Black Friday is not for weenies

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By Ken Begley

“Shopping is a woman thing. It’s a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.”

Erma Bombeck

You want to live life on the edge? Then my suggestion is to go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, infamously known as “Black Friday.”

Let’s face it - shopping is the restricted preserve of the female part of our society. Any time a guy says he likes to shop my eyebrows tend to arch up at funny angles.

A few years ago I let my wife do all the shopping at Christmas time. I stayed home to guard the castle.

This led to quite a few arguments, particularly as our brood of rugrats and crum snatchers significantly grew and the bills rose correspondingly. What fun is it to wait at home for 12 hours, only to discover a huge portion of your income is now gone?

Finally, my wife grew tired of my annual bellyaching and said, “You’re taking a vacation day and coming with me. You can argue with yourself if you think we’ve overspent for the holidays.”

You know what? I came to discover that I did enjoy shopping in the extreme environment of “Black Friday”.

Hey, I saw those eyebrows arch. It’s not what you think.

I never got to play team or contact sports as a kid. My daddy put me to work at the age of 10. Not that I was any good at sports, mind you. I was known as “Two Good Players Begley.” If you got Begley (me) then you also got to pick two good players. Shopping on Black Friday is the only time that I can engage in a full-contact sport and live what I didn’t get to do as a kid.

However, I do have great analytical powers of observation. Some say exaggeration but what do they know? I use them liberally while shopping on Black Friday.

You know what I found out this year at the Bardstown Walmart around 5 a.m.?

Wives of coaches and former athletes themselves tend to be great athletes in their own right.

It’s true!

We pulled up to Wal-Mart and every parking space was full. This included the loading zone in the rear, which was where I parked.

“Hey, Jack!” the burly truck driver yelled in my direction, “You can’t park there!!!”

I looked around me and didn’t see anyone I knew that was named “Jack,” so I continued scurrying into that mass of humanity in Wal-Mart determined to get my fair or otherwise share of bargains.

Did you know that truck drivers couldn’t run very fast? I guess it comes from all that sitting behind the wheel.

Anyway, Cindy and I split up.

I headed to the electronics section and immediately saw a line of people backed up as far as the eye could see. This appeared to be what Judgment Day will be like. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth as disappointing news was received. Only instead of God it came from store clerks of merchandise already sold out.

The lady behind me looked to be in a trance and kept repeating over and over again, “I’ll not do this again, I’ll not do this again, I’ll not do this again...” The hardcore female shopper behind her looked on with scorn and hissed, “Weenie.”

There was a huge box filled to the brim with $10 Wii video games beside us. People lined every side of the box grabbing games as fast as possible. Men and women began to dive headfirst into the box as the pile diminished.

This led to another observation.

Why do a lot of women now-a-days get those tattoos right around the back of their..., oh just forget it.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Anna Smith, Chuck Abell’s wife, seemed to drop from the sky. She said “Hey, Begley,” along with something else that I couldn’t quite make out. So, wanting to be helpful nonetheless, I said, “I think it’s on the other side of that box of Wii games”.

Anna immediately reached up on the shelf above my head and grabbed a bathroom shower curtain rod. She extended it fully and then gracefully pole-vaulted over the mayhem. She was not seen again that morning.

It was an impressive display of athletic skill and my jaw dropped.

Then I saw Larry Smith’s wife, Angie, galloping down the aisle with her son, Adam, running interference as she headed for the cash register. Adam had on his football helmet and shoulder pads.

“Hey, Adam,” I yelled as they dashed by. “John Cecconi wants that football stuff back.” Angie yelled over her shoulder, “After the sales are done!”

Finally I saw Tim Lawson’s wife, Vickie, barreling up a different aisle with both arms filled while people went down like bowling pins.

No penalties were called by the store associates.

You know what?

Every one of their husbands had told me their sons and/or daughters got all that ability they have playing ball from them.

I’m here to tell you, somebody lied.

Happy shopping!