Saturday, November 29, 2008

on greed and gluttony...

This subject from a fat guy who wants to win the lottery....

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that I have some very mixed feelings about. I love the family get together, ( even though mine is very small in recent years ) and I love the food. Too much food though, and one truly feels compelled to "have a little of everything." Why? Simply put, out of politeness. In my family, each dish of the dinner is made from scratch by a professional chef who just happens to be my father. Occasionally there are additional dishes made with equal care and attention to detail from other family members, and to skip items, for anything other than moral standing ( meaning you can skip the meat if you're a vegetarian ) is to insult the cooks who have labored long and hard over each course of your meal. From the peeling of the potatoes, to the basting of the bird, from the cooking of the pumpkins to the kneading of the pie shells, it's all done for "You!" The afternoon sitting in the livingroom, the smells from the kitchen making the stomach growl in anticipation of the big meal. The table is set with the good Corelle ware, and silver. Dinner is served and The plates are loaded up. Take a little bit of everything, but some extra of your favorites, and my personal favorites are the dressing and the cranberries. ( whole cranberries cooked in a sweet jelly that is made with cherry brandy! yummy!) By the time the main meal is done it's gonna be a bit of work to have some dessert. But what's Turkey day without Punkin pie? It's tradition!

So why so many different foods for one dumbass holiday? If you can set a decent table and serve a complete meal, what more needs to be done? Why must we gorge to the point that we feel sick afterwards? ( thank you I haven't done this in a few years, I know what you were thinking!) Is this a holdover behavior from the days when it was truly possible to run out of food over a long winter and we were programmed to eat hearty when it was available so that we might fatten up for the hard weather? Or is it simply tradition to see who can gain the most "turkey weight"? I know many otherwise sensible people who will gorge on a thanksgiving meal until they can barely walk without pain. As a lifelong overeater, even I don't do that with anything other than lasagna. ( me and garfield!) I'm, of course, joking, I don't eat anything like that anymore, in fact it has been years since I ate so much of anything that I was in pain. Uncomfortable, yes, pain, no! SO the Gluttony precedes the greed of "Black Friday."

Do you know why it's called "Black Friday?" It's not about the feeling of doom that most retail employees feel for this day, rather it is about the color of ink that the management of retail store hope to be able to use in the ledgers at the end of the day. It is said ( and I really have trouble believing it) that while most retail establishments run in the red ( losing money) for the large part of the year, the 4 week stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas bring the books into the black ( showing a profit ). If this is indeed the truth then it's a poor business model that they have been following. To depend on 4 weeks out of a year to bring your yearly sales into the black is insane. But it sure explains why they started pushing Christmas in September. Sad.

So that brings me to the real greed part of this thing, because on Black Friday this year a Wal-mart employee was trampled to death trying to control the crowd pushing through the door at opening. The full story is here. In the story an employee is quoted as saying that the crowd took the doors off of their hinges. This is stupidity at it's worst. The story even tells how these very same customers were refusing to leave the store when police closed it because of the death! Where is the sense of these people? The worst has finally happened, and now we have to see what comes of it. I think that store could be a little more cautious when advertising a "door buster" sale! Too many people take this a little too literally, but unfortunately the retail management has no morals and will continue to advertise such sales in hope of getting every descretionary dollar available from the public, as well as as many indescretionary dollars as possible too. Retail management has proven that they know this is a dangerous practice:

Hank Mullany, president of Wal-Mart's northeast division, said the company took extraordinary safety precautions.

"We expected a large crowd this morning and added additional internal security, additional third-party security, additional store associates and we worked closely with the Nassau County police," he said in a statement.

"We also erected barricades. Despite all of our precautions, this unfortunate event occurred."

I am about this close to opting out of Christmas. It has become far too gimme, gimme, gimme and lost it's love. As a person who is cursed with a December birthday I have a love hate relationship with Christmas to begin with, and this kind of things just makes it worse.

Now a pet peeve that has been on my mind a lot lately, GRAMMAR! the following is correct, "In an emergency...", while this is incorrect, "In a emergency...". The following is correct, "It would be a historic event." The following is incorrect, "It would be an historic event." If the word following the article begins with a vowel the article "an" is used, if the following word begins with a consonant the article "a" is used. A very simple rule that I have seen screwed up repeatedly of late and it is driving me insane!! ( and that's just a short walk to begin with. )

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