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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 6 years ago

Today's history lesson: Black Friday


It all started with the Pilgrims and Indians. This part of the story I’m sure you’ve heard before.

The Pilgrims and Indians were constantly bickering. Whereas the Pilgrims were convinced that tall, black, belt-buckled hats were the most fashionable head attire, the Indians were sure that feather-bound sweat bands were the way to go. And so they never got along.

Then, finally, one day while playing football in the front yard, it all came to a head. The Indians accused the Pilgrims of cheating, then picked up their ball and ran home to their teepees.

“Now, no one can play!” Chief Pigskin Stealer yelled at John Smith, who led an entire township of Pilgrims, each one named John Smith. And boy, were they peeved.

The Indians’ infamous Football Treachery, as it came to be known, swept hysteria through the Pilgrim camp and, as retribution, the Pilgrims decided to steal all of the Indians’ land.

Smith was later quoted telling paparazzi, outside a swanky New York City night club, “Yeah, guess we did go a little overboard there, huh?”

But the feud went on like this for weeks. The Indians whined about their country being hijacked and the Pilgrims called them sore losers and doo-doo heads.

Until, one Thursday in November, something happened. Believing she was cooking for a dinner party, one Pilgrim mother whipped up a feast. Then, as it often happened back then, all of her guests caught and subsequently died from plagues and the common cold just before coming over.

The Pilgrim mother, who let’s just say was Italian, was beside herself.

“What am I-a gonna do-a with all this food?” she asked her son, with a heavy accent. She anxiously diced garlic and smashed a chicken breast with a wooden mallet. Then she wiped her hands on her apron and said, “Such a nice boy — why don’t you invite over your Indian friends, eh? They never come around no more! And they’re so skinny; they could use a nice dish of pasta and gravy!”

And so it was: So as not to waste perfectly good food, the Pilgrim-Italian mother guilted the town into mending fences. At first, it was awkward. Nobody had seen any of the same movies and so they couldn’t small-talk. But soon, everybody took off their hats and gave each other noogies.

Later, after coffee and a reunion football game, they all took a trip over to Chief Maxed Out His Credit Card And Now Selling All His Stuff to Get Back Into The Black to buy crazy-cheap iPads.

Cause for applause

After I saw “Lincoln” last weekend,  the audience clapped. The credits rolled, and they clapped. At the screen. It seemed strange to me. There’s nobody here to applaud, I thought. Do they know something I don’t?

And then it clicked.

These people weren’t off their rockers. They just liked clapping. And why shouldn’t they? Clapping’s fun. It makes noise. It’s exercise. It’s a mini-celebration any of us can enjoy after one of life’s little victories.

It was then and there I decided to never hold back another clap for as long as I live. After a good dream, I’ll wake up to the sound of my own beating hands. Following a heavy dinner, no ice cream for me, thank you; I’ll be having a round of applause for dessert.

And don’t mind the cheering you hear coming from inside the bathroom — that just means that things are going well.

So this Thanksgiving, make it a point to clap at appropriate times, as well. Becuase, really, isn’t that what the holiday is all about?


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