It starts so innocently. We are all there gathered around the dining room table, the remains of a huge Thanksgiving feast occupying our plates. Perhaps it is the overload of tryptophan coursing through our veins that dulls our senses and makes what comes next inevitable. Someone will turn the conversation from the empty promises of never eating so much in one sitting ever again, a promise only to be broken on Christmas Day, to a census of who is actually working the next day. As the number reaches a socially acceptable level, some will blurt out a suggestion. It is a suggestion wrought with peril and unbelievable danger. But in our full bellied stupor, we are oblivious to the risks involved. So we all agree to embark on this fools’ errand. We are going Christmas shopping together.
Blaque Friday. Even the name sounds ominous. I know that you may recognize it by its traditional spelling ”b-l-a-c-k”. There are two reasons for spelling it as I do. First, I refuse to refer to that apocalyptic mayhem that will occur in the wee hours of the day after Thanksgiving by the same term that describes the color of my daughter’s favorite t-shirts and the last name of that master thespian that starred in such masterpieces as Nacho Libre and Shallow Hal. Secondly, I get sick and tired of losing every “friendly” game of Scrabble that we play at our house because I can’t get rid of the stinking Q, U and E tiles so I am committed to expanding the list of words one could spell with those letter tiles that I am convinced are direct from the fiery pits of Hell.
Anyway, back to my disdainful assessment of Blaque Friday. I guess it isn’t the complete embodiment of evil. I reserve that designation for the guys that invented Instant coffee and the accordian. It was bad enough when Satan’s shopping day started on Friday morn. But now, we can experience this crap-fest on Thursday night. I guess the Freemasons that run the secret world government( sorry turkey also makes me less resistant to outlandish conspiracy theories) have decided that it is not enough to have hordes of people descend on the local discount retailers as they elbow and pepper spray their way to purchasing a substandard flatscreen television or $5 size smedium pajama bottoms. And based on the people lined up outside the Wal-mart last night, I would say it has been many a Christmas since they could fit into a smedium anything. No they have to start this retail trip to Thunderdome before the last serving of pumpkin pie has been eaten. There is even a term for this yearly advance, or Retail Blitzkreig.It is called the Thanksgiving Creep. It’s funny that I heard that term as soon as I pulled up at my in-laws house yesterday, probably just a coincidence. My biggest issue with this premature shopulation is that it has served to completely disrupt my Thanksgiving schedule. Here is the way things are supposed to go:
5:00am Ignore one cat scratching on bed room door.
5:10am Ignore both cats scratching on bedroom door.
5:11am Explain to cats that I am not working today
5:11am Realize that cats don’t care about my work schedule
5:12am Remember why I hate cats
5:15am Get out of bed
5:16am Slam toe into edge of door.
5:16am Release string of 37 obscenities
5:17am Hobble into kitchen and get out coffee beans
5:18am Miss coffee grinder reservoir and pour beans all over floor.
5:19am Look for broom and dustpan
5:20am Find broom
5:22am Give up looking for dustpan and kick coffee beans underneath refrigerator.
5:23am Grind new batch of coffee beans and pour into coffee pot. Turn on coffee pot.
5:24am Walk into hallway to turn down heater.
5:25am Notice burning smell.
5:30am Realize forgot to put water in coffee pot. Drop “f-bomb”. Unplug coffee pot
5:35am Decide to go out for coffee.
5:36am Consider brushing teeth, taking shower, getting dressed and combing hair.
5:37am Put on baseball cap and grab car keys.
5:40am Arrive at donut shop.
5:41am Recognize former high school classmate entering donut shop that I haven’t seen in years
5:41am Make u-turn. Head home to brush teeth, take shower, get dressed and comb hair.
6:00am Return to donut shop.
6:01am Talk to former classmate. Make empty promise to keep in touch. Remember reason hadn’t talked to classmate in years. Vow to keep it that way.
6:20am Return home with coffee and newspaper.
6:21am Realize I forgot to grab house keys
6:22am Start to ring doorbell to have other family members unlock door for me.
