Beyond the Black

Beware! The end of Civilization As We Know It is upon us!

No, not the winding-down of the Mayan calendar. I’m pretty sure the last few images on it translate to “Don’t be caught short in the new epoch! Buy your next Long Count calendar now!”

I don’t mean the sunset of the Hostess Twinkie either. One way or another, Twinkies will live on long after any of us, possibly as attic insulation.

And as for any particular election results, please. A day in which the United States survives political gridlock and uncertain leadership is also known as Wednesday.

No, I’m referring to the (drumroll please) SHOPPING INVASION OF THANKSGIVING!

You’ve surely heard about it. How those Black Friday sales kept creeeeping ever closer to the family sanctum of Thanksgiving only to spill over into that blessed time at last. How it’s an offense to humanity, to dignity, to blue-collar American workers and their values. Oh, we got trouble, my friends, right here, I say, trouble, right here in River City …


All right. I’ve exorcised Professor Hill. But his spirit does seem alive and well at times. And well it might. After all, American consumers are being marched into those stores at gunpoint. It hardly bears thinking …


Well, then the store owners. Each and every one of them compelled by alien mind control to open up for business …

You’re kidding?

All, right, but we do have to think about the workers. I’m sure many of them would rather be spending the holiday with their families than grinding out another day on the job, uncompensated, unrewarded…

Although, wait a minute. I’ve worked on Thanksgiving before. So have others I know, usually as part of a skeleton crew to free up as many workers as possible. And as I remember, the paycheck didn’t stop. Sometimes there was even a bonus for working a holiday — not win-the-lottery levels, but a little bit of extra help toward Christmas. Our families usually understood.

I guess it comes down to this. How resilient do we believe the spirit of thankfulness, brotherhood and family really is?

I happen to believe it’s a little tougher than many of us think.

I’m not saying I think it’s a great decision on the part of the American commercial sphere. I like creating a quiet space. I like having a time set apart. I think most of us do.

But if we have to compel or shame everyone into observing it — well, how much credit are we giving it really?

True thankfulness is a choice, on the part of those who give and those who receive. Is it such a fragile choice that we have to take away all the others lest someone be tempted?

Compelled peace is an oxymoron. Or it should be.

I hope the “invasion” doesn’t last. But if it does, Thanksgiving will survive. It may survive on a Friday or Saturday in some homes (heck, it already does), but so long as people want to keep it, it will stay.

So rather than rail and moan, let’s continue to keep it. Let’s be grateful for those who do. And let’s keep that spirit of gratitude alive through the holidays and the time beyond.

Many thanks, everyone.

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