This past Thanksgiving I went home to Long Island to spend the holiday with four different branches of my family. I did it up, as Thanksgiving allows, celebrating, overeating, etc. Upon waking up Friday morning I knew after my four helpings of Thanksgiving dinner a nice ‘Black Friday’ workout was necessary.
I drove up to my old high school and went down to the track. Thoughts of motivation swirled around in my head. I took some pre-workout (yes, I take it before running because I’m lazy a savage) and went through my standard warm-up routine. After listening to ‘Hot in Here’ by Nelly roughly six times I was ready.
I truly felt like a phenomenal collegiate athlete, I blew past every old lady wearing those weird rounded sketchers (I don’t get how people don’t fall in those). As I traveled around the track I noticed this woman who was in her mid 40s, blonde, a total PTA member. She was running alongside her pre-teen daughter, and at first it almost brought a tear to my eye. If only my mother made me run with her in my pre-teen years, maybe I wouldn’t have had high cholesterol as an 11-year old.
Eventually I caught up to this duo; because I was practically traveling at the speed of light. As I jogged up to them I prepared myself to give the ‘wave, nod, “happy thanksgiving’’’, but then I heard the horrid noise. It sounded like the worst cry I have heard in my life, and I know crying I live with five girls… I am no stranger to identifying a cry for help when I hear one; it is like my Spidey sense.
“MOM I need to stop” this girl moaned in between a series of heavy breaths and a cough that totally sounded like a little vomit came up. ‘Ew’ I thought and I moved to the outside lane. This was going to bring down my lap time I realized, but if I successfully made it through Thanksgiving eve without being puked on I certainly wasn’t going to let ‘Cindy Lou Puke’ ruin my post Thanksgiving high.
The mom, who I originally deemed a sweetheart, screamed back “It isn’t about how it feels. It is about finishing!” as her strides began to lengthen and she pulled away from her daughter. She was repeating it over and over; I don’t know how she had the lung capacity to yell like that while running. With the seriousness in her tone I began to pick up speed. “You’re right lady, work harder, Laurelle!” I shouted to myself, in my head of course.
As I passed them I felt bad for the young girl, who was struggling around the track slipping on her own tears I presume. Running really sucks but most importantly people suck. Her mom is by no means a bad lady and honestly it’s kind of awesome to see someone push herself and try to instill the same drive in her children. But the day before, on Thanksgiving, I’m sure she was much less of a drill sergeant and much more of a ‘Betty Crocker’.
What’s sad about the holidays in particular is that we see people vary so greatly from day to day. How ironic is it that the day in which we give thanks precedes the biggest shopping day of the year? Not to say people are fake but if you are truly so thankful, why are you first in line at Victoria Secret on Black Friday? We know that’s not a gift… or at least I hope not; if you’re going to buy someone lingerie do it at full price.
I guess this is human nature: people mean well but are inconsistent. And when people defy this and prove their consistency we adore them, just look at any idolized professional athlete (i.e. Steph Curry’s 3 pointer percentage).
‘Black Friday’ was coined in the 1960s to describe the violence and aggression in shopping malls and stores on the Friday following Thanksgiving. In fact the name wasn’t the art of a clever ad agency as a promotion for discounts and good deals, it was instead a term used by police departments to describe the madness of the day. A day that follows a holiday of solidarity and appreciation. Talk about inconsistency.
There’s nothing wrong with ‘Black Friday’ shopping, don’t get me wrong. You should be economical with your shopping; it is natural for people to be self-interested, we all are. There is just something truly Shakespearean about the holidays.