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Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday?

            You know, there’s a reason today is called “Black Friday”.

Just think about some of the things that have the word “Black” in front of them.

For example, “Black Tuesday” is our name for the New York Stock Market crash on October 29, 1929. It is considered the start of the Great Depression. I think you’ll admit that it was a pretty bad day for the world economy.

Even further back in history, the “Black Death” was one of the greatest pandemics the world has ever known. Commonly thought to be an outbreak of bubonic plague, it reduced Europe’s population by about a third. Peaking around 1350 A.D, we still speak of it in hushed whispers today. (Except for when we’re laughing out loud at the Monty Python sketch about bringing out your dead, which is very funny, even if you don’t get British humor.)

Everyone knows that “Black Cats” are evil. They’re witches’ familiars, of course. Put “Black” in front of something ordinary, and it becomes extraordinary – and bad.

So why is the day after Thanksgiving called “Black Friday”? It’s the start of the Christmas shopping season. You can get amazing bargains. You get to spend time with your neighbors at the local emporiums, perhaps seeing people you haven’t seen in too long. So I ask you again, why do we call it “Black Friday”?

If you were at Wal-Mart at 3AM this morning, you can begin to answer this question. If you went directly from Wal-Mart to Kohl’s, you’re feeling it. If you then ate a breakfast bar that has been in your purse since 1982 as you drove to the mall, you completely understand. You have bruises on your side from where some woman elbowed you away from the last Call of Duty video game on the shelf in Best Buys. Your feet hurt – that guy who stepped on them as he pushed in front of you in line at Target weighed a ton. You’re tired and hungry and annoyed, and you have the Christmas spirit of Scrooge, pre ghostly visits.

Ah. There you have it. The reason why today is “Black Friday”. To those of you who choose to shop today, I wish you happy bargain hunting. I will be hanging out at my local Starbucks, reading a novel and enjoying a tall nonfat decaf latte. Have a super day!

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