And so the end of the year in the once civil Western hemisphere rounds the corner of the first holiday marking the approach to year’s end. In era’s past a feast day recognizing that the good fortune of plenty was not a mandate but God’s gift blunting an otherwise ignoble twist of fate of an empty larder in a cold and uncaring Winter. A time when family, friends and neighbors once gathered to give thanks to the almighty for the end of the year’s harvest such as it was. But that was then, and certainly not what is expected to happen now. Now in present tense twenty-first century America, decade number two whatever sense of religious awe for the change of season has nothing to do with respect for the vagaries of mother nature or father time. Now itis the merciless onslaught of ceaseless offers marking endless sales offers for anything and everything imaginable that for some reason sat on store shelves or lurked in undisturbed piles within an out of the way warehouse. The volume of transfer of hard earned wealth from the common population being trimmed down by the constantly shifting of prices every upward and the stagnation of growth in wages leaving wage earners parsimonious in terms of their spending. The reverence once accorded to the miracle of life and thankfulness for survival of another year of good health challenged by an across the board official hard sell that employs every flashy trick and strategy to convince one that they should liquidate their bank accounts for the sake of truly momentary pleasure of briefly feeling like a millionaire. The gimmicks are rife playing upon a twisting of human interest stories designed to wrangle people into celebrating giving by indenturing them to fess up with a present for everyone that they know. The acquiring of material goods and services made to seem a trivial exercise holding no consequence for the buyer with supposedly deep discounts and easy extended terms that delay the inevitable denting of one’s bank account. Spending furiously displacing any previous cultural rituals marking the transition of one year to the next as a time to consume. The traditional red and green of Christmas perverted by the colorless black of the Friday one minute past the ending of a previous traditional day of thanks. A virtual privateer with letters of mark set forth by the ruling hegemony of worldwide commercial interests to waylay all previous holidays and entangle the finer sentiments of bygone times of a spirit of charity into blind hopeless consumerism. All conflicting notions of intelligent parsimony made to walk the pirate’s plank! Splayed across every news outlet and all other means of communication for the next sixty days is the tribal drum beat of SAVE and SALE! The ultimate consequence of having to pay for this brief bacchanal kept out of sight and mind till the tolling of New Years has left people’s bank accounts fully emptied of funds and necessity has melted away all resistance to surrender to another year of toil to fully address the accumulation of this financial bondage. Santa’s promising generous bulk of cornucopia promise transformed into the poisonous slither of persistent ‘$’s that swarm the hapless victims now all too mindful of their own previous licentious consumerist impulses.
“Happy Black Friday, 0 percent interest and no payments till next year, everyone!”