A man was trampled to death. That sounds like such an odd way of going doesn’t it? I mean, I can understand if it happened to a safari guide, elephant trainer, or kindergarten teacher.
Trampled. Stomped on. Flattened. This wouldn’t sound like such an odd way to go if it was in a third-world country with lots of religious pilgrims. But no, this man that died worked at Wal-Mart.
Objectively speaking I’ll be honest. I don’t like Wal-Mart. That goes on many levels. The most superficial being a bit snobbish, shopping in Wal-Mart is like walking into a warehouse full of cheap stuff and smelling of cold concrete. I used to dress up just to go, Yellow-Mellow trucker hat, Spalding sneakers, t-shirt that says “God Bless
Back to the stiff. It’s the holiday shopping spree dubbed “Black Friday,” because for once stores can pull themselves out of the red on this magical time of year. I’ve never gone out shopping on Black Friday, but I have worked during it at a retail store and it certainly is deserving of its reputation.
So this guy is working at Wal-Mart. It’s 5a.m. There are two thousand people waiting for the store to open. This guy opens the doors and the crowd enters. It’s a herd of people. They knock him down, walk all over him; short story is he’s pronounced dead at a hospital an hour later, he’ll get a headstone and some news coverage.
This is the beauty of advanced capitalism. This is a beautiful look at what we truly are. Someone once told me we were different from animals because we had purpose to our lives, we didn’t live meaninglessly. My question that I’ve asked since I started questioning everyone around me (I started around 3 yrs old) is how are we so different? I mean an animal has its instincts, it knows what it has to do to survive and it survives. Maybe it encounters an unknown situation, it handles well and lives, it handles it poorly and dies.
My dirty little secret is that I hate the holiday season. I hate Christmas. I hate Christmas trees, I hate presents under the tree, I hate houses with too many lights, I hate live nativity scenes that are so outlandishly done that it seems only natural that all the characters are white and Jesus is plastic and silent. I like Christmas cookies.
Jeeze Matt, you sound like the Grinch. Why do you hate Christmas and the holidays?
Well…If you’re going to have Thanksgiving don’t you think you should uphold the original tradition and kill a couple of Native Americans first? And do Americans really need a day where we actually eat more than we already usually overindulge in anyways? I know the idea of the holiday is to remember all that we’re thankful for, but on the one hand does anyone really do that? And on the other hand why did we need to set aside a single day just to remind ourselves this?
All this about shopping, herds of bargain hunters, and dead Wal-Mart workers making minimum wage is my metaphor for advanced capitalism. I’m not an economics expert, far from it. I took micro and macroeconomics in college and didn’t like either very much. But this is what we are. Animals, driven with the desire to collect stuff. We’re like ferrets collecting scraps of tin and pull-tabs. I’m a hypocrite too, I have lots of stuff I don’t need. I’m part of advanced capitalism. I’m adding to the herd, our shepherd is the every mighty buck. Not Bambi grown up, no the buck, the dollar, the franc, the euro, the yen…currency. With this we judge our worth and our success in life, at least we of the advanced capitalistic society.
I know it gave my grandparents a lot of joy seeing me open up my presents. And sometimes I was really excited with what I got, I mean I loved Legos, and big wheels, and shiny things. That was genuine pleasure every time I opened up those carefully wrapped mysteries. But as I got older there was a twinge that grew stronger and stronger through the years. It’s the same twinge I get when I hear people in church boasting about how wonderful it will be when they get to be with Jesus. I understand that they’re excited and they want to share their passion, but it seems insensitive to be so wrapped about the afterlife that you become oblivious that in some eyes you appear no different than the people doomed to watch Survivor and American Idol reruns in Hell. But that too is part of advanced capitalism.
We are preconditioned to run after things we don’t need chasing down lives we don’t want. That is the way of our world, the way of the capitalist. Most of us genuinely believe these lies to be true; I need this season’s slim pants, an iPhone, Channel Sunglasses, and some dude’s name written on my underwear. It’s a role reversal, a switch, these things we chase end up owning us.
Don’t blame yourself. Don’t worry about it. There’s nothing you can do to escape it. Even knowing is pointless. Take me for example, a shining example of advanced capitalism. I sit here even new writing this on my laptop, in my CK sweater, TK sweatpants, and DKNY boxers. A hypocrite.
My best memories of the holidays was when I was giving stuff away. Not to my family or friends, not gifts like that. It was shoeboxes stuffed with towels, toy cars, and crayons I sent to
How can we change?
We can’t. I can’t fight advanced capitalism. It’s like me standing up against a tank. It’s like a G.I. Joe figure against Optimums Prime. I’m not brave enough to try. I’m not asking anyone to try. I guess I’ve realized this dirty little secret about myself, about it all, and the only thing we can do is become aware of what we are and have become. Animals. Religious pilgrims who worship material things and a set of ideals. I hate Christmas because it just reminds me of what I really am.
Sheep waiting for the store to open.
10.2 megapixel camera: $69.
HP laptop computer: $349.
Mr. Damour trampled by advanced capitalism.
Buy new shoes, these are soiled with blood.