Costco on a Saturday=Suburban Zombie Apocalypse Training

Living in suburbia, as I now do, is generally fairly peaceful. Yes, we have a full menagerie of unwanted animals making their home in our gigantic yard, which leaves me feeling like Snow White from time to time (although instead of singing at the animals, I’m screaming at them like an angry old man to get off my lawn). But overall, suburbia is peaceful.

Which is why we have Costco.

Because going to Costco on a weekend is the single worst thing you can do in suburbia.  

But it’s necessary. Not just because once you have a house, you need to buy all of the toilet paper in the world to fill it, but also because it’s the only training ground that we suburbanites have for the zombie apocalypse.

Your training begins in the parking lot, which closely resembles what the world will look like after most of humanity falls prey to the deadly disease that will cause zombie-ism, but before the zombies rise back from the dead. It’s a sea of abandoned cars, where it’s necessary to practice dodging around the remaining people, children running amok, wayward shopping carts, and cars filled with the elderly. Danger is everywhere.
If you have survived parking (and the torment of watching people spend nine years trying to back an SUV into a parking space…which I will NEVER understand. The whole purpose of Costco is to buy items in such quantities as to necessitate the use of your trunk. WHY WOULD YOU BACK YOUR CAR IN AND MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO REACH YOUR TRUNK???), you have to show your membership card at the door. This is NOT actually to keep non-members out. The real reason they have this protective barrier at the gate is to make you think about whether you actually want to descend into the hell that is Costco on a weekend. It’s not too late to turn back yet!
Except it is, because you already parked. And it’s not worth fighting that parking lot again to come back on another day because even though Costco itself may be less crowded on a weekday, the zombified parking lot won’t be.
So in you go. Your first thought may be that you’ve entered a foreign country, which is understandable because it resembles the airport scene in Romancing the Stone.  Rest assured, you’re still in the United States, but zombie apocalypse training has begun in earnest.
 
In the early stages of the store, it’s not so bad. The zombies are just starting to turn, and unlike the crazed rage-virus/World War Z (the movie, not the book) zombies, they’re still fairly docile at this stage. And it’s time to stock up with the supplies you’ll need to survive the rest of the store/apocalypse. You can grab inordinate amounts of Ziploc bags, sponges, Kirkland-brand clothes, batteries, etc. 
But make sure you visit the sporting equipment area because you’ll need something to fight off the hordes when you get to food. I recommend a samurai sword. It’s Costco. They have them. They have everything.
The problems start as you near the baked goods. Now if you’re smart and/or paleo, you don’t eat baked goods and therefore don’t NEED to visit this section. But you have to cross it to get to the rest of the food, so you’re screwed either way. This will be your first encounter with the zombie masses
.
The next stage of your training will really depend on how hungry you are when you arrive at Costco, how much willpower you have, and whether you possess any athletic ability. 
 

If you’re not hungry or have the willpower to avoid whatever delicious treat the sample lady is providing to the zombies, then this is a great opportunity for you to practice sneaking past hungry zombie herds. You have to be careful so that they don’t turn on you, but this is an important skill to possess in the zombie apocalypse. There will be times when you have to sneak past the zombies in order to survive. And you want to be able to do that without hiding in a bathtub like that Will Smith coward!

The trick is vigilance. Wait until the sample lady is JUST ABOUT to start serving something. Because if you’re standing there when she runs out of food, you’re going to become the food. And if you’re walking by when she’s serving, it’s going to feel like the running of the bulls. The zombies won’t care, they’re just going to trample you to get to the delicious serving of brains/sponge cake that’s being given out. So when the zombies begin massing toward the sample, you RUN past them. Don’t hesitate. Don’t look back. Just run. And if anyone gets in your way, that’s why you have a cart! Plow them down! It’s kill or be killed!

You’re now in the most dangerous part of the survival maze because there are sample stations everywhere. The middle of the aisles are generally safe, but you’re in serious peril at ever crossroad. And the zombies have gotten their blood sugar up from the baked goods they sampled first and are now starving and descending en masse on any sample station they can find. 
 

