Holiday parties, Christmas carols, candy canes and mistletoe.
Tis the season.
Along with all of those seasonal staples comes the shopping.
I used to enjoy shopping.
It was a long ago faraway time.
Many things have taken the joy of shopping away from me.
Couponing for one.
My wife is a big couponer.
She pours over websites and newspapers for hours, diligently clipping and printing these little valuable pieces of paper.
She then goes out armed with a trapper/folder/organizer that weighs a good twenty pounds stuffed with coupons.
I donít know why I dislike using coupons so much.
Maybe itís because Iíve had terrible luck with them.
Some have been out of date, others get ate by the machine, and invariably I create long lines.
Now, this happens to my wife as well, but she forges through, arguing with a clerk like a Philadelphia lawyer.
And to be honest, I have applauded her many times as she leaves the store with all kinds of discounted or free items.
My applause always coming from the front seat of the car of course because I canít be subjected to the angry stares from those in the long line witnessing this lesson in bartering.
Which brings me to the daddy of all shopping days.
The biggest shopping day of the year.
I imagine itís probably the biggest day for thieves and shoplifters as well.
Thereís lots of information out there on how to stay safe during Black Friday.
My favorite way to stay safe on Black Friday.
Avoid it altogether.
I had managed to do just that until just a couple of years ago.
My wife asked me to go with her, well, she told me to with her, with a look on her face that left no room for argument.
I saw things that day that could make a grown man cry.
In fact I believe a few of us were on the verge.
I saw old, sweet faced, cane carrying women turn into the fiercest warriors.
Battling anyone in their way and wielding those canes as well as any WWE champion with a folding chair in a grudge match.
It was frightening.
I saw two women go at each other over some kind of toy animal that could do everything but fill out your taxes.
These women pulled, tugged, and rocked this thing all over that toy aisle.
They drew quite a crowd.
I have a lot of respect for those store employees that work on Black Friday.
They deserve hazard pay.
After hours of walking through a maze of frenzied shoppers that would give anyone with claustrophobia a stroke, it was time to push.
Letís get to the checkout.
I was puzzled though as my wife headed in the opposite direction, to the back of the store.
ďWhere are we going?Ē I innocently asked.
ďTo get in line,Ē she replied.
That line snaked around that store twice.
I quickly took to social media and asked for a mercy killing. Please put me out of my misery.
Looking back on that day, I guess it wasnít as bad as getting a root canal with no pain medication, or having your hand slammed repeatedly in a door, but itís a close second.
So husbands, boyfriends and sons, if you get pulled into shopping on this PTSD giving day.
Be strong, be brave, and pray.
See you out there.