little tolerance for rudeness, and me because the lady in question not only almost ran us over (I was carrying the baby), but also brushed very close to a man with an oxygen tank.  Yes, because the giant piece of plastic inside a cardboard box is so much more important than the health and welfare of a family with a baby and an old cripple.

That really was the worst of our day, thankfully.  We thought we could manage the crowd inside the store, but when we saw that the line for the register started ten feet from the customer service room — which is at the back of the store — we decided to leave.  Traffic was kind to us, and we made it safely home, where we could turn our attention to online shopping as a means to provide during this holiday madness.

Really, though, I don’t think I’ve ever seen people act crazier than this particular weekend.  And it happens every year.  EveryYearWithout fail, mankind proves itself a terrible beast every Friday after Thanksgiving.  And that’s the irony!  It happens after a holiday where we’re supposed to focus on the things that we’re thankful in life.  I guess that means there are thousands of people in this country who are actually thankful for the opportunity to stay up for 24 hours, wait in a crowd of over-anxious consumers, and stampede through a building filled with junk and stuff just so they can get into a fight about who gets the last super-cheap thing.

Yeah, that’s my rant.  I love this country, and I stand by American ideals and mores, but many of us have some screwed up priorities.  My suggestion: don’t buy gifts this year.  Okay, buy gifts, because I know you will, but instead of buying two or three presents per person on your list, buy one or two, and use the saved money for something worthwhile.  Trust me, you’ll make a world of a difference for others who have real needs.

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