You’re outnumbered here. If you use the trick from baked goods of waiting until they begin serving, you’ll die. Believe me. Once the zombies know the samples are coming, they’ll rip you limb from limb to get a good spot to wait for them. I still have the scars from the time I happened to reach for a case of Greek yogurt just as the sample lady was pulling pizza bagel bites out of the toaster oven. It wasn’t pretty, and some wounds never heal.

Instead, you have to sneak past the outer perimeter of the herd while the food is being prepared. They’re in rest state at that time, as long as you don’t disturb them. If, however, you try to blend in for a sample and don’t stay on the outer perimeter, you won’t live through the day.

But, Sara, pizza bagel bites are delicious! I have to try one!

You poor, poor fool!

Okay, here goes. Remember that samurai sword or other weapon you grabbed in the sporting goods section? Strap it to your back so that you can access it, but don’t go in wielding it. If we’ve learned anything from South Park, it’s that you can’t go around decapitating zombies left and right! 

 
If you want to make it to the food, you have to blend in with the zombie throng. If you have any cold cuts in your cart, putting them on your face Silence of the Lambs style to make it look like you’re already half eaten will help. If not, any random blood will do. Rend your clothes, slow your walk to an undead amble, and mumble gibberish. If you speak another language, that’s fine to use, if not, make a lot of guttural sounds—zombies speak a language very similar to Yiddish. 
Above all, do NOT make eye contact!

Slowly follow the zombies to the food source, grab yours quickly and then run as fast and as far as you can. If you get stuck, use the sword! That’s why you have it! GO! 

Assuming you have made it this far, you’re home free! Until, that is, you get to the unending series of lines, at which point you wait. And wait. The process of which coagulates your blood until you begin to feel like one of the zombies yourself. Try not to gnaw anyone’s limbs off as they stack your things in your cart without bags. It’s the ability to keep from eating the other people that makes the distinction between us and them at this stage.
Then you’re just a sharpie mark on a receipt away from freedom! Or at least the parking lot.

And just think, you get to do it all over again next weekend.

Ah, suburbia.

The NSA wants my cell phone data? Meh. Most of it is on Facebook anyway!

So this whole “the government is going all Big Brother on us” thing is everywhere right now, and I’ve come to an important conclusion about it all.

I don’t really care.

Like I know that, as an American, I should care that my Fourth Amendment rights are potentially being violated. But honestly, I had to Google what the Fourth Amendment even was. And considering that we’re talking about an amendment written so far before the existence of cell phones that it was fifteen whole amendments before women were allowed to vote, I’m not sure that it’s actually being violated here.

In talking to a lot of my friends, I found many of them (except for the extreme righties, who are still protesting the amendment that gave my kind and people of other races the right to vote and who claim creationism is the only thing that should be taught in schools) don’t care either.


But Sara, you freaked out over all of Bush’s Homeland Security stuff! You’re such a hypocrite! You’re only saying this stuff is okay because you support Obama.

Well, you’re right and you’re wrong.

I DO support Obama. I’m the freaking poster child for supporting Obama. I own a sparkly Obama tank top.

And wore said tank top on stage with Bruce Springsteen. Because that’s how I roll.

But there are several key factors that I feel aren’t being addressed here.

For starters, I’ll admit, when the idea of Homeland Security stuff was first introduced, it sounded scary. It felt like the Harold and Kumar 2 version, where the dumbest possible people were going to look for the worst in everyone and we’d all end up with Big Bob in Guantanamo if we even said the word “bomb” within thirty miles of an airport.

Want to know how much my daily life has changed since then?

Not a whole lot. Is it annoying that I have to check my luggage to go anywhere because I’m incapable of packing my toiletries in small enough containers to carry on? Yes. But I don’t travel that often. And if we’re being entirely honest, that is the full extent to which the NSA has overall interfered with the quality of my life.

So with that said, if the government has already been monitoring my phone records without my knowledge and it hasn’t been a problem, I’m fine with them continuing to do so. If they start sending the SWAT team in every time I text my best friend that I’m going to kill my mother (which I would NEVER say, mom, honest! Please don’t hurt me!) then okay, I feel my Fourth Amendment rights are being violated.

