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Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Recovery

If you've just spent the weekend doing both Thanksgiving dinner and Black Friday shopping, you're probably on life support right about now, reading this in-between feedings of non-turkey based saline solution and ice baths to numb the blisters you received bumping into angry mobs of people who didn't get one of the twelve 42" plasma HDTVs for $49.99 that your local electronics store put on display in a giant pit designed to funnel humans toward the center, the way an ant lion traps ants.

I'd feel sorry for you, but I slept until 10:00 a.m. on Friday, after having a splendid Thanksgiving meal at a relative's home the day before. We did take over some Mac 'n' cheese, and a simple Italian salad, so it wasn't all rest and relaxation, but it was mostly rest. In fact, I was so rested, I ran five miles before making the salad dressing, just to warm up for pouring the olive oil. The roads were remarkably empty.

I've never quite worked out what it is that drives people to fill their precious holiday hours by preparing a meal that "Dinner Impossible" chef Robert Irvine would declare beyond the bounds of normal Einsteinian space and time, followed by a midnight to seven AM mosh pit with hordes of people in a mood only slightly less congenial than the orcs in The Lord of the Rings, and only because they're afraid store security will take away the $29.99 XBox they managed to pry out of the hands of some blind nun on crutches.

It's commercialism run amok of course, and in poor economic times such as these, the specials and deals being offered by the nation's retailing giants are more tempting than usual. Normally, people would shove you over and stomp on your face to get past you to the Blu-ray shelves. This year, however, they're all wearing cleats and spiked heels, and that was just buying food the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Friday, people came out in battle armor that would make Maximus from Gladiator soil his toga.

So, with a busy work week ahead, just how does one recover from a long weekend of commercialized madness?

1. Accept the leftovers. They're there. They need to be eaten. Most importantly of all, they're already cooked. Make sandwiches. Dump turkey meat into your chicken soup for a little turducken flavor, minus the duck. Savor the unique flavor of cold mashed potatoes with a nice beverage. Use disposable forks and paper plates. Live the aftermath.

2. Skip Cyber Monday. No, I'm not just saying that so I'll get a bunch of good deals. I always buy my technology during the summer months, when tech people are offering all sorts of great deals to entice college students to blow up their credit cards like the villain at the end of a Japanese super hero TV show. No, the point is that you need rest and relaxation, and the enemy of those two goals is sitting in front of your PC, swearing like a cast member in a David Mamet play because your bank keeps blocking your debit card charges, all because you went just a little bonkers a few days ago. Plus, under those conditions, you are highly likely to break your PC, and then you'd have to buy a new one. A vicious cycle.

3. Watch a lot of sports. Sports are another holiday tradition, and over the next few days, there's Monday Night Football, college basketball, soccer, hockey, and loads of ESPN announcers drooling over the eventual return of the NBA (rumors are that ESPN may create a whole new network to broadcast coverage of the training camps and the after negotiation cigars and champagne). It's a good way to release pent up energy, because you won't be the one getting stomped on. Also, all the food commercials are for either restaurants, beer, or snack foods. No temptations to cook, with the exception of the occasional BBQ in a beer commercial.

4. Work hard. You'll need to, if you want to pay off everything you bought Friday. Seriously, did you need four dozen USB drives, just because they were $5 apiece? No. No, you did not.

Christmas is coming. You need to rest up, if only to mentally prepare yourself for all the crazies out there who haven't yet shopped enough.

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