Today is Cyber Monday.
It’s been an exhausting several days. The American Economy is emerging from Black Friday a little bruised and pepper-sprayed but generally sanguine. Over the past four days, we experienced $52.4 billion of sales. This makes an uptick of 16.7 percent from the same period last year. In addition, people spent millions of dollars to see Twilight: Rosemary’s Vampire Baby. I have no idea why this occurred. Maybe someone with a muffled, breathy voice called America and warned us that the Economy was being held at gunpoint and this was the only way to rescue it. Or perhaps someone threatened them with the only fate worse than watching this movie: watching it twice.
Cyber Monday is the only holiday that makes sense to me any more.
It is by far the most logical holiday. It combines all the fun of shopping with all the fun of sitting. Go shopping on Black Friday, and you will get pepper sprayed or beaten. I wish I were joking. Go shopping on Cyber Monday, and you won’t even have to listen to Little Drummer Boy on the store stereo. The worst that will happen is an unwanted pop-up ad.
And this makes sense. This is the nature of the Internet. The Internet is like life, but it smells better, and you get to pick the background music. If it were possible never to show up anywhere again, we’d all be tempted. Even on Black Friday, some of us opted to do our shopping online. It’s not that we are reclusive shut-ins who prefer texting to talking — last night, someone texted me while we were sitting at the same table eating hamburgers in silence — or that we no longer are able to interpret rich, bewildering facial cues, or that we keep expecting people to change every three to eight minutes in order to offer us more stimulation, or that — Well, actually, that’s exactly what it is. Everything we need is online — or if it isn’t, it will be soon. We can “hang out” with our “friends.” We can date, or at least force people through elaborate series of questionnaires, which is all dating really is when you get right down to it. As long as you are fairly confident in your shoe size, there is no reason to leave the house. You can get everything you need. Groceries. Heavily Discounted Things Made Of Leather That Are Going To Sell Out If You Don’t Act Now. Groupons. Friends. Unless the WiFi goes out. But that doesn’t bear thinking on.
Life seems designed to discourage us from showing up. On the Internet, we can have whatever we desire, be anyone we want to be — well, not on Facebook, but possibly on Craigslist. Just don’t respond to any of those ads in person. The cyberworld indulges us. If we want someone to paint us a portrait of Lady Gaga riding a unicorn, we can arrange it. If we want a giant head of Kevin Bacon made from actual bacon, the Internet will supply it. The Internet knows our sittings down and our risings up. It’s got our browser history, something many of us won’t even share with our spouses, who have the disadvantage of being real human beings who require periodic face-to-face interaction. On the Internet, we can buy movies without the sense that the cashier is judging us, although Netflix keeps suggesting the oddest follow-ups.
Just look at Black Friday. It’s the best argument for Cyber Monday that exists. “Want to save money but avoid the very real threat of being stampeded by large hordes of wild bargain-hunters?”Cyber Monday asks. Who doesn’t?
Besides, we’re all back at work now after the Pie-Eating Frenzy of 2011. What are we supposed to do on these computers? Work? Please. I hear there’s an urgent sale on discounted things made of leather.