6:23am Remember reaction to last time woke up family members on holiday.
6:24am Decide to crawl in through window.
6:26am Explain to policeman that I live here and why I am breaking in to own house.
6:35am Get called idiot by civil servant. Remember not to contribute to Police Benevolent Society this year.
6:45am Finally sit down to newspaper and lukewarm coffee.
6:46am Wonder who Luke is and why the heck he got a temperature named after him.
6:47am Promise to never make that joke again.
6:48am Begin to read newspaper for only time this year.
6:54am Finish reading newspaper. Realize newspaper sucks.
7:00am Log on to computer.
7:01am Send birthday greetings to person I barely know.
7:02am Realize that have lots to do so will just check email and get off computer.
9:35am Get off computer.
9:36am Head to kitchen to make gourmet breakfast.
9:37am Eat cold Pop-Tarts from wrapper.
9:45am Begin preparing desserts and side dish for taking to Thanksgiving Dinner.
10:00am Head to store to get items for desserts and side dish that I forgot to buy.
10:30am Arrive home and put items in fridge.
10:35am Realize there is no room in fridge.
10:36am Remove six pack of beer from fridge to “make room”.
10:37am Decide it is a holiday so I can drink one beer at noon.
10:39am Drink entire six pack.
Noon Wake up in bathroom floor.
12:10p.m. Stagger back to kitchen to continue making desserts and side dish for taking to Thanksgiving Dinner.
1:00p.m. Begin to consider if 2 bags of Cheetos would make appropriate side dish.
2:30p.m. Complete cooking and load food into car.
2:32p.m. Slam hand in door and scream obscenities.
2:33p.m. Apologize to Reverend neighbor for language.
2:35p.m. Depart for in-laws’ house.
2:43p.m. Return home to pick up child that was left behind.
2:44p.m. Make bad Home Alone joke .
2:45p.m. Get dirty look from spouse.
3:30p.m. Arrive at in-laws’ house.
3:35p.m. Explain to spouse that it is headache not hangover.
3:36p.m. Get dirty look from spouse.
3:40p.m. Open in-laws’ medicine cabinet to search for aspirin.
3:41p.m. Slam medicine cabinet shut. Vow to never open relatives’ medicine cabinet ever again.
3:45p.m. Fix plate of food.
3:47p.m. Am asked to lead family thanksgiving prayer. Begin to thoughtfully express my feelings of gratititude.
3:49p.m. Get bored and so I start to chant ,”Kali ma” and pretend to rip heart from nephew’s chest.
3:50p.m. Pick up plate and go eat outside.
3:55p.m. Make fun of homely kid playing next door.
4:00p.m. Learn people at table are homely kid’s parents.
4:01p.m. Pick up plate and head in to sit inside.
4:02p.m. Realize sliding glass door was closed wehen I tried to walk through it.
4:03p.m. Clean up mess.
4:10p.m. Listen to wife’s family talk about relatives that I have never met. Think those relatives are probably glad.
4:20p.m. Begin to size up which relative would survive the longest in zombie apocalypse. Decide it is creepy ex-con uncle. Decide to go pick up survival tips from him.
4:30p.m. Push away plate and swear to never eat again.
4:40p.m. Eat again.
5:00p.m. Retire to living room to watch football game I don’t care about.
5:15p.m. Make fearful comment whenever team scores and pretend to call “bookie”
5:18p.m. Get bored with it and just decide to watch game.
5:25p.m. Hear in-laws snoring on couch. Ask wife for feather and shaving cream. Wife responds to “grow up”.
5:26p.m. Decide to go outside and play ball with kids.
5:30p.m. Tells nephew he throws like girl.
5:31p.m. Discover that I am playing with niece. Vow to get eyes checked.
5:35p.m. I miss ball and try to plunger out dent in car door.
6:00p.m. Start to say goodbyes in order to leave.
9:00p.m. Actually leave.
9:15p.m. Return to in-laws to pick up spouse I left behind.
9:17p.m. Spouse begins to google search for lawyers.
On second thought, maybe Black Friday can’t come soon enough.