But, at least as far as we’re being told, they’re only monitoring who people are contacting, not the content of phone calls or text messages. So the government now knows that my dad calls me every three minutes for approximately nine seconds, that my best friends and I text a lot, and that my mother calls me every single afternoon at the very second that she leaves work/as soon as I start working out. Oooooooh. Seriously important stuff here people!

The truth is though that for law-abiding citizens, cell phone records aren’t exactly super incriminating. Sure, you don’t want your significant other getting ahold of them if you’re cheating. But the government doesn’t care if you cheat. The media does, if you’re famous, but the government practically condones cheating.Hell, so many people in the government itself cheat that they’d probably cover for you, if that’s what you’re worried about!

It’s also worth noting that anyone who thinks they have any privacy, yet uses a smart phone/has a Facebook or other social media account/uses a cell phone at all for that matter, is an idiot. Even if you DON’T walk around in public having excessively loud cell phone conversations about extremely personal matters (which most of us do), it’s super easy for people to hack cell phones. Not me, because A) I don’t have those skills and B) I don’t care, but people who DO care can hear your conversations if they want to regardless of who they are/if they work for the government. And if you’re updating your Facebook with what you ate for dinner every night, you’re broadcasting your every move to the world anyway. Why do you really care if the government knows WHO you’re talking to when you’re putting all that info out there on your own?

And to be totally honest again, even if the government actually WANTS to listen to my conversations and read my text messages, it would be a HUGE waste of their time, but I don’t care that much.

Want to know what they would learn?

Here’s the conversation that my mother and I have every day.

(Phone rings) Me (without even looking at the caller ID): Hi mom.

My mom: (Depressed Eyore voice) Hi Sara.

Me: What’s up?

My mom: Ugh, I’m just leaving work. (Pause) Are you at the gym?

Me: Yup.

My mom: I should go to the gym. But I had such a long day. Blah blah work blah blah feel fat blah blah work blah blah your father blah blah work blah blah blah you’re a horrible person and fail at life blah blah.

Me: I actually had something interesting happen today. I—

My mom: I’m pulling into the garage, gotta go, bye!

Me: Sigh.

EVERY SINGLE DAY. I pity the government agent whose job it is to listen to that EVERY DAY. Really. I do. But if they want to, cool. Good for them.

And if they want to read my text messages, they’ll see a lot of conversations with Ary about the zombie apocalypse (don’t ask), a lot of emoji combinations that are code for “I’m going to jump off a building” and “I super lesbian love you” between me and Darya, messages telling the boyfriend that I’m heading to the gym and asking what he wants for dinner, and ten billion pictures of Rosie. And a bunch of pictures of Rosie pooping, which I send to the boyfriend. Yes, I’m a weirdo. But he laughs every time I send those, so it’s really okay. And he even makes up little songs about her pooping. We really are the perfect couple.

But I’m getting off track. If the government wants to see all that, then yes, they too can see pictures of my dog defecating. In fact, I’m happy to send those pictures to them if they want (I even have a few politicians topping my list of people whom I’d like to send pictures of Rosie pooping to! John Boehner, be ready!) Now if they start coming after me to see if I scoop the poop based on those pictures, I’ll start yelling about my Fourth Amendment rights, but until then, I’m cool.

Yes, I would be much more freaked if we were still in the Bush years. NOT because I’m a diehard Democrat (see pictures above) and being a hypocrite, but because I trust the Obama administration to not misinterpret what they see in my messages. I’m half convinced that the Bush administration went into Iraq over a text acronym that someone intended to mean, “Where’s My Dinner?” or something along those lines. With Obama, at least I’m not worried that an army of NSA SWAT guerrillas will come swinging in through my windows screaming about “Weapons of Terrorist Functions” if I text my best friend and ask her WTF she’s talking about when she starts saying where we should hide when the zombies come for us.

