FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

When Black Friday Comes…

by GARY CORSERI

Today is “Black Friday.”

I’d never heard the term before yesterday, Thanksgiving Day.

“Is it something bad?” my Japanese wife worries. She recalls snippets of American history. “Did the stock market crash today?”

I explain I’d never heard about it before. It has something to do with shopping, I tell her, newly informed by CNN. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year.

“Then why is it Black Friday?” she wants to know. “Shouldn’t it be a Red Letter Day? Why isn’t it called Red Friday?”

“That might sound too Cold War-y,” I explain. “You know, like Red China, which we never hear anymore I think they call it Black Friday because the economy will move into the black if we kick off a good shopping season. How many hours are there between now and Christmas? Have you figured it out yet?”

But she’s undeterred. She thinks Black Friday must have something to do with African-Americans. She wants to know if there are days for Asians and Latinos and Whites … Yellow Tuesday or Brown Wednesday or White Monday?

I assure her it’s about shopping. “They want us to get out and walk around the malls–to burn up some calories from stuffing ourselves like pigs on Thanksgiving.”

“But we didn’t have Thanksgiving,” she reminds me. “You said you were eschewing it from now on. That’s what you said. You said I should look up the word in the dictionary, which I did. You said we couldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving while there’s war and famine in the world. You said it didn’t feel right to be grateful when so many were hungry and in misery. You said we should save our money and give it to the poor. You said we didn’t have to stuff ourselves until it hurt. You said Thanksgiving was the S.U.V. of American holidays.”

I laughed. “Did I say that? It’s not bad. I’ll write it down.”

She’s on a tear now. “You said we were killing ourselves and destroying the world with our culture of excess. You said we were going to boycott Christmas and the Fourth of July and even Valentine’s Day.”

“No business as usual, that’s all I meant. I don’t want to shop because my government tells me to shop. Christmas is about the birth of a baby who changed the world through love. It’s not about loving people to death in Iraq or Afghanistan–or anywhere else. It’s not about withholding drugs for AIDS victims in Africa so the Pharmaceuticals can keep the prices jacked up here. It’s not about not letting our seniors get cheap drugs from Canada for the same sort of reasons. When Christmas is about Christmas again, we’ll celebrate it, we’ll commemorate it. We’ll commemorate any day of peace and charity and kindness and communion”and we don’t have to care what they call it or when it occurs!”

“I don’t understand about Valentine’s Day, though.”

“If I wanna buy you a present, I’ll buy you a present when I feel like it. Not because the card companies and the florists and the candy companies tell me I should. Maybe we’ll have Valentine’s Day once a week. We’ll call it Chocolate Saturday, or Rose Sunday.”

“But what about tradition? she wonders. “Don’t we all have to do things at the same time and in the same way? Isn’t that better for the economy?”

“If we keep doing things in the same way, we can expect the same results. That’s a definition of madness. Why shouldn’t we make our own traditions? Isn’t that what freedom’s all about? So we don’t all have to think the same, be the same. And if the economy can’t adjust to that … maybe it’s time to change the economy!”

“You’re crazy, my wife says. “You think you can change the world. What if everyone thought like you?”

“Then I’d be a damned fool to think otherwise, I say, remembering Catch-22.”

“What about Halloween? she wonders. “Can we keep Halloween?”

“When the ghouls and the goblins and the witches come out to play?” I ponder. “It seems we never got rid of the ghouls and the goblins and the witches in our minds and hearts. We’re burning ‘witches’ in Iraq right now. We call them collateral damage. We better keep that day just as it is. It may help us remember how we got here.”

GARY CORSERI has published 2 novels, 2 poetry collections, the Manifestations anthology [edited], and his work has appeared at CounterPunch,Common Dreams, Dissident Voice, The New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook and elsewhere. His dramas have been presented at PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He can be reached at: corseri@comcast.net

 

Gary Corseri has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has published novels and collections of poetry, has taught in US public schools and prisons and in US and Japanese universities. His work has appeared at CounterPunch, The New York Times, Village Voice and hundreds of publications and websites worldwide. Contact: gary_corseri@comcast.net.

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and My Late Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy after All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail