Yesterday, someone handed me their insanity on a scrap of paper.
It was a scrawl of words, tightly packed and obeying no lines. They struggled to stay coherent in narrow confines, but they would not be denied by space or rationality. Words were packed on top of other words, crammed up together in borderline illegibility. And they all clamored for the reader’s attention.
They had a thousand voices, a thousand theories, each wanting to yell out with alarming certainty that THEY knew who killed Kennedy. THEY knew what the One World Government was up to. THEY knew what those men in power talked about late in night. They knew about the radium in the water supply, the contrails in the sky, the devil’s pact between the president and al-Qaeda.
The words jostled with one another; website links, passionate entreaties, rambling greetings and needless repetitions. They bounced and collided and demanded to be heard with an equal mixture of intense sincerity and desperate loneliness.
The saddest thing about that insanity on a scrap of paper was that it was given to a complete stranger. That the words needed to be heard by someone, so he settled on anyone.
I stare into the mirror and wonder if I’m ready for what’s to come. It’s a time that will try the souls of countless retail employees, a day of reckoning for those of us who make our trade peddling goods to the Horde.
There are no customers on this day, there is just the Horde. One massive Allmind that consumes everything in its path. They are not looking for food or books or clothes or anything material. They are hunting for Deals, in all shapes and all sizes. “Buy one, get one 50% off!” “Buy 2 get the third one free!” This is what the Horde is truly looking for. And when the day has passed and night has fallen and the Horde has fallen apart and broken into its base components, they look at what they have bought and wonder at what their madness has wrought.
“Why did I buy three pairs of cat warmers?” they will wonder. “Why do I own the boxset of “The Nanny”? I don’t even LIKE The Nanny!” They will look upon what they did while they were Horde and they will weep.
But all of that will come later, after the shopping fugue has passed, after the madness has passed and they have left a trail of broken and sobbing retail employees behind them. They will not remember the terrible things they do today.
I cannot think of them as people, as individuals, or even as customers. They have gone beyond that and below that. They are a force that cannot be stopped. Their demands must be acquiesced to. The only thing I can do on this day is give them our Deals and hope that that will be enough to survive. For that is the goal today: survival.
I look in the mirror and wonder if I will still be here when the Deals are done. I wonder if I’ll be the same person.
It’s November 26th, 2010 and it is Black Friday and I am so very afraid.