There are a few days each year when people who are much better suited for their typical day-to-day routines venture out in to a part of the world where they just have absolutely no business being. Amateur Day #1 could technically be considered the last, chronologically speaking, but its name and popularity land it atop the list. I'm talking of course about New Year's Eve, which is when all the people who catch a buzz from a Bartle's & Jaymes wine cooler think they've magically grown a tolerance for large quantities of alcohol, and subsequently flood the town and wreak havoc. You'll find me comfortably in bed no later than 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve, it's just not worth the hassle.
Amateur Day #2 is Selection Sunday, the day the first-round match-ups are announced for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. This is when all the accountants and cell phone salesmen out there all of a sudden know everything there is to know about college hoops, and they subject you to 5 days worth of trash talk over a ten dollar office pool they'll almost certainly lose. Dude, my three year-old could regurgitate what she heard on SportsCenter last night better than you just did . . just spare us.
And today is Amateur Day #3, the one we affectionately dub Black (or Green, depending on your need for political-correctness) Friday. The root of the problem on Black Friday is that people are coerced into doing things at a time of day when they're typically doing something else. This creates huge and uncomfortable clashes, and it generally brings out the worst in everyone, all in the name of $50 off the price of a TV. While I wasn't stupid enough to go to a mall this lovely day, my daily trip to the gym takes me right past a new shopping center that houses a SuperTarget and a Best Buy, among other places. How do I know it would be mass-chaos inside the stores at 8:30 this morning, you ask? I'm going by the fact that on the 1.5 mile stretch of road before the entrance to the mall I was cut off by at least 4 cars and witnessed 3 others making blatantly illegal maneuvers to get where they were going. That's what I mean by Amateur Day . . the people who drive like that are usually out shopping at 7 or 8 o'clock at night, when everybody acts crazy and the sane people are at home avoiding them. But when they subject those of us who commute leisurely to their antics at times when we're not expecting it, that's when all hell breaks loose. Next year I'll most likely skip the trip to the gym on Black Friday, knowing what I know now. It's just one of those days, like New Year's Eve, where I'd just as soon hear the stories afterward and not have experienced any of them. Happy shopping to those of you who value that PlayStation III more than your sanity.