Although, maybe the government SHOULD be reading our conversations. I’d rather be safe than sorry when the zombies DO rise up. Which, according to Ary, is happening any day now.

Which actually concerns me more than Verizon’s cooperation with the government.

What’s Valentine’s Day all about? Ripping out your heart, zombie-style, of course!

It’s Valentine’s Day.

Again.

But I have an awesome boyfriend this year! Suck it, single people! This is the best day of my life!


No, not really. THIS was the best day of my life.

Sigh (of happiness).

But I know you don’t read this blog to hear how much better my life is than yours, (which let’s face it, prior to THIS, it wasn’t. Now it is. Unequivocally. Sorry.) so I’ll go back to being the Grinch Who Stole Valentine’s Day just for you, my loyal readers, who love the snark.

To be fair, my boyfriend is a former tree-hugging hippie who used to live in the mountains, have a beard, and grow his own vegetables. In fact, if you put some aviators on him in his old pictures, he might have been the Unabomber. Minus that whole letter bomb thing.

But the point is that he doesn’t like the idea of a commercialized holiday like Valentine’s Day, so we celebrated yesterday, which was our four-month anniversary. So unless he pulls a Kaiser Soze-style trick today and surprises me with flowers/candy/a giant teddy bear/other random crap that Hallmark tells me I need even though I don’t, I, as usual, have nothing to celebrate today.

Meaning it’s time to trash the hell out of the holiday.

So who was this mysterious St. Valentine and why do we have to celebrate him? As always, when I don’t know the answer to a question, I follow six simple steps to ensure that I arrive at the correct answer.

Step 1: Ask my dad. He knows all. He’s like the Oracle at Delphi, except he explains things in cryptic physics terms instead of cryptic riddles. So you’re more likely to wind up making something explode, less likely to commit patricide and incest, then gouge your eyes out when you ask him a question.

Step 2: Ask Siri. Why? Because my phone is always in my hand and it’s easier than typing a question into Google. Duh.

Step 3: Ask my grandma. She doesn’t usually know the answers, but she’ll always lie and make up a good story, which is usually more interesting than the real version anyway.

Step 4: Bang my head against the wall because my grandma’s answer made ZERO sense and she guilt-tripped me about something I didn’t even know existed.

Step 5: Take some Advil from steps 3 and 4.

And finally, Step 6: Go to Wikipedia.

My findings?

Step 1: “Dad, what’s the meaning of Valentine’s Day?”

“[Profanity deleted for sake of keeping my teaching job. But I’ll tell you it went on for exactly 18.5 minutes (the exact missing time in the Nixon tapes—coincidence?) and involved many different and creative uses for certain parts of the human anatomy and a goat.] Is that today? Your mother’s going to [expletive deleted] murder me!”

“Dad, I already got you a card and sent mom flowers from you*, calm down. I just want to know why we celebrate Valentine’s Day.”

*Artistic license.  I tried to send you flowers mom.  I did.  But dad went on some crazy rant about how if they wouldn’t be there by 3, I couldn’t send them.  And because I have no control over when flowers are delivered on the busiest flower day of the year, I was told not to do it.  I’m sorry.  Please don’t hurt me.

“Oh. Because billions of years ago, all the matter in the universe was tightly compacted into a really small space until it finally all exploded in what we call the Big Bang…”

This conversation lasted for 97 hours and at that point, we hadn’t even made it to the dinosaurs dying yet. It was time to ask Siri.

FAIL. And apparently Siri doesn’t understand sarcasm. Or else she was being nasty back when I sarcastically thanked her. What a [expletive deleted].

Okay, time for Step 3. Call Grandma.

Me: “Grandma, why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?”

My Grandma: “I made you cabbage soup.”

Me: “Um thanks. I don’t really like cabbage soup though. But that’s not why I’m calling—”

My Grandma: “What do you mean you don’t like cabbage soup? You’ve never had my cabbage soup! You had it off the back of a truck once!”

Me: “Huh?”

Steps 4 and 5. And a glass of wine. Because that conversation actually happened. And I still have no idea what she was talking about because I’m 100 percent positive that I’ve never eaten cabbage soup off the back of a truck. And I don’t think that has anything to do with Valentine’s Day either.

