Happy Black Friday everyone! In honor of this most hollowed consumer “holiday” and its wonderfully grim name I thought I would bring you an entire weeks worth of Black Days from history. I did a quick unofficial survey of some friends and acquaintances and found that as Black Days go, Black Friday is the most ubiquitous, followed by Black Tuesday (stock market crash, 1929) but beyond that people felt the rest of the week looked pretty sunny. In reality, there is a whole mess of Black Days (and other colored days as well!) so I thought I would fill out the week with one combination of 7 Black Days. So here you go, an entire week of Black Days with a suggestion or two of how you might celebrate each.
Black Friday (Day after Thanksgiving)
The biggest shopping day of the year. In terms of appearance and behavior, it’s the closest thing to a real life zombie apocalypse. In fact, people do die from the hordes of people.
Staying home. Just… stay home. If you want to buy something, order a pizza and have it delivered. The hundred dollars you save on that flat screen TV won’t come close to buying back the time you spent in traffic, clogged parking lots, and enormous check out lines.
Black Saturday (Aug. 4th, 1621)
I guess 380-some years ago there was some religious governance upheaval going on in Scotland and it just so happened to line up with some inclement weather and a whole bunch of people freaked out thinking it was a sign of Armageddon.
Staying cool. I mean, next time things are looking bad, just chill before you start looking for chunks of fallen sky. Also, write down the worst coincidental occurrence that has ever happened to you and try to imagine what it would look like to someone 400 years from now. Maybe consider drawing a picture about it.
Black Sunday (Jan. 21st, 2001)
DirecTV shows all those Reagan-era “Star Wars” fans how it’s done in the 21st century by zapping thousands of hacked smart cards via satellite, smiting the hearts of cable pirates everywhere.
Unplugging every electronic device in your home. Next look around your house or apartment until you find something you acquired by stealing, borrowing, or by any other less than honest act. Think about that item. For added fun, make yourself a tinfoil helmet before you start.
Black Monday (Mar. 14th, 2011)
The Monday of Match Week in the National Residency Matching Program. This is the day 4th year medical students find out if they’ve landed a residency. They still have a few more days of hand wringing before they find our where they actually will be in residence.
Being happy that you do something you love. If you’re not doing something you love then take a moment to figure out what you love and write a little theme song for that thing and sing it to yourself over and over and over so that you will never forget what you are passionate about and why you pursue it.
Black Tuesday (Oct. 29th,1929)
A nearly 13% one-day drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average marks the start of the Great Depression.
Finding someone that lived through the Great Depression, sitting him or her down and having a nice chat about what it was like. And perhaps take a tip from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and DON’T PANIC.
Black Wednesday (Sept. 16th, 1992)
The day before Thanksgiving. Imagine Turkey Day between two slices of rampant Black Consumerism bread; Millions of Americans drinking themselves silly, passing out, getting up the next day, gorging on food, passing out, getting up the next day and gorging on shopping? You can’t buy that with a billion dollars. But if you wanted to try you’d first need a billion dollars in which case I point you to the Black Wednesday of England. It’s the day that one guy, George Soros (a.k.a. the Man Who Broke the Bank of England), made $1 billion by speculating on the British Governments currency crisis and contributed to the government having to pull the pound out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. Absurd. I mean, really.
Buying lower and selling high. Or in this case borrowing something, selling it high, buying it back low and then giving it back to the person you borrowed it from. Do this ten times in a row and then go buy yourself something nice.
Black Thursday (Feb. 8th, 1996)
Black World Wide Web Protest. Way back in 1996 it’s estimated there were about 36 million internet users in the world. In 2010 that number is somewhere around 1.6 billion. Back in 1996 Congress had passed the Telecommunications Act which contained the Communications Decency Act. In a movement to protest what was seen as a restriction on free speech, the internet (users) did what it does best, collectively organize and make a public statement. Thousands of websites changed the backgrounds of their pages to black as a protest against the reform bill. The Supreme Court ruled the Act unconstitutional in 1997.
Using your voice.