THE LUNAR REPORT – “BLACK FRIDAY” – December 1, 2009

And …. They’re off!  The Christmas Season has begun!  Black Friday was a huge success.  Or a huge failure.  Depending on whether or not you actually found what you wanted.

A couple of years ago, I was with my son, Matt, and his first-born, Sy.  We were in Jacksonville, Florida for Thanksgiving, visiting my family.  We could only stay through Thanksgiving Day because Matt had to work Friday afternoon.  So we left for North Carolina early on Black Friday.  Now, keep in mind, my kid had to be back home on FRIDAY.  And it’s about a 450 mile trip.  Still, we had to make a stop at a Wal-Mart on our way out of town. 

We made it to the Wal-Mart on the Northside by 5am.  FIVE AM!  I stayed in the car with my grandson, Sy.  That child knew what to do and did what all of us know and didn’t do – he SLEPT at 5am on the Friday after Thanksgiving!  I easily volunteered to sit with the child while he slept.  I figured I could get in a few extra winks myself.  But have any of you ever hung out in a Jacksonville shopping center parking lot before dawn?  It’s freaky, man. 

I was sitting in the New Yorker, feeling that I had to stay awake to protect this precious child from parking lot people.  And – just the day before all of this – I was thankful for living a SAFE life!  Of course, many possible ironic resolutions to these circumstances were with me the entire time.  One’s imagination sort of goes on steroids at 5 o’clock in the morning.  Nothing happened.  Matt found the bargains he was seeking.  And I got to hang out with a beautiful grandchild for a while. We were on the road again by 6.  Still.

My son is 24.  I really don’t know what’s hot this year.  If I had written this 20 years ago, I would have all kinds of material.  About Cabbage Patch dolls, Power Ranger action figures, you name it.  Now – I’m stumped.

I remember one Christmas when my son was young.  He wanted a couple of “Wrestling Buddies,” stuffed dolls that looked like real WWF wrestlers.  He had seen them in a commercial.  The dolls were big enough that kids his age could throw them around, fall on them, etc.  You know – “rastle” with them.  But in the commercial there were a few props.  One such prop, to give the impression that a kid could actually feel like a wrestler if he had one of these dolls, was a wrestling ring around a kid’s bed.  It was a prop.  Pure and simple.  But my kid wanted, not only the “Wrestling Buddies.”  He wanted the freakin’ wrestling RING as well.

I called TYCO, Mattel, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, JC Freakin’ Penney.  I even called Remco! Nothing!  Santa couldn’t even pull this one off.  There simply was no such thing as a “Wrestling Buddy ‘Rastling’ Ring.”  It did not exist.  Santa told me that he tried to create one, but with such short notice and lack of supplies, it was impossible.  And all his skilled elves were working on larger projects.

How the heck can a toy manufacturer use a prop like that without actually offering it for sale?  Or, maybe my child was just too odd and different to understand it was just a prop.  Nevertheless, I feel for all you folks who are scrambling around right now – those of you who had hoped to score big on Black Friday only to find that you really do not have the stamina for such nonsense.  I feel your pain.

But never fear y’all.  You will have your day in the sun.  You will wreak revenge one day.  Well, at least, I did.  My child now works in retail.  He has had to work the last 5 Black Fridays.  I love you son, but after all you have put me through these years, you deserve it.  Just don’t make me wait in a pre-dawn parking lot before taking you to work again, ok?