Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Lesson In Holidays, Capitalism, Family, And Priorities (Prepare To Be Destroyed)

You want to boycott stores that are open on Thanksgiving, you say? Well, isn't that fancy. That sounds like something a responsible adult would do. I have feelings about this issue and I'm going to act on them, you say from your SUV and your suburban house. Go you! I am all for you, believe me, but I think before the boycott actually occurs, I ought to remind everyone once more of a few things related to reality. I know we don't like reality, as it gets in the way of the universe revolving in its entirety around our wants, needs and beliefs, but stay with me on this. Put down your picket signs for a second.

If we're going to defend this holiday, we ought to remember what it's actually about. You can boo me all you want, but the fact of the matter is that the holiday is not about being thankful that you have a lovely car and a wonderful job and 868994 children. Thanksgiving as I understand it without doing a college level amount of research is a yearly recreation of a feast held to celebrate a bunch of unprepared, silly white religious zealots surviving with the generous help of Native Americans, without whom they would have either perished or been forced to return to caucasialand (AKA Europe). To thank them for this generosity, they would spent the next several hundred years murdering and raping the Native Americans into desolate little patches of land that no white people wanted to live on.  They would spend that same amount of time attempting to wipe them out with disease-laced blankets or whiten them into "decent human beings." Indeed, happy thanksgiving. Thank goodness those crazy crackers survived, otherwise this land might still belong to its rightful inhabitants and several thousand Africans might have avoided being enslaved over the next few hundred years as well. Turkeys and American flags for everyone. Pass them around.

As for family, if you only have time to spend with your family on holidays, you might as well consider yourself a solitary unit and give up. The truth is, if you found yourself so far away from family that holidays are the only option, that's cool. You know what? There's a reason we leave home and go out on our own. We are all raised by crazy people.  No one seems to think that a visit just to visit is feasible, but instead that visiting family has to be planned with the same strict schedule as paying a loan off. How is that bonding? Is that what you're fighting for? That seems pretty lame. I ended up with a pretty good family, but some people aren't so lucky. Some people get homophobic, racist assholes for parents. Some people get abusive morons. Some people are cast out entirely and keep coming back in the name of tradition. You know what? Family is what you make it. You are born (whether it be a good or bad thing) related by DNA to a group of people who are more likely than strangers to expose your every misdeed and judge you for not visiting them when you clearly have hundreds of miles between yourself and their front door. You wonder why they're hostile during Thanksgiving? Why even come home? Stay gone. You have friends who are happy to serve as a surrogate family, and in reality, they are usually people you've chosen because they agree with most of what you think. Wouldn't you rather be in that kind of company than a bunch of might-as-well-be-strangers who live in your memories as shadows moving from instance of abuse to instance of abuse and now wear some shiny smile because my GOODNESS they thought you'd NEVER visit. All year we complain about these people and what they did to us and how they did us wrong, but we're perfectly willing to show up at their house and be accosted over a dinner table. Like I said, I ended up with a fairly good family. That being said though, I have a life of my own over an hour away, and I don't make constant apologies to my family for being gone the way some people do. I don't have to. They understand, because you know what? They have their own lives to live. They don't have to guilt me into visiting because they feel bad for being bad people, because either they weren't or they don't know they were. Either way, I prefer it that way. So, if we're boycotting in the name of family, let's make sure we aren't doing so out of context. Family is not a forced DNA circle with room for outsiders only by romantic invitation. Those people are called "relatives." Your family is yours to choose. While I'm on that note, my combination DNA/chosen family bonds on Black Friday not by shopping, but by watching the chaos. I've had more fun tossing items into the carts of strangers at Walmart with my sister and Dad than any of you sad shankwhales do sitting around a table eating in resentful silence. We eat, sit around and have a grand time chatting, and then go out to survey the carnage of the Muncie Mall at 1AM on the busiest day of the year. You really ought to try it. Here's a suggestion for family bonding. It's called the Day After Thanksgiving Games. Go to Walmart with your family, each of you grab a cart and toss a bunch of hot items into it and make the loop around the store screaming "MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE!" until you reach the checkout lanes. Then stick the carts in the checkout lane like they belong to the lady with the other nine carts and leave. On to the next store. Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

If we really want to know why stores like Walmart are open so early, look no further than the other end of that finger you're pointing at big box retailers. You greedy asshats have allowed this and even encouraged it to happen by being willing to shop earlier and earlier until stores figured you don't mind if they open at 6PM on Thanksgiving. The fact of the matter is, no one is making you shop that early. No one is making you wander around in a hysterical fit of bath salts-grade shopping rage. You do it to yourself. And by doing so, you have made it mandatory for the employees of these companies to work through Thanksgiving. You cannot now protest what you caused to happen, because there is no good way to reverse it now. If you boycott the store and it succeeds (and it won't, because too many people are mindless drones buying into the notion that love is not love until it is represented by a financially crippling rock someone dug out of a filthy cave), you will effectively signal a nationwide mass firing of all those employees you're "defending" by boycotting. At least they'll have plenty of time to visit family after that, right? They might even find themselves living with them. Happy effing Thanksgiving, everyone.

Put down your damn picket signs, visit the people you WANT to visit, go support the poor sad people who smile through you yelling at them for "bad service" and go get some coffee. Most of all, chill the fuck out. Who knows what this stupid holiday is actually for anyway? It seems to me it's just as happy a day as Columbus day. Happy Thanksgiving. Let's go deep fry a frozen turkey and blow the garage to the moon. That's how you do it right. Stay classy.

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