Thanksgiving did not happen at our house. There was no turkey, no mashed potatoes, and no pumpkin pie. I spent the day being very thankful there was no cleaning or dirty dishes.
Instead we opted for a new holiday.
According to Wikipedia, Black Thursday is a term used to refer to events which occurred on a Thursday. It has been used in the following cases. (I am paraphrasing here for your convenience. There is no test at the end):
- February 6, 1851 – devastating bushfires in Victoria, Australia
- September 18, 1873 – The Panic of 1873 triggers a series of bank failures
- October 24, 1929 – The start of the Wall Street Crash of 1929
- August 15, 1940 – German Luftwaffe mounted its largest number of sorties during the Battle of Britain
- October 14, 1943 – Allied air forces suffered large losses in the Second Raid on Schweinfurt during World War II
- December 16/17, 1943 – Losses during the Berlin bombing campaign were high due to combat and weather
- August 24, 1995 – Moscow interbank credit market collapsed
- February 8, 1996 – Black World Wide Web protest in the United States
- July 24, 2003 – Violent political demonstrations created havoc in Guatemala City
- May 6, 2010 – 2010 Flash Crash,
- September 30, 2010 – Irish government deficit rose to 32% of GDP
And yes, thanks to the materialization of Christmas, it is also the Thursday before Black Friday, known to the civilized population of the United States as Thanksgiving.
One can glean a couple points from this list.
- Really bad things happen on Thursdays.
- The Retail Black Thursday is bad enough to make this list.
Black Thursday is a fairly new occurrence. It is a spin-off of Black Friday. Spin-offs are born from something people just can’t get enough of. If you can’t get enough Happy Days, they make Laverne and Shirley. If you can’t get enough Black Friday, they make Black Thursday.
We were naive little babies scouring the newspaper ads on Thanksgiving morn. “See the pretty t.v.s? Look at those nice prices! Ooh! To which store shall we go?”
We decided on Kmart. The first 40 minutes of Black Thursday were celebrated in a line, about 50 yards from the front door. Minnesota had stirred up a real blizzard and possibly a little holiday spirit. As with any classic holiday story, several things were learned:
- If you are smart you will line up behind a lady with a spring-loaded hair clip. Snow can pile up in a good 3-inch drift on one of those suckers. Watching it can help pass time and distract you from the pain of icy extremities.
- Scope out your locations carefully. Some are more likely to offer a good fist fight. The worst we found was some guy with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth telling other people “Shut up. Do I look like I’m budging in line? Shut up!” If we couldn’t get a t.v., I was at least hoping for a YouTube submission. Didn’t happen.
- If you’re going to wag your finger at someone across an electronics counter, have the common decency to yell a bit. Some of us want a YouTube video.
- Kmart doesn’t care if they don’t have what you saw in the flyer. They know you will leave some money behind. I didn’t brave the arctic for 40 minutes to walk out empty handed. And that was when I found the greatest deal ever on boxes of Hershey’s Pot of Gold chocolates. I spent just over $7 on chocolates that Thursday night. That is $7 more than I have spent there in the last three years totaled.
- Many friends can be made standing in a northeaster for 40 minutes. Your friendship will end the minute you reach out for the t.v. they had their eye on.
- Show up at least three hours in advance with your Thermos, sleeping bag and folding sports chair. Otherwise, you might as well hop into your warm bed and wait until morning after the plows have come through.
Black Thursday will probably not be celebrated in our house next year. I’ve learned there isn’t anything for sale on Thanksgiving that I need more than what I have at home already. As Marcie told Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, “Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving,’ Charlie Brown.”
We drove off that night together laughing in spite of ourselves . . .