After watching several videos of people losing their minds at Walmarts and Best Buys around this country last Friday (Black Friday), my initial response was to shake my head and immediately put on an Om album to bring me back to center. Later I thought about how the level of mind control these corporations have over so many people in the country is equally impressive and disheartening, depending on your stock portfolio. Also depending on whether you have a stock portfolio. It’s to the point that human beings will trample other human beings just to get a deal on a flatscreen television, which is more disturbing when you consider that many of these same deals can be had by simply staying home and shopping online. The fact that all of this takes place the day after Thanksgiving seems to some an even sadder commentary on the state of things in this country, while others might argue it’s actually an appropriate response based on the history of the holiday in question.
Thanksgiving to me, back when I actually ate turkey and all that stuff, was always more about food than anything else. This was especially the case when I was a kid because there were times when we were so poor that we were barely eating enough to sustain us from day to day. My mom’s uncles, aunts, and cousins still live on a reservation in New Mexico, so we definitely were not celebrating Christopher Columbus or any of that nonsense. It was, like any holiday where there’s food, an opportunity to eat as much as I could without drawing too much attention to myself. Play it cool, and make it look like you’re casually going back for seconds when it’s actually your fourth serving of mash potatoes and gravy. Being one of the youngest of the cousins, I looked forward to sitting around afterwards in a relatives backyard, listening to my older cousins tell us stories about all the crazy stuff they got into. Their stories were funny, violent, exhilarating! It was a lot to live up to, but I tried my best for years before I had to accept that I was growing up in a different time than they had, even though they were only a decade older.
I’ve spent many Thanksgivings since by myself, walking the streets of the East Bay with a coffee in my hand, lost in thought. I like to go back in my mind and play choose your own adventure with history, then try to imagine an alternate reality where there is less dumb shit obscuring the good stuff.