The Final Word
By Jeff Girod
And what better time to celebrate our utter contempt for fellow humanity than now, during the holidays—which have officially been renamed Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Gray Thursday and Dirty Wednesday. The other days are just a blurry morass of long lines, middle fingers and automated customer service recordings that may or may not be recited by an offshore South Korean receptionist named Britney.
As usual, things got started early in Rialto.
Police say there were three fights total at a Rialto Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving night that broke a police officer’s wrist and left three people in custody, according to the San Bernardino Sun. One suspect was also charged with assault on a peace officer and assault with a deadly weapon, after he allegedly kicked a man in the head while he was lying on the ground.
His conviction could carry up to several years in prison and a fine of thousands of dollars. But think of the amazing savings he almost pocketed on bath towels!
Not that Rialto was alone in its merriment. In Virginia, a man stabbed another man in the arm over a Wal-Mart parking space. At a Wal-Mart in New Jersey, a woman threatened another woman with a stun gun for a shopping cart. Shootings were reported at a Kohl’s near Chicago, and near a Target in Las Vegas, where a customer was carrying home his newly purchased big-screen TV
For its part, Wal-Mart couldn’t be happier with its Black Friday haul, which serviced more than 22 million customers in one day. In a press release, CEO Bill Simon compared Black Friday to “the Super Bowl of retail!” and said Walmart’s sale was “bigger, better, faster, cheaper and safer than ever.”
To be fair, this year’s Black Friday sale at Wal-Mart was safer than in years past—when all big-screen TVs in Wal-Mart’s electronics aisles were inexplicably strapped to flaming rhinoceroses.
None of this should be news to you. People have been getting shot, shanked and punched in the gonads on Black Friday ever since stores started marking down last year’s Sanyo’s and calling them “doorbusters.”
The holidays are a stressful time. It’s why I usually just give gift cards. There’s less chance for wrapping and blunt force trauma.
During the holidays one in four pedestrians in Great Britain suffer from “pavement rage,” according to a recent survey. Pavement rage. Let that sink in. Apparently it’s just like road rage, but people in England experience a bile-filled, seething hatred for people who even have the nerve to walk and breathe on the same sidewalk.
Pretty much everyone is going to be a stressed out, me-first asshole for the next four weeks. But you don’t have to add your voice to the knee-jerk, caroling chaos.
Maybe 2013 didn’t turn out the way you wanted, or your professional development plan didn’t include living with your parents at age 30 and working at a frozen banana hut taking orders from an assistant manager with headgear named Kenny.
Between the traveling, the relatives, the constant psychotropic mind f*ck of Christmas music, decorations and jingle ball sweaters, the holidays can lead you down a deep, dark hole, my friend. But don’t ever let it steal your soul.
These things that the corporations tempt us with, for which we stand in checkout lines at Christmas time, that lead us to tear each other apart—they’re just things. And most require batteries you don’t have.
I’m going to assume you’ve never put anyone in a sleeper hold for a coffee maker. But is shoving our way toward an iPad or flat screen TV really worth the way our friends and family look at us — the way we perceive ourselves—the other 48 weeks a year? Are they ever worth a felony charge?
Whatever it takes to get you through the holidays with your decency and personal respect intact? Do that.
Make believe it is August. Convert to Jehovah’s Witness. Or build a giant lighted Nativity scene out of cream corn on your front lawn starring Mariah Carey, Chevy Chase and that four-eyed kid from A Christmas Story.
If you’re looking for reasonably priced tarps and wheelbarrows, I’ve heard Wal-Mart is having a sale.
Contact Jeff Girod firstname.lastname@example.org