The blackest of fridays

The existence of Black Friday and genocide convinces me of one of three things:  
either a) there is no god
b) god doesn't like anyone very much
or c) god is as bipolar and wrathful as evangelicals think he is

I must say, I hope for option c the least.  

As part of my "take back my life from crippling high interest debt" plan, I have been moonlighting as a Best Buy home theater "specialist."  I've always been cognizant of the horrors of Black Friday, in the same sense that I've been, via the media, aware of the hideousness of genocide.  Youtube videos of humans devolved into something worse than feral, pathetic animals, clawing and scraping and herding for some piece of shit something made in China, have always caused my stomach to writhe with loathing and disgust.  And I say worse than animals, because I've never known animals to trample other animals to death over some unnecessary frivolity.  And last time I checked, we are capable of moral cognition.  

Animals: 1  humans: 0

On Thursday night, I was finally able to experience first hand the moral genocide that is Black Friday.  

Thanks to glorious, holy consumerism, Black Friday has been slowly encroaching upon Thanksgiving. Which is the absolute epitome of contradictions.  And is probably testament to the devolution of Thanksgiving in and of itself, into a holiday which revolves around gluttony and football, rather than any sort of thanks giving.

So, I found myself at Best Buy, around 10:50 pm, having risen from a hasty nap, heart more full of dread than I recall ever experiencing in relation to a job.  As I walked quickly past the seething multitude of greedy humanity, I had this mantra on a loop in my head: "Don't get fired.  Don't get fired. Don't get fired.  It's just 12 hours.  Don't get fired.  Don't get fired.  Don't get fired....."

Upon arrival, I discovered that it was my duty to go out and hawk a 55" Samsung TV on sale for $799, to people waiting in the line.  Which is apparently what we were doing with most of our major door busters.  As I began wading amongst the throng, I discovered that the majority of people only really had interest in 1 thing; a 40" Toshiba on sale for like, $180, down from 5 or 600.  

Obviously, we only had like 23 of these, as they are merely a trap to lure thousands of idiots into the store, where they will proceed to give Besty like, a million dollars in a 24 hour period.

So as I'm freezing my ass off, grumpy as...a decent human being, torn away early from Thanksgiving with family, having to* freeze his ass off to help a bunch of greedy shittheads satiate their need to increase credit card debt, person after person is inquiring about this Toshiba.  And I continue to tell, person after person, that I don't know shit about it.

All along the line, people are literally about to come to blows over people cutting ahead.  Some woman grabs my arm, and angrily asks if I have the Toshiba.  In as oily a manner as I can manage, I say, "I sure don't.  It sold out.  SORRY."  And this woman proceeds to tell me how this is bullshit, and she has been waiting in line since 6 pm, and that next year, we need to have people out here by 4, making sure nobody cuts in line, because all of West Valley had cut in front of her.

Pardon the vulgarity, but this is where I was mentally, in that moment.

And I marveled, that this woman had the audacity to tell me that I should tell one of my superiors that several peoples' Thanksgivings needed to be cut short next year, so this manatee of a woman could get her grubby flippers on a discounted TV.  

And that was the theme and feel of the night; a store full of entitled shoppers, perplexed and choleric when they didn't get the exact deals they deserved.  I didn't get physically trampled by the stampede of human animals who burst through the doors like people fleeing machete wielding Hutus.  But my soul felt trampled.  

I like buying things.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't.  But I will never fight other humans for things.  I will never line up for hours in the cold on a holiday, for things.  I will never turn into a raging, angry lunatic over things.  I definitely lost some faith in humanity.

*I realize that "having to" is debatable, as I choose to do this job to get out of debt.  However, there are a lot of people that "have to" do this very thing, in order to survive.


Happy tears

I think it fair to say that most Americans, during this past election, were mainly concerned with economic issues.  I had democratic leaning friends who said they were voting for Romney based solely upon his economic qualifications.  Other people were planning on voting Obams because they felt like corporations as people/a tax code that favors the wealthy isn't a system that will do much good for average Americans.

Ultimately, my reasons for voting came down to social issues.  Eventually, I think, regardless of who is in office, the economy will right itself.  Now, depending upon who you are, "righting itself" may signify different things.  And in the end, I don't really care too much about those things.  But here is one poignant example as to why I give way more shits about social issues than about how many dollars are in my wallet at the end of the day.

As I arrived at school on that lovely Wednesday morning, after the [not so shocking] vote, I couldn't help but smile at the fact that finally, after an entire year, KSL's (a local news station) unmitigated raging Romney boner would finally be rendered flaccid.  Surely, the Lord, by this point, had wearied of all of the local prayers and supplications for Romney's triumphant ascendency to the presidency, so I'd imagine maybe he was smiling too.

I exited my vehicle, and took a deep breath, the crisp cool Erda air filling my lungs with the clean scents of a small town.  No smells of burning decay, despite America's proverbial death the night before.  Life would go on.  And as I contemplated this life, going on, I started attempting to formulate a way I could, (as much as possible) in an unbiased way discuss some of the election results with my class.  Because I was definitely pleased with the outcome.  But I suspected that I had at least one Mittens supporter in my first class, and so would have to choose my words carefully.  And that student aside, ethics require that I at least appear to be somewhat unbiased.

