-- BINK OWEN, Walla Walla
What do you think of when you think of "black?" Right, crime, rain, mold, decay, cat (black=unlucky), bruises, heart (Hello, Scrooge), oil spills, clouds, and blood swirling around the drain in Hitchcock's movie, Psycho. To all of these we can now add America's latest contribution to synonyms of "black": the growing phenomenon of Black Friday.
About once a week, I see thousands of wide-eyed lemmings running past my home for a cliff. When I watch this tragedy unfold, I think of my sucked-in fellow man queuing up in the cold black morning outside the doors of Wal-Marts, Targets, Shopkos, Best Buys and K-Marts to avoid disappointment by maxing out their credit cards faster than a switch lights up a Christmas tree. The upshot of this is to listen after Dec. 25 to my neighbors wail over financial losses -- empty wallets and sweating at the prospect of vampire credit agencies beating on their doors before the Yule log has cooled. When I ask them why do you succumb to the urge to recklessly spend, they look at me as though I am mad and without spirit. They simply cannot disappoint family members with simplicity; they go into a frenzy at the cash registers, jacking up debt. Just when accounts might have been cleaned up from last Christmas, this plague renews the Sisyphean labor once more. How sad, endless and tiring.
There is a reason it's called Black Friday, Virginia. But who listens?