Scary true, isn’t it? Because I love Thanksgiving, and everything it stands for: the act of setting a day aside to reflect, give thanks – and eat. Family members flopped on any available surface, laughing, mumbling “I am so full” while choking down yet another piece of pie, singing, playing…
That is Thanksgiving to me. That is why I cannot take Black Friday seriously.
This year, several of our family members, while in a turkey-induced haze, looked at each other and said, “I have never been Black Friday shopping. Let’s do it.”
And so we did. In all honesty, we did have a reason for going out, because Mom was shopping for a camera, but we still pretended to ourselves that we were being extremely hardcore and braving the lines, crowds, and chaos just for the sake of a lark.
While poor Mom stood in line, the rest of us hardcore people frolicked about the store, gazing wistfully at Ipod touches and smirking at the people in line for them. During that period, my brother and I tallied that we had almost been run over, by a cart-wielding maniac, five times. In 30 minutes.
And we were in Wal-Mart. Puh-lease. Ain’t nothin’ you need need dat bad in Wal-Mart.
Finally, in the camera area, I just stopped. Around me swirled an eddy of humanity, faces bobbing back and forth, around the counter, through the aisles, arms gesturing frantically as though drowning – and I couldn’t help myself.
I laughed. Like a hyena. While hundreds of people pushed and shoved and glared and waved and pointed and grabbed around me.
What in the world are we doing? Is stuff really that important that we must lose our dignity, self-respect, and possible limb amputation to obtain more? Is self-gratification really that motivating, all in the name of $20 off?
Surely not. I had fun. I laughed. A lot. But you know what the greatest part was?
It wasn’t the deals. I don’t think I even bought anything, although two members of our party were able to score their deals. It wasn’t the quick lines. (Little Black Friday humor there). It wasn’t even being able to laugh anytime I wanted, wherever I wanted, at whomever I wanted – all without repercussion.
It was waiting in line with my fam, laughing at the snail pace, while we snaked through aisles of food, Christmas decorations, and abandoned “Horton Hears a Who” DVD’s, left by less dedicated shoppers. It was running through packed parking lots, wind whistling over our heads, as we laughed breathlessly. It was watching, spell-bound, as a rogue cart trundled through the parking lot, pushed by an unseen hand, and then cracking up as the wind sped it relentlessly into several parked vans. (We have a dark, twisted sense of humor. Don’t even).
It was family. With them, I have everything I have ever needed, or will ever need. It was the memories of togetherness – in a maelstrom of people packed together, yet ever so alone. It was realizing, with a touch of regret, that I honestly need nothing – I have been blessed.
That is Thanksgiving. (But the Ipod touch was still cool).