'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
AS YOU READ THIS, I'M AT THE MALL ... I PROMISE
Today is November 27th, the day after Thanksgiving, which is also known as “Black Friday.” This day marks the official start of the Christmas shopping season and is the busiest day of the year at retail outlets across the country.
In previous years, I made a point of mocking those people who would set their alarm clocks for 3 a.m. on Black Friday, just so they could be first in line when the mall opens its doors at 5 a.m. I expressed confusion as to why someone in his or her right mind would willingly join a mob of frantic shopaholics in the freezing darkness of the pre-dawn hours just to be either the first person to purchase a video game at a 20% discount or the first person to be trampled to death when the crowd surged through those plate glass doors. I even wrote a couple of columns in the past describing the hypocrisy of honoring the birthday of the Prince of Peace by getting into a fist fight with a total stranger in the appliance department of Macy’s.
Well, this year is different. I have finally seen the error of my ways. I now realize my prior attitude of snarky condescension toward Black Friday shoppers was nothing more than a cover-up of my cowardice. Yes, I admit it. I mocked 5 a.m. shoppers in the past simply because I was too chicken to join them.
At this very moment, even if you are reading this newspaper right after it was tossed onto your front porch at 5:30 a.m., it is already too late. I am there! Obviously, I had to write this column in advance, but I promise, my alarm clock already went off at 3 a.m. I already jumped out of bed, got dressed, and raced down to the Brass Mill Center mall. The moment those doors opened I pushed and shoved and forced my way in. Then I ran up and down a couple of aisles, fueled by an adrenaline surge similar to that experienced by the brave souls who run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. And during my sprinting up and down the aisles, I’m sure I was high-fiving an equally excited shopper, say, a grandmother from Naugatuck. What a thrill.
Anyway, this year I decided to join the crowd for a couple of reasons. First, the economy stinks. In the past I did not mind paying top price, $14.99 each, for the Christmas gifts I purchased—Chia Pets for everyone. But this year, at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, I can get those same gifts for only $13.99 each! Enough said!
The other reason I decided to join the crowd at the mall in the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 27th is fairly simple: I’m sick and tired of waiting until the last minute to do my Christmas shopping. Every single year for as long as I can remember, I’ve ended up frantically racing from store to store at 8:45 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Did you know many stores are completely out of Chia Pets by that point in time? What a nightmare.
So this year is different. I will save lots of money; I will get all my shopping done before December even arrives, which will allow me to relax during the entire Christmas season, especially on Christmas Eve; and I will experience the euphoria of final victory that comes after a difficult struggle, which few people outside of Super Bowl champions and combat veterans truly understand.
Today is November 27th, the day after Thanksgiving, which is also known as “April Fool’s Day.” Gotcha!
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