Its cold outside
My 5-year-old nephew turned to me the other day and said, “Uncle Ise! Do you know what comes after Thanksgiving!!?” I thought to myself…
"Pillage and murder…?"- but kept that to myself and smiled. "Christmas?", I answered. "Noooo…," he said, "Black Friday!!!" I was outright stunned. "Black Friday isn’t a holiday!", I said while laughing and tickling him. He laughed and between gasping and smiling through the tickling exclaimed "I know, I know!" I let up and smiled at him as he regained his composure. He sat up, looked me dead in the face with a serious stare and said, "but Uncle Ise, Black Friday is real…" He’s hilarious.
Today is “Thanksgiving”. I don’t partake, so I’m riding around on a road trip looking for a restaurant that is open so I can grab a bite. The streets are empty for the most part. Shops, markets, and eateries that would normally be open are closed up with the lights off. I pull into a commercial lot full of businesses that are closed even though it’s only about 6 pm due to the holiday. A sign for a Claim Jumpers that read “Open on Thanksgiving” is what pulled me in. The side of the lot I pulled into was desolate like a scene from a zombie movie where all the zombies are in the dark grocery store waiting for you to walk in… But pulling around to the other side suddenly a car convoy is driving in and coming towards me. Families with children are briskly walking in one direction and there’s a commotion that everybody but me is in on. I park and get out of the car to see what they’re all running to… There’s a damn Walmart in the lot and these goobs are all scurrying in line to wait for whatever sale is being offered. I made a makeshift sign for my pointless protest and grabbed my camera. On the day where everyone is pretending to be grateful, it’s simultaneously socially acceptable to want more. Need more, even. I mean, you gotta really need something to stand out in the cold for hours to get it right?
This thinking is a social disease. And like most diseases, it progresses. Before it was, “Get to the mall early the morning after Thanksgiving at some ridiculous hour.” Now its just “Fuck it, scarf down your turkey and let’s go!”
What’s next? “Best Buy! Now serving Thanksgiving dinner and a TV too!”
85% of the people out there in these lines that are forming across America right now are just having a total douche-moment…
10% are single parents or people desperate in these times but still trying be able to get gifts for their loved ones. Sadly, instead of providing customers with a fair deal, these stores run people through the midnight gamut for a short window of time to create a supply and demand illusion.
The last 5% of the people in those lines are our children. The infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers I saw in this line tonight - all getting a great lesson in American values from us adults.
Ise Lyfe is a Spoken Word Hip-Hop Theater Artist, author and educator. As a nationally renowned artist, justice advocate, businessman, and social architect from Oakland, CA- this young man has a decade of experience in performance and education that includes HBO Def Poetry Jam and residencies and lectures at over 300 universities including Yale and Princeton. Ise Lyfe is simply a unique and powerful asset to the artistic and human rights world.
*In 2012, Ise Lyfe’s hometown of Oakland, CA awarded him with one of it’s highest honors by dedicating his birthday, December 28th, as ’Ise Lyfe Day’ in the City of Oakland.