On to Step 6. My old standby. Wikipedia. Which as we all know, is NEVER, EVER wrong. Or getting back together with Taylor Swift apparently.

According to Wikipedia, we celebrate Valentine’s Day because this dude, named Valentine (duh) was performing marriages illegally in the year 269 AD. So the Romans came to kill him, but he, in true romantic fashion, beat them to it. He cut his own heart out (which is pretty hardcore if you ask me. I mean, it’s one thing to use that weirdo chant from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and pull it out with magic, but CUTTING your own heart out takes real effort), wrote a nice little note to his girlfriend, signed it “From your Valentine,” and mailed the note and his heart to her, Van Gogh-style. Then the Romans came and slaughtered his zombie ass, as they should have, because anyone walking around AFTER cutting his own heart out NEEDS to be killed before he eats your brains. Duh again.

So unlike that ungrateful chick who got Van Gogh’s cut off ear, Valentine’s girlfriend thought this was sweet and romantic and wonderful and made all of her friends super jealous of the fact that HER zombie boyfriend loved her enough to cut out his own heart and mail it to her. Her friends then held out on sex until their boyfriends did the same the following year, and a tradition was born.

However, zombies weren’t popular until about two years ago, so Hallmark stepped in and started this paper heart nonsense.

Then the flower, candy, and teddy bear industries got involved to suck the life out of men’s wallets worldwide.

It’s what’s known in the industry as a perfect storm.

But this year, THIS YEAR, zombies are in style! They’re more popular than vampires! (Take that you sparkly Twilight [expletive deleteds]!) So men, use this to your advantage! Don’t buy in to the Hallmark nature of the holiday! If you love your woman, take some bath salts, go all zombie, and cut out your REAL heart to send to your girlfriend!

And the best part of this plan? It’ll work even on years when Valentine’s Day falls on Saturdays because the postal service will still deliver packages but not regular mail.

Everybody wins.

Until the zombies overtake us all.

Hmm. Maybe the Hallmark version isn’t so bad.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It–And I Feel Like Looting!

According to an ancient Mayan prophecy, the world is ending one week from today.

I am here today to tell you that this is absolutely, unequivocally true.

How do I know?

Duh, I’m psychic, I know everything.

No, I won’t help you pick winning lottery numbers.

And I’m not really THAT psychic. Even though Madam Marie’s granddaughter told me that I am.

I’m relying on cold, hard facts this time.

Fact #1: The Mayans said it’s happening. Clearly a civilization that disappeared over a thousand years ago was AWESOME at predicting the future.

The best theory out there about their disappearance was that they were kidnapped by aliens. It’s true. Google it. Of course, the Wikipedia page on the Mayans says that they never disappeared, they just left their main cities due to a drought and were assimilated into other local cultures, but that’s Wikipedia. Everyone knows that ANYONE can edit Wikipedia. Even the aliens that abducted the Mayans.

 
But the Mayans clearly knew that was coming because they disappeared without a trace, implying that they knew it was coming and had time to pack. See? If they say the world is ending, it’s ending.

Fact #2: There’s a movie about it. It’s called 2012. I mean, I didn’t see it, because the premise of the movie is that neutrinos are heating the Earth’s core and ending the world, and my dad is one of the world’s leading neutrino physicists and that premise was the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life because that’s NOT what neutrinos are or what they do.

  Like literally. My dad was one of the head scientists who discovered that neutrinos have mass. He’d know if they were heating the Earth’s core. And he’d tell me. Because he’s my daddy.

 But the fact that there’s a movie about it means it’s happening. Clearly.

Fact #3: It’ll be 2015 in just over two years and hoverboard technology isn’t close. We’ve just created a paradox in the space-time continuum big enough to destroy the whole universe. And the world is part of the universe. So it’s ending too.

Fact #4: The Redskins aren’t terrible this year. We have RGIII. We beat the Giants, the Eagles, AND the Cowboys. And even after RGIII got injured in the last game, we STILL won. If this isn’t a sign of an impending apocalypse, I don’t know what is.

