Limping To The Finish Line

Some of the pundits tell us we might be in for a longer haul. It may not be over tonight as was originally advertised. But whether we have a clear winner come Wednesday morning or the presidential election remains too close to call — we will have survived the political storm largely intact. Well, most of us anyway.

Yes, there will be some licking of wounds and necessary rebuilding of morale depending on which camp you’ve staked your tent these final weeks and months. Some of us will have fewer “friends” on social media and perhaps fewer friends in real life too. However, after the red and blue smoke eventually clears and the elephant dust and donkey dander settle, what we’ve suffered as a society should not be minimized.

Let us not forget all that we have collectively endured: We have weathered the primaries, the campaign speeches, the conventions, the debates, the yard signs, the “friendly” disagreements with our peers, family members and neighbors, the seemingly infinite supply of television ads, the attacking, the dodging, the whining, the scaring, the robo calls, the constant-and-ever-shifting “latest” polling numbers, the charts, the graphs, the talking heads, the morality arguments, the ignorant, misinformed, uninformed and enraging Facebook posts, status updates and tweets, the rhetoric, the apocalyptic theories, the partisan politicking and the endless “what-if” scenarios.

I’m tired now. Aren’t you? No matter the outcome, after today, our part is done. We will have (hopefully) drug our bruised and battered bodies to the polls and freely exercised our right to choose a leader — a right that I am no less grateful for no matter how much I complain or how worn out I may actually claim to be. But now I think it’s time we return to our regularly scheduled programming… complete with those good, old-fashioned commercials for antidepressants, erectile dysfunction, indigestion and Black Friday Doorbuster Deals.

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The Day Before Black Friday

Do you remember it? You probably do… C’mon… think! Think! You know, it’s that day in late November where we all stop what we’re doing, get together with our families and friends, eat obscene amounts of food and watch football. We stuff ourselves with loads of turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes and candied yams and green bean casserole and hot, buttered rolls and of course, pumpkin pie. And many of us also take some time to pause and reflect upon that for which we are thankful. I guess that’s why it is generally referred to as Thanksgiving.

However, for some strange reason, in recent years the term “Thanksgiving” seems to have eluded us. Despite the fact that our country remains deep in a recession and we’re still seeing some of the highest unemployment numbers in decades, I noticed a disturbing trend emerging even stronger than in years past. The trend being that what was formerly referred to as Thanksgiving is now merely The Day Before Black Friday.

I’m not an idiot and I don’t live under a rock. I’ve known for years that here in America we worship the almighty dollar more than anything else. And in direct correlation with that, we worship things. We see it… we like it… we want it… we HAVE to have it! After all, the neighbors do. And by all means we must keep up with our neighbors and our relatives and our friends and our co-workers. But even with the knowledge that “things” are so important to us… I am still shocked by what I hear at the very top of every newscast during the holiday season (which, by the way, NOW begins immediately following Halloween.)

Notice there is ZERO mention of: “How to Prepare The Most Succulent Turkey,” or “10 Tips for Fixing a Feast Fit for 20,” or even the ever-popular: “How to Avoid Gaining 10 Pounds While Still Ingesting All The Carbs Your Body Can Possibly Handle Without Winding Up in a Coma”

Instead of those all-time favorite Holiday Classics, we are bombarded with: “How to Be the First in Line To Get Your Air Swimmers Giant Flying Fish” or “10 Self-Defense Tips for Fighting the Frantic 3 a.m. Traffic at Wal-Mart” and the NOW popular: “How to Best Manage Your Credit in Order to Still Provide a Magical Material Christmas for Your Child Even Though You’re Broke and Haven’t the Money to Make Your Subprime Mortgage Payment.”

I'm fairly certain THIS is Dante's 9th circle of hell.

What is wrong with this picture? Surely I am not the only one who has made note of this and found it a teensy-bit troubling, unsettling, nerve-wracking or nauseating? Hello? Can I get an Amen?

It doesn’t feel like that long ago news programs, talk shows and magazines served up extra helpings of wisdom on how to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving with the people who mattered most. But seemingly overnight this once-favorite holiday has yielded it’s prominent position to the day after. I’m not exactly sure who is to blame. Whether it’s us—the consumers? Or whether it’s the big-box stores, manufacturers and credit-card companies? I suspect it is probably both… A marketing match made in heaven… Or hell. Depending on how you look at it.

I may be part of a minority here, but I think I’ll stick with the day before Black Friday as my holiday of choice. After all, there is no waiting in line, no angry mobs to deal with and no anguish over paying the bill for those stupid Air Swimmers when it comes due in January, February and March. You see, on The Day Before Black Friday there is only the warm, lazy feeling of being lulled to sleep in front of a football game surrounded (hopefully) by people you love… with a tummy full of turkey.

And I much prefer that.

P.S. By the time the credit card statement comes… that “must-have” flying fish is most likely enjoying the company of dust bunnies… somewhere underneath a bed.

P.P.S. THIS is how I plan on spending my Black Friday…