I come to understand that Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a day that y’all American wage-slave debt-monkeys are supposed to get out there and buy some Asian-manufactured consumer goods from a Big Box retail operation for a member of your family. This is now tradition in the United States, if you hadn’t yet received your instructions on the matter.
Since this time-focused orgy of acquisition results in considerable amounts of stress, I would like to improve society by relieving you of at least one burden: nobody needs to buy me any Christmas presents this year – or ever again.
I understand that the Business TeeVee Onscreen Cheerleaders are developing hemorrhoids simply because I dared type those words, but the fact remains – I neither require nor desire any consumer goods because of a twisted cultural tradition.
Here is my personal situation: I am 39 years of age. I am married with children. I own a home in the suburbs that has been functioning for some time. Compared with the vast majority of the planet, I have absolutely everything I need and an obscenely high percentage of the frivolous things I merely want. If you are a member of my family and want to buy me a present because of tradition, you are in a terrible position. I require nothing – I have automobiles, cooking equipment, furniture, linens and a full wardrobe – everything for my daily life. And as to what I desire, you have no ability to meet with success, because my remaining desires are hyperfocused and punishingly expensive.
I have completely awesome basses for my second career as a musician: a John Suhr J-Bass, a 1990 Pedulla Buzz fretless, an Azola Baby Bass Reissue and a Fender Sting P-Bass with souped-up pickups and strings to sound great for Motown and country gigs. I have a super MarkBass amplifier that nails every tone I need on a gig, from Jaco-type honk to Marcus Miller’s razor-sharp scooped mids.
So you know what I want this Christmas? The Janek Gwizdala signature model from Fodera:
Fodera only sells it direct from the factory. It costs $12,000.00. So, unless your name is “Great Uncle Warren Buffett” you aren’t going to buy this for me. Also, I don’t need it, I want it. And it’s a crazy, frivolous desire, one equal to considerable daycare and food and clothing for my family – for a year.
What a lucky bastard I am that my desires are this freaking outlandish, as opposed to the thousands of souls in Tacloban, Philippines, who want to bury their dead and get a supply of clean water for Christmas. When I think of the people in a devastated town laid low by a natural disaster, it seems absurd that I would dare ask anybody to spend money on a present for me. When I think about the Americans who need healthcare and schooling and heat for the winter, I actually have to tell people not to spend money on me, ever again. Send me a picture, write me a nice note, call me and tell me how you’re doing. Smile. But please, spend your money on a neighbor who needs it.
It is time that as a culture, Americans stopped seeing consumer spending as some easy form of patriotism. We have long since moved manufacturing of said consumer goods offshore, concentrated the mom-and-pops into publicly-traded conglomerates, and have usually reduced the workforce of these stores to a life of hand-to-mouth survival. Black Friday isn’t getting us anywhere as a culture, no matter how much we shop. So at least where I am concerned, please stop participating in it.
Actually, you can send me one gift – the name of an effective, reputable charity that helps people in my homeland of Vermont or my adopted city of Saint Louis. The biggest gift to all of us is a culture of charity and good will among men.