See? Indisputable evidence that that world will be ending in exactly one week.

So what should you do?

That depends. If you’re planning to survive the apocalypse, you should probably stock up on all the apocalypse essentials: shotguns, bottled water, Leonardo DiCaprio dvds, a generator (to run whatever you’re going to watch the dvds on), non-perishable food items, and a zombie-English dictionary.

And, most importantly, Will Smith.  Because if Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that no matter what the cause of the end of the world, Will Smith can not only survive it, he can also save the fractured remnants of society.

But if you’re willing to throw in the towel and embrace the end of the world, as I am (I don’t do well with zombies. And the only bottled water that my boyfriend will drink costs like $15 for a six pack. Seriously? It’s water. It comes out of the tap AND the sky for free. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of it my life. Yet another sign that the world is ending: people will spend that much money on WATER. Bring on the apocalypse please, I’m done), your preparations can be a lot more fun.

For example, you know the Ten Days of Repentance in Judaism, when you’re supposed to go around apologizing for all the wrongs that you’ve done to people? I plan to spend the next seven doing the opposite: I’m going to go around telling people EXACTLY what I think of them. I mean, the world is ending, there won’t be any consequences. And I have a few people who I’ve been holding back on for YEARS. This will be awesome. Unless you’re one of the people who has wronged me. In which case I’m about to use the present that I got my father for Hanukkah to tell you what an [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] you are.

And all that dieting and exercising I’ve been doing this year? To hell with that! You can’t undo a year’s worth of effort in one week, so I’m eating whatever I want this week.

A whole pizza? Sure! Eighty-seven cookies? Why not! As long as my jeans still fit on Friday when the world ends, it’s all good.

Time to max out those credit cards too. There’s no way you’ll have to pay that debt off, so buy whatever you want. It’s your America folks!

What’s the only thing more fun than spending money you don’t have? That’s right! It’s looting! Go crazy! Take what you want! Why yes, I WOULD like to help myself to a Maserati! Thank you for asking. Oh, it was yours? That’s a shame, it’s mine now. And the beauty of this plan is that when EVERYONE starts looting, the cops will be too busy to do much about it. So yeah, a few unlucky souls might get caught and spend their last week locked up, but in this case, the odds are ever in your favor.

Then it’s time to mess with peoples’ heads. Because really, that’s my primary joy in life anyway as a teacher. All you really need to do it this time is a good pair of wire cutters. Grab those suckers and start cutting any wires you see. Power? Gone. Cable and internet? Gone. Phones? No one uses a landline anyway, that won’t really do anything. But if you can knock down a cell tower, you’ll terrify EVERYONE. And without the ability to check Twitter to see what’s happening, everyone will descend into mass panic and you can laugh at them for the last few minutes before the world actually ends.

Goodbye world, it’s been fun.

Unless of course, the Mayans were somehow wrong, and you follow this advice, in which case my lawyer would like me to publicly state that I am not responsible for anything that happens to you as a result of your own actions.

Happy looting!

The real cause of zombies? Black Friday sales!

It’s finally here. The day I spend all year hiding from, pretending it isn’t coming, hoping that if I ignore it, it’ll go away.

No, it has nothing to do with the Christmas season starting (despite how much my newspaper kids will try to tell you that I’m a Grinch… but that’s really just because I keep unplugging the sound on their computers when they’re blasting Christmas music instead of working—if they played Springsteen Christmas music WHILE they worked, I’d leave them alone), and it has nothing to do with facing a scale after Thanksgiving.

It’s Black Friday.

You’d think that I would love Black Friday. I mean, I’m a champion shopper and, being my mother’s daughter, I’m genetically programmed to sense out any bargains that are occurring within a two-hundred mile radius of wherever I am. (Although I’m not at her level. She’s the Jedi master and I’m just the apprentice. Stores practically pay her to take their merchandise. I still haven’t figured that one out.)

But I don’t.