Class began, and the girls filed in.  Immediately, a few of them brought up the election.  After a few moments of discussion, it dawned on me that we had ended the previous class talking about the fact that homosexuality had been included in the DSM until the 70's, when it was shockingly discovered that homosexuals were no less mentally healthy than anybody else.  In this moment, I recalled reading that both Maryland and Maine had passed gay marriage initiatives by popular vote.

I said, "the President stayed the same.  The balance of power in congress largely remains unchanged.  But I think the most significant thing that occurred last night, was the fact that Maine and Maryland both legalized gay marriage, by popular vote, for the first time ever."  As I said this, I had my back turned to the class, because I was writing Maine and Maryland on the board.    I heard what sounded like a sob.  I turned around to see my transgendered student with her face buried in her hands, weeping tears of joy.

I said, "Wait...you didn't know yet?"
She said, "No, I hadn't heard if it had passed."

To add a little bit of context, this is a student from whom I had never previously observed any sort of emotional response—PERIOD—about anything.  And knowing that a majority of people, somewhere, even though far away, had collectively shouted "we don't know you, but we love you, we support you, and we do not fear you," was enough to shatter her emotional barriers.

There was almost a palpable feeling of love in the room, a feeling of pride.  A shared instant of enlightenment.  In that moment, we all knew that somewhere, despite the odious storm of political bullshit that we had all weathered over the previous months, America had done something right, something profound, something beautiful.  I spent the rest of the class desperately fighting back the happiest of tears.

This is why social issues mean something to me.

Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over a tax break.

Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over cheaper gasoline.

Because i will never see someone weep tears of joy over being able to purchase assault rifles.

Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over invading one more oil rich country.

Because I will never see someone weep tears of joy over a government surplus.

Because things are just things.  We can all learn to be happy and survive with fewer things.

My President supports love.  My President supports equality in love.  Sorry 1%.  But I care about love, more than I care about your money.

I support my President.

Sorry orphans

I suppose November is as good a time as any to resurrect this blog, as though it were easter. Or a zombie apocalypse. Either of which is just as likely to occur, in any given November. My life has taken many an odd turn over the last couple of months. I sold my death trap, blew through 8 grand, got a roommate almost twice my age, started working at Best Buy, and lost a best friend.

 That probably requires some explanation.

 As summer drew nigh, the reality of crushing, crippling student debt began to stare me in the face, with its soul withering, 7.8% interest rate face. Which is something maybe not to dissimilar from what it would be like to wake up every morning, in the pre dawn glow, with Steven Tyler staring at you, inches away.   Nobody wants that.

 I began to contemplate what it would feel like to grab 9, 50 dollar bills every month, and set them on fire, in front of starving [insert random poor country] children. Or, better yet, the parents of those children. While setting some candy on fire in front of the children. Or if they have no concept of candy, like maybe a favorite rock, or a stick. Ah, I digress. Anyways, as one would suspect, that thought was much less appealing than the one Obama certainly feels when he is firing his money cannon into outer space, just for the hell of it, thus increasing our national debt.


 I began attempting to formulate a plan, which would render me financially solvent within a year. Which was one hell of a task, with 27k in graduate debt. Since I'm not very good at making methamphetamine, I thought maybe living in a trailer in someone's driveway for a year might be a good idea. Until I thought about it for like 6 or 5 minutes. Where would I empty the septic tank? Would I freeze to death? Would anyone I know allow a homeless human to occupy their driveway for a year? Would I ever manage more than a first date? WWZ[ombie][Wizard]JD?

 Before I had to really contemplate all of the many sad ramifications of living in a trailer, a wonderful, benevolent co-worker offered me a free room. Suddenly, this crazy-assed plan seemed less crazy-assed. All I needed to do then was find another job. And preferably one that wouldn't thrust me to the brink of alcoholism and/or suicide (or possibly suicide by alcohol), with poor tips from ingrate patrons.

 Turns out, having a master's degree was enough to get me hired at Best Buy, and so I was able to begin an exciting, illustrious part time career talking poors into buying enormous TV's they can't afford. Oh, the cognitive dissonance. And the utter paradox of working your ass off to get out of debt by working your ass off to convince others into acquiring frivolous debt.

 So I was living for free, and shooting a bi-weekly money cannon right into outer space. The first couple of $1000 payments sure felt really shitty. All I could think, was that $1000 is a lot of shoes and liquor. But eventually, I made a mental shift into hating the debt more than I hated lighting thousands of dollars worth of candy on fire in front of hideous orphans.

 I'd also been contemplating, for some time, decreasing the likelihood of ending up with a crinkled spine, and a severely diminished mental capacity, by selling my motorcycle. I couldn't help but think, over the last few months, that ending up as a wheeler with a damaged brain would put a severe damper on my life's goals. And, loading that money cannon with three and a half thousand dollars would sure feel great to launch into the dark abyss. So I sold it.

 And now, 2.5 months have passed, and I've managed to burn about 8000 candy bars in front of weeping orphans. And so, largely, life is pretty okay. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to be in this position. I'm busier than I've ever been, I think. But I feel like I'm making real progress, and putting my life in a position where, in the not too distant future, the adventures and possibilities will be as endless as some metaphor that has a bunch of seemingly endless possibilities.