Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, I am reminded of one thing: People are crazy. Not that I exclude myself from the masses, because I am included in the craziness. 

That said, I haven't left my house (which is less than a mile away from probably the busiest mall in the greater metro-Detroit region, purely based on my speculation). I don't want to leave my house. Yet, I know I will end up heading to at least one store today.

As much as I like to sneer at the tradition, the reality is, this is another tradition that I just don't get. And I like to make an effort to "get it." So this year, I will go with my sister to REI and Barnes and Noble because I like those stores.

I've made the mistake in the past of trying to go to one of the busier stores to experience the day. All I end up experiencing is chaos. If I go to a mall, I find myself endlessly circiling the cosmetics mirrors trying to find my way out of the perfumerie onslaught and getting into the actual mall. Eventually, I fail and retire back to my car to sit in mall traffic.

My other tactic has been to try one of the independent stores (i.e. not part of an internal mall), such as Kohl's. When I went clothes shopping Kohl's was my destination of choice. However, on the day after Thanksgiving, I would usually select one item I thought would be good to purchase, walk towards the register, realize purchasing the $10 four-pack of uber-nice socks would cost me not only Alexander Hamilton's likeness, but part of my soul (as I waited in line for hours, and attempted not to let the 17 year-old female conversations drive me insane).

But the reason why I can't exclude myself from the craziness is because I feel like Black Friday (which term I just learned two years ago) is a cultural rite of passage. Something everyone simultaneously hates, complains about, gets fired up for, and in some form or another deliberately participates or non-participates.

So when that pile of ad sits on my kitchen table, I can't help but rifle through them. I find myself desiring to purchase peacoats and accent rugs that I know I'd never actually use. I'll peruse the Parisian ad, before devouring the deliciously stimulating ABC Warehouse ad/sensory onslought on newspaper form (the Parisian to ABC Warehouse transition is like reading the National Enquirer after the New Yorker, by the way).

All that to say: I don't get this day. I don't want to get it. But when its all said and done, I need to take a brief foray into the estrogen-driven madess (thats right, I had to slip in a sexist shopping reference) just to remind myself why I shouldn't feel like I am missing out when I am sitting on my couch watching bottom-tier college football today. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Razors and Blades

Note: Yeah, thats right: I'm going three-for-three in a pre-holiday posting Bonanza.

Throghout the nation, when every young man reaches his official manhood recognition day (none in some circles as the eighteenth birthday) he recieves two things. Number one: A razor from the Gillete Company, a subsidory of the Proctor and Gamble monolith. Number two: A draft card. If I'm in the business world, I jump on the former's philosophy.

I've used a Mach 3 razor for seven plus years now. Why? Because I got one free on the day when I was able to legally obtain lottery tickets and cigarettes. I'm not sure of much else, other than that I've flirted with other brands, fives blades, electric, battery, and going months without shaving (always a better sounding idea than in practice).

However, I, like every man, realized at some point that I am forking over a lot of money on razor blades that I'm not sure is a sound investment. Meanwhile, the Gillete (or P & G) is trying to get me to upgrades so I can slab a couple extra plades on my razor and a couple extra points on their dividend returns. In order to combat this affront, I don't switch razor blades. No, I just use the same one longer. Which doesn't say a whole lot about me, nor the compelling nature of advertisements aimed at the man who desires a close shave.

Anyways, I think George Orwell was on to something when the primary scarce commodity in his groundbreaking 1984 was razorblades. Let's be honest, in my world, they are already a scarce commodity. Also, the coincidence that you get your razor and selective service card around the same time seems eerily ironic. I guess you're always going to be serving the man, one way or the other (or else hairy, but seriously, who wants that?).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Productivity Enhancement

I know of only one sure-fire method to ensure that I will accomplish a task that I have been putting off forever. The only option: Put something I want to do less ahead of it on my internal to-do list.

I'm not sure how everyone else functions, but I have a relatively unidimensial sense of obligation. That is, I can only do one thing at a time, and I'm not even great at doing that well (see the April 27 poset on multitasking). However, what I am pretty good at is doing something other than my primary task. Case in point, I hadn't updated this blog in months, and I had some sort of mild desire to do so, but not enough motivation to actually sit down and type something out. Then, next thing you know, I have three tests in three days and I suddenly have the inspiration and motivation to post on my elderliness and distractability. Unbelievable.

Hopefully, some day, I can just have something really miserable that I have to do looming over my head so that I can do all the other stuff that I kind of want to do, but don't quite get around to. On second thought, lets just hope I learn to complete the task at hand. With that, the books.

Monday, November 24, 2008

How to Age instantaneously

I turned twenty-five last week (or pretty close to it). I know: old. I've already had the obligatory stereotypical conversation with my friends about random aches and pains, worrying about IRA's and healthcare, and friends getting married and having kids (yeah, I'm old, but that is seriously old business I don't even know how to do with). Anyways, I did think back to a few events that I have participated in that should sufficiently qualify me for AARP membership:

1) Attended a condo assocation meeting. Yeah, for my building, not like I dropped in on Grandma's to determine what color the tableclothes would be at her nursing home's Thanksgiving Dinner. I'm not sure whether I should be happy about this or depressed.

2) Drove a Buick. Again, not exactly my Grandfather's. I mean, it was his .  . . then he sold it to me . . .and then he purchased I swear the exact same vehicle with a different shade of upholstery. Anyways, I try not to think of the Century as an elderly man's vehicle so much as an accomplished man's. I mean really, old people have done a lot of stuff. I'm just glad to be among their ranks.

3) Participated in leisure activities. I'm not gonna lie, horshoes, bags (cornhole), and the like are about as much excitement as I desire. Sure I play intramural basketball and such, but really its just something to be ready for shuffleboard season.

4) Reminesced way too much. I can't count the number of times I've had the following conversation with a college roommate, high school teammate, or the like:
Guy 1: Dude, remember (insert year in school here) when we (insert activity such as golf here) every (insert day here)
Guy 2: Yeah, that was awesome
Guy 1: Yeah, yeah it was.

5) Wait a second . . . what was this last item supposed to be again?