Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

The American not-technically-a-holiday: Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. The day of the fiscal year when many companies go from being "in the red" to being "in the black," go from being in debt to breaking even.

Some Americans storm the stores, geared for battle: purses, keys, midnight shufflers who fight the hordes for the best deals.

Others wander in after the blood has all been shed, when the best sales have sold out but good deals still abound, searching the plentiful leftovers at a lower risk of physical harm.

And yet others stay safely in their homes, avoiding the crowds and the blood-thirsty hunters by shopping online, spending the dollar on shipping instead of dimes gas and parking for the convenience of not being torn apart.

Then there are those who shun the not-holiday all together, who take the day for relaxing and family time, who pass the hours doing chores and watching movies, TV, and football.

There are also those whose jobs can't afford time off, doctors and firemen and policemen, and those whose jobs can't sensibly give the day off, restaurant workers and bankers.

Finally, there are those brave individuals who endure the worst, and work retail on Black Friday. Good luck to them. And I hope none of you reading this had Thanksgiving Day itself stolen from you; my sympathies if you did.

Of course, many of you reading this aren't Americans, and are doing other things, life as normal, today. You probably have similar holidays, at some point in the year, that ask you to think of things for which to be grateful, and that get so commercialized that people lose sight of the meaning of the holiday.
Black Friday reminds me of more things to be grateful for: that I myself have the option of going out and buying things (whether I do or not), that I have sufficient food and resources and safe home to be in, and a computer to blog on. That I have an education and was never banned from school or afraid to attend; that I have a family that supported me through school, and supports my goal of becoming a published author, and allows me to live independently and have a life of my own. That I'm not going hungry, or dying of an easily preventable illness, or living in fear.

It's easy to get lost in problems that other people would think of as blessings. Easy to forget how much I have, and want more.

Oh, I might go out shopping. Maybe. (Need to test my new elbow spikes, of course!) But Black Friday is a second Thanksgiving for me, because it makes me think just how very much I do have to be grateful for, that I have all these chances.

How are you spending Black Friday? How would you like to be spending it?

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