The Friday after Thanksgiving is the Official Start of the Christmas Shopping Frenzy here in the States. Black Friday, it’s called – because this is the day that retailers finally see black ink on their books, presumably after bleeding red all year.

I generally have as little to do with these ridiculous proceedings as possible.

If I could, I would avoid any visits to shopping malls, arcades – pretty much any retail establishment – until after Christmas.

Things are out of control. Merchants, in their greed, have pushed the Christmas season up so that the music and decorations are up in everybody’s grille before the candle has cooled in the Hallowe’en pumpkin. If I were a Christian, I would be outraged. But since I am not, I am merely bemused.

This Friday past, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I had our own Shopping Adventure.

Seems that a local discount retailer was offering a mini-DVD player at a very attractive price. Quantities limited, and all that. SWMBO has had her eye on one of these babies for a long time, and this was her chance to pounce.

The store opened its doors at 3:56 am that day, and we were there.

Yes, we. I had agreed to come along, for the sheer dementedness of it.

Still groaning from the previous evening’s food overload, we had set the alarm for 3:30. My plan was to go to the store with SWMBO, then run back home and maybe catch a few more Z’s before having to run off to morning minyan – the daily Jewish worship service – at 6:50. And so there we were.

“Of course, you realize we’re all insane,” I remarked to the gentleman standing just ahead of me in the early-morning queue. He nodded, sheepishly. Yes. Yes, we were. And then the doors opened and we all piled in.

Five minutes later, we had our DVD player…and a pair of undershorts for me. (My boys need a home.) I’m willing to bet that we were the first to check out, having accomplished our Stupid Mission while all those around us were stuffing random crap into their carts.

Staying awake during minyan…now, that was the hard part.

Steve Krodman

Steve Krodman

Steve Krodman, AKA the Bard of Affliction, lives in the steaming suburbs of Atlanta with his wife and two cats. He is partial to good food, fine wine, tasteful literature, and Ridiculous Poetry. Most significantly, he has translated the Mr. Ed theme song into four languages.