I fear Black Friday the way normal people fear public speaking and death. The way students with poor grammar who haven’t done their English homework (should) fear me. The way Rosie fears my hairdryer. We’re talking massive, emotionally crippling, panic-attack-inducing fear here.

Why?

Because all humanity disappears as soon as holiday sales begin. It becomes complete and utter anarchy, with people turning into zombies—but not the slow moving, Night of the Living Dead type of zombies. Oh no. That I could handle. I’m talking about the scary, running at full speed, ripping limbs off, and infecting people immediately through any form of contact, 28 Days Later type of zombies.

And I honestly don’t understand it. Why kill each other over a sweater from the Gap? I mean, I don’t even know anyone who wears anything from the Gap anymore, but I know at least three dozen people who would tear someone’s head off and bathe triumphantly in their blood to wrench that sweater away from anyone else who wanted it on Black Friday.

I also don’t understand the people who are willing to wait outside stores in the middle of the night to be there at 4am when they open to get the first pick of the Black Friday deals. The sales last all weekend, people!

And I hate to break it to you, but they’ve got more merchandise in the back. They’re going to restock after the first round of flesh-eating zombies descend on the store. They have to. Otherwise all the other customers would slip in the spilled blood of the fallen.

This year, Hanukkah begins crazily early, so I ALMOST understand why the Jews would be in full-out panic mode to buy presents. Plus, we die if we pay full price for anything. I didn’t think this was true, so I tried paying full price for something one time. My mother appeared out of nowhere and began strangling me. So it’s true. If you pay full price, my mother, or some other Jewish woman (because I’m pretty sure it’s not limited entirely to MY family), will pop out of the woodwork and murder you.

But for all the non-Jews out there, YOU HAVE A MONTH LEFT! If you don’t stuff those stockings now, you STILL HAVE TIME. And there WILL be sales between now and Christmas. Some of them will even be better than Black Friday sales.

All you’re doing by shopping super early is giving your family more time to figure out what you’ve got them. Because children of early-present-buying parents have an almost supernatural ability to figure out what a present is based on examining a gift-wrapped package. It’s true. My brother and I had the senses of a drug-sniffing dog when it was present time. My parents (aka my mother, because my father never has any idea what’s going on present-wise, except for the time he got me a power drill…which I actually was really excited about) thought they were being SO clever by hiding our gift-wrapped presents in suitcases in their closets (which, had we not possessed supernatural x-ray vision to see through to where they were immediately, WOULD have been a great hiding place, because my brother once described my mother’s closet as looking like the shoe room at the Holocaust museum… but scarier and with a LOT more shoes).

But no. Within an hour of discovering our presents, we knew what every single one of them was without even peeling back a single wrapping paper corner. Which we would have done if we had to. I was prepared to go buy a teakettle just to steam the presents open and then re-wrap them. But it was way more fun without unwrapping them. And I’m pretty sure I’m the only person on the planet who can tell the color of the sweater inside a wrapped box.

Then again, it wasn’t exactly a challenge in my family. Because we would be dragged Black Friday shopping every year, forced to pick out things we liked, wrestle them away from the blood-thirsty zombies, then wait in epic line that stretched around and up through three different floors, like the lines for rides at Disney World, while our mother continued decapitating zombies in the store to find more things to buy for herself.

Then we were supposed to pretend we hadn’t seen the purchases that we had just battled to the death for until Hanukkah rolled around.

This year, because I’m in LA for Thanksgiving, I’m hoping that Black Friday will be a less traumatic experience. Maybe it’s all that legal medicinal marijuana, but people in California tend to be more laid back, and I can’t really picture them turning into rage-filled zombies over random holiday presents.

But if I’m not back at school on Monday, I didn’t survive. Luckily, most of the people who fight off those zombies in movies LIVE in LA. So as long as Will Smith didn’t leave town for Thanksgiving, I think I’ll be okay.

And if you’re going shopping today, remember, do NOT start decapitating zombies left and right. To kill them, you have to kill the head zombie.

And if you manage to survive all that, buy me something nice.  Remember, Hanukkah starts next week!
(Hint: my shoe size is 8 1/2! :-p)