Not to start off on a downer, but actually I guess I am, it’s my Nanna. She just got out of the hospital. She has the flu or bronchitis. Before you raise your hand to ask, I’ll tell you what we did for Thanksgiving. It’s true, there was no dressing or stuffing. She just wasn’t up to making it. Before you raise your hand again, yes, we did prop her up, so she was physically “up” to it, but then she said she really couldn’t do it. No, I don’t get it either, so don’t ask.
The rest of us scorched the ham. Then we wrongly congealed the cranberries into the shape of a sullen elephant. However, all was not lost. My family’s penchant for eating an obscene amount of carbs remained in tact, so we still honored some important traditions.
But remember, that’s what you did, that’s what we’ve all done, and there’s no shame. Because today, we are here and this is America and this is what we do. We arrive at this dirty Kmart with poor fluorescent lighting very early in the morning, so other people can come early later on. Yes, before you ask, apparently it is possible for it to look even creepier now than it usually does. I’m flabbergasted how that could happen, but it really is creepier.
No one thought it would come to this. You believed you’d be back at a regular job. Your career was derailed by massive layoffs. You’ve had the heartbreaking realization that your industry was not politically powerful enough to be bailed out. Many of you just walked in here with no particular sense of duty only the requirement from your mom/girlfriend to “get a freaking job, like now.”
But we’ve put all of that behind us, because guess what? My Nanna can’t shop at Kmart this year. In the past on Thanksgiving, after properly arranging the cranberry sauce and scraping off ham fat into a little carton to feed the roving feral dogs outside, she’d pull the Kmart circular from the newspaper. Then it was on. She flipped through and made important decisions. Like if she wanted something like the TOASTEENUT®, the toaster oven that also deep fries donuts (slogan: our donuts are toast!) or the DRILL-ISION®, the cordless drill with a television built into the handle (slogan: you best drill yourself before your screen does melt!).
For those were agonizing, but necessary decisions. For she would pick something out. For she would wake up early. For she would line up. For I would line up. For us, we would line up together, through rain, snow, sleet, snow, more sleet, through the allure of more attractive deals at WalMart, through promises of free croissants at Dillard’s, through the shaming questions of overanxious TV reporters. But we persevered. Even as the lines in front of Kmart became shorter and shorter and the potholes became larger and larger and people swore about how they should’ve gone to Target. Even then, we always got what we didn’t need.
This is America, and we weren’t going to be denied the chance to make holes while watching Ellen in a more convenient fashion.
I want you to remember that opportunity. Though Nanna can’t be here this year, and really, I’m telling you, she did spit up pretty nasty phlegm that may or may not have landed on my plate after she ate the sullen elephant cranberry sauce, we should still honor her and all that she stood for, and could now stand for if she was up for it.
Just between you and us, I’m not telling you, but actually I am telling you, that all of this could possibly be blamed on nauseous fumes caused by a leaky grease oil dispenser in the TOASTEENUT®, but forget all of that, I mean, go ahead and forget all of that, we, I, you, all of us will carry on together, for the sake of a small paycheck, for the sake of my Nanna, for the sake of just having long lines and bad parking lots, for the sake of the other job you hope to one day get, for the sake of reliable Chinese exports, because people now expect other people to shop on this day.
When you need inspiration, when the day becomes a long hard slog and someone’s little Jimbo has burnt their tongue off while licking candy canes embedded into the curling iron display, just think of me, and how I’m leaving after this speech to go back home and sit at my Nanna’s bedside, who will receive by virtue of me inspiring you in this way and getting into your store early to buy the only 2 limited edition FANKNIVES® (slogan: We spin the air while you dice the chives!) available at this location and in the greater Metroplex, just think of her and the hundreds of hot donuts she can now dice and cool off with these knives, and what a great, peaceful time I’m having. Just. Remember. That.
And I hope none of you die. Not today, at least. I know it goes without saying that you hope that my Nanna doesn’t die. Not today, at least. And for your sake, I hope this store doesn’t die. Not today, at least. But someday it will. We all will. Okay, that about wraps it up. Let’s go!