Humor by Chason Gordon. See below.
By the time you’ve eaten turkey, lied to your family about how things are going in your life, and watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles, it’s Black Friday. Some choose to spend the day at home with their family, while others, more appropriately, rush out to save money on products that they’ll spend way more time with. It’s smart, long-term thinking.
No one knows the origin of the term “Black Friday.” Historians say that it dates back to the age of the dinosaurs when a meteor darkened the sky on a Friday while the dinosaurs were shopping. Real historians say that the term has a definite origin, and that I made the whole dinosaur thing up. Fucking narcs.
According to websites that show up at the top of search rankings, since the day after Thanksgiving has long been crowded with shoppers and traffic jams, the Philadelphia police began referring to the troublesome day as Black Friday, and it soon caught on. Word has it that the Philadelphia police also came up with Movember, Monday Madness and Ruby Tuesday. They’re very good at branding.
Before you bring up this historical anecdote every Thanksgiving in an effort to sound intelligent, know that online historians also link the term to age-old accounting practices (this could get really boring!). Apparently, accounting firms used to commonly use red ink to indicate negative amounts and black ink to indicate positive amounts (that’s the system that I use when recording my height). Because many of these businesses depended on the day after Thanksgiving to compensate for losses in previous quarters, the black ink came to represent the massive profits seen on that day (it was boring). At least that’s what accountants tell their disinterested grandchildren.
(Side note: due to the demand for red and black ink, the invention of 4-color pens created a rift in the accounting industry. Those for the pens pointed to its time-saving ability, while those against them said that the other two non-essential colors caused accountants to quit their job and pursue a liberal arts degree. This remains a sensitive issue today.)
For years now, stores have been trying to extend this period of crazed shopping by opening earlier and earlier after Thanksgiving. First they went to 6 a.m., then 4 a.m., then 12 a.m., until stores began opening the night before and causing family members to take their turkey to-go while they shopped for tires or sex toys or whatever it is that people buy.
This raises a question: does Black Friday have to be on Friday, or should businesses be able to interpret it as they see fit? Can we have Grey Thursday? Off-White Wednesday? Polka-Dot Tuesday? Do you think I can pull off this shirt?
As is traditional, every Black Friday includes media imagery of crowds rushing through stores, trampling the fallen, and fighting over savings on microwaves and televisions, as well as microwaves with televisions on them. Maybe you think that it’s silly to elbow people to buy something, but that’s just because you don’t love your family enough to do so. Sometimes, to get our loved ones presents, we have to be prepared to mow down strangers with our carts and quietly suffocate someone with a plastic shopping bag because they got the last Doc McStuffins Doctor’s Bag (“Shh, it’s almost over”).
Why wouldn’t a person kill for savings? That Blu-ray player that you wanted all year but were too lazy to work harder to afford finally comes down in price. If you don’t clothesline an elderly person to get to it, what was it all worth? Before you answer that, have you seen how sharp the picture is? It’s like you’re right there at the dinner table during My Dinner with Andre.
I say that we celebrate the violent chaos of the day. As a civilization, we rarely hunt our own food or feel the need to run (yes!), and most of us wouldn’t know what or how to gather. People often live safe and comfortable existences without any fear, never having to put their lives on the line. Sure, that may be a good thing, but if machete-ing through a crowd to save 25 percent on a box set of Maggie Gyllenhaal movies is the only way to reconnect to our animal natures, then so be it. You’ll truly appreciate the feeling, even when a middle-aged woman is stepping on your unconscious face.
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