Off the Press

November 23, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

Keep peace, patience this holiday weekend

Tim Pfarr Press reporter

Choo choo! The Polar Express is on its way.

That’s right, we’re on our way to another holiday season filled with gratuitous joy, massive family gatherings and sweaters strung with blinking lights. And there isn’t a single thing you can do to stop it.

Terrifying? Absolutely. Fun? Always.

And it officially starts this weekend, with Thanksgiving and Black Friday — perhaps two of the most lively and simultaneously horrifying days of the entire year.

Obviously, Thanksgiving is about the food, and recording the amount you eat in pounds instead of servings. Fun? You bet. Each year, I look forward to bursting through my pants like The Incredible Hulk in the presence of my extended family.

The terror comes in the form of flaming turkeys, the roots in your pipes that lead to the toilet overflowing during dinner, and the inevitable mishaps of indigestion that comes with the annual pants-bursting.

Of course, none of these compare to the unadulterated terror of Thanksgiving travel, be it on roads, on rails or in the air. Raging drivers. Middle fingers. Lines of cars and people so long they seem to extend into the distance. The one guy who looks like Michael Douglas who has been waiting in line so long he just walks off and declares he’s “going home.”

Honey, get the Kevlar.

If you’re traveling, please be patient with your fellow travelers and the workers who are helping you get to your destination. The crowds can be overwhelming and irritating at times, but keeping your cool will help everybody have a better holiday.

After escaping Thanksgiving without falling victim to a heart attack, torso explosion or the little vein in your head popping from frustration, it’s time to get some rest so you can get up at 4 a.m. to go shopping!

The great part of Black Friday: insane deals. You can get the people you love more for less, and the clammy hand prints and tear marks on your purchases will prove you cared enough to mercilessly rip their gifts from other shoppers’ hands.

The terrifying part of Black Friday: everything else. I don’t love anybody nearly enough to get up at 4 a.m. for pretty much anything, much less shopping, so I opt to stay in bed and sleep off the surfeit of food I ate just hours before. Sorry, Mom.

Black Friday has a stigma similar to that of Thanksgiving travel: more raging people, more middle fingers, more long lines and even people shooting each other to death at Toys “R” Us. God bless us, every one.

However, from what I’ve heard, Issaquah stores stay peaceful on this notorious day, so let’s keep it that way. If you’re not a morning person and could shoot somebody if you get up that early, it might be best to pass on shopping, no matter how bad you want that Tickle Me Elmo on discount.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember if you take to the stores — aside from not instigating violence — is you should be nice to the employees. They probably aren’t getting paid nearly enough for the insane shift they’ve been forced to work.

Facing down the negative aspects of either of these days may be unavoidable, so remember to be patient and do your best to stay levelheaded if things don’t go as smoothly as planned. Everyone will be thankful, and your dreams of the Polar Express won’t involve the train derailing and erupting in flames.

Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or Comment at

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