Truth is, I should probably be in a turkey-and-dressing induced coma. But I’ve got to work, so excuse some not so deep thoughts.
First, I did not do Black Friday. I do not know anyone who does, these days. Not even my wife, who can shop an entire day in one store and not buy anything, or shop 10 minutes online and buy a room full of stuff.
As for me, I avoid all contact with mankind on Black Friday, mostly because I do not want to get trampled by large people who think getting up at oh-dark-thirty to buy something is a good idea. Besides, there’s something strange about a day in which we are encouraged to go spend money for stuff that’s probably going to be forgotten in a month or two. It makes me wonder just where and when we as a species went off the rails.
That said, in the interest of full disclosure, I tried the Black Friday thing once, years ago, when an Isle of Wight friend not named Pat Watkins and I got up around 3 a.m. to get down to Brunswick and the Best Buy (I think) to buy some laptops for $100 a pop.
This was in my younger and more rowdy days, and we stayed up until about 1 a.m. partaking of Thanksgiving cheer, which mostly consisted of cold beer.
That made getting up in a couple of hours interesting and, had we gone out and run PT, it would’ve reminded me of the Army. But instead of shuffling four miles to the incessant baying of NCOs, we drank about five cups of coffee and then somehow managed to take a spin down I-95 to the Best Buy.
There, in the neon lit predawn chill, a line of people were already wrapped around the store. We looked at the line for about five minutes and drove to a Waffle House by the interstate. I had a chili omelet, grits and sausage, and the day that followed was perhaps the most miserably weird Friday of my life.
One of the best stories I’ve heard about Black Friday comes from my dad, who some years back saw an ad for something and decided he’d get up early and go to Best Buy (I think). He said he saw the lines outside the store but ignored them. He walked inside the store, picked up the whatever it was and went to pay for it.
"Where’s your ticket," a clerk said.
"What ticket?" my dad responded.
"You gotta have a ticket," the clerk said.
"I don’t have a ticket," my dad said.
"Then you can’t buy this. We only have so many, that’s why people outside are in line waiting for a ticket."
"Well, I don’t need it that bad," my dad said, and he put it down and went home. He’s never gone back shopping on Black Friday either.
Now, before I forget:
On Nov. 4, yours truly finished his first and possibly last marathon. I ran about 20 miles and wobbled the final 6.2 miles through the always lovely streets of Savannah, and was one of about 14,000 runners to do either the half or full Rock and Roll Marathon that day.
How’d I do? I got to fist bump a drum major with the Savannah State band, but my time was abysmal. I finished tied for last with a guy who may not even have been in the race (he didn’t have a bib), though he got a medal too and I’m glad he did. To be honest they could’ve made us stop and get in the sag wagon, but I was told by one race organizer that they "didn’t have the heart," to make us quit.
That’s why I’m writing this now. I owe them a plug. I also owe them my first and perhaps only marathon finisher’s medal.
So if you ever want to run one of these things, try the Rock and Roll. The people are friendly, they bend over backwards to be accommodating and the bands are great.
I’d say the post race event was great, too, but by the time I finished most of the folks had gone home and I don’t blame them.
Not all, though. There were a handful of bands and race workers on hand to make sure the last of us finishers felt like big deals. They even made sure I got an Uber ride back to my car in Pooler, on them.
And even though you might be like my buddy Rod and say you could never run a race, here’s the truth. I smoked for more than 30 years. I quit cold turkey in 2007 and started eating Chinese food instead.
Lots of it.
I got fat, gained 60 pounds. I dieted and started walking to lose the weight, mostly because I couldn’t afford to pay a gym for a membership. Most real reporters don’t make much money.
Then I ran a 5K, and didn’t know if I could finish it. I did a 10K, and didn’t know if I could finish. I did a half, and didn’t know if I could finish. And then, the Rock N Roll marathon, and didn’t know if I could finish it. But I did.
And if I did, with my high cholesterol, giant head and a Barney Rubble physique that is about as aerodynamic as a walrus, anybody can.
Besides, it’s better for you and your wallet than standing around after Thanksgiving waiting on stores to open.