The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Web Extra

November 30, 2013

'Tis the season to beware

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By Taylor Armerding

Now that we (thankfully) have dispensed with our obligatory giving of thanks, we can launch into our month-long orgy of conspicuous, unrestrained consumption.

One of the reasons we now call it the Holiday Season is that the religion of America isn’t Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam or any other traditional faith. It’s shopping.

Just don’t expect any unrestrained happiness to result from it.

So if you are reading this on a Sunday and you haven’t already shopped ‘til you dropped for three days, you need to get with the program. Black Friday is so last decade. We’re well into Green Thursday or some such color to signify forsaking dinner and time with family to hit the malls. The early bird special ain’t turkey any more. It’s a gigantic flat-screen TV or something similar on sale Thanksgiving afternoon (or morning, for all I know) at your all-American big-box store.

But, in keeping with my curmudgeonly tradition, I’m here to remind you that while the Muzak in the department store may be trying to lull you into thinking this is the “most wonderful time of the year” it is really the most frightful, both to your body and psyche.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Don’t blame me. I’m just a messenger. And don’t blame WATCH, the Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm that is out once again with its annual “10 Worst Toys” list. They’re just messengers too. And don’t blame any of the multiple psychological groups issuing mental-health warnings. They’re just reminding us that if we’re feeling bad, we can spend even more money telling a highly trained professional how badly we are feeling.

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