Friday, 11 December 2009

Black Friday - - Norbert Luciano

Congressional legislators are seriously thinking of outlawing Black Friday.
It’s much too brutal, much too gruesome, much too much.
But people who participate in it love it – love it for the challenge it allows them to prove they’ve got it!

The “it” here is the killer instinct.

Black Friday is a reality show that’s unscripted, unrehearsed, unsupervised – with but one objective: Get It!

The “it” in question can be whatever it is you want in a store for at least half the price it ordinarily costs, retail. It can also be nothing at all that you need or want. But for half the price? You’d feel the thrill – sudden, surging, maddening! The blood-lust of a vampire. The guy in the grip of road rage. The addict right before his “fix.”

Incidentally, “bargain,” as a word, is mysterious. Inherent in it is the promise that you can obtain the impossible – on the cheap – notwithstanding any and all obstacles that may be in your way… More to the point, you can possess whatever it is that your avaricious, thumping heart desires!

Yes, you can!
Heady stuff.

But the madness of it! Black Friday has been known to transform people from mild-mannered, ineffectual milk toast to super-bad within a split second of passing a store advertising a sale of anything at, say, 70% off. Zero to 60 miles in half a second. No exaggeration. Proof? I-Tube has captured people running around wild-eyed, amok, in stores offering such insane bargains.
[Ever see Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”? Sociologists and psychologists have lately been saying that the artist was prophetic: He’d envisioned a shopper who had failed getting what he wanted on Black Friday…]

Already, some well-known producers of horror films have begun filming the nightmare on Black Friday because what happens on this day reflect Man’s worse fears. Imagine your wife morphing into a wild, crazed woman right before your eyes -- your worse suspicions coming true about her! Think of your son-in-law -- gentle, meek and mild – deliberately shoving people half his size to the left and right of him; your dad elbowing old ladies; your son tripping housewives, and even trampling the geezer you saw overturned from his wheelchair by a pretty teenage girl – your daughter! And then the unthinkable: You snatching what you had your eye on from an old, tremulous priest – your confessor at church! Worse yet, he’d witnessed the murderous intent on your face!

Think of the penance to come!

A marine, just back from Iraq, said it was safer there in the good ol’ bad days than in one of the stores advertising a Black Friday sale. He was a “virgin,” he said, until “violated” with what went on at such an ungodly “ritual.” But he also confessed the experience helped him see his girl for who she was: A screaming, clawing, teeth-snapping demon who took no prisoners…
He sported a black eye and his lips trembled as he spoke.

My own girl friend, as well, takes Black Friday seriously.

She gets herself in tip-top physical shape at least a month before she launches her attack on a store – Linda Hamilton in training for the Terminator. She exercises. She loses weight. She disciplines herself to sleep early, so that she can be up at the unholy hour the stores open on that day of days. She also dresses for the occasion: Ninja-black top and trousers, sneakers, reinforced elbow and knee pads, hair pulled tightly back; and, for weapons, a pair of chucks and a grappling line and hook for the stuff in shelves she can’t immediately reach -- or for any guy ahead of her.

“I’m going to get what I’m going for,” she swore, her eyes on fire.

When I said I’d like to go along, she laughed as if she’d heard the funniest joke ever; then she pooh-poohed me to humiliation, when she found I meant what I’d said. But when I flushed and stuttered and sulked and cried, she relented – but unceremoniously took it upon herself to train me. Within days, I swear, I was looking like that marine friend I was telling you about: Trim, fit, clear-eyed, strong – before he got so mauled and so miserably defeated, that is.
But my girl wasn’t as impressed as I was with myself, “The one thing you better have is heart, “ she said.

“What makes you think I don’t have what it takes for Black Friday?” I wanted to know.

She asked me if there was anything on sale that I’d give my life for.

I said, “No…”

“Then you’ve not the heart that you need for the challenge,” she concluded.


It sounded as if we were about to engage in some kind of gladiatorial combat in tax-free Delaware. I didn’t know how close I was to the truth.

To recover, I told her I had my heart set on a camera: A Canon. Power Shot. Digital Elph. “You need more than just a heart ‘set’ on something,” she snapped.

“What?” I asked.

She made me a list of what was imperative for all Black Friday bargain-warriors to possess. Four things: Determination. Obsession. Passion. Endurance.

In short, you have to be a DOPE, as they’d say in the old days, to get yourself involved with Black Friday!

But guess what?
I’m suicidal.

Photo Credit: Julian Povey

About The Author: Norbert Luciano served as a news-correspondent for publications in the Far East; while in Hong Kong he wrote, “Early to Rise,” a satire on the Chinese commune system. While there he taught English and, later, in the Public School System in New York City. Norbert holds a BA in English, an MA in Education and had, at one time, taken courses in creative writing at the University of Chicago. For a time he pastored churches in New York and New Jersey.
Now retired living in Delaware, he’s returned to his first love, writing!