Wednesday, March 13, 2013


A few months ago, my friend and I decided to look up writing competitions. The idea was to practice our craft, not win the competition. Below is a short story I wrote centered around the usage of the word 'insanity'. How the writer chose to interpret, or put to use that word, didn't matter, as long as the word was used. Also, the story was to be 500-800 words. No more. No less. 

Here is what I came up with...

“This is complete insanity!” I exclaimed, as I walked the aisles of a retail store. I couldn’t help thinking, what is wrong with people? What is wrong with me? Why in the world did I allow myself to be talked into coming here, today, of all days?
   “No it’s not! It’s fun!” Said my over exuberant cousin, Stacy, who thrived on being seen and getting a good deal.
   “Yes, it is,” I countered with disgust. And I wasn’t ready to remove myself from my high horse, or pedestal, or whatever term or phrase one would like to insert here. Just hear me out.
   So, here I am with my cousin - that I hardly ever get to see - in the mall, in a store that has filled the aisles with racks of clothing that are now basically free…where am I supposed to walk? And even if I did find something I just had to have but needed to try on, when would I even get to use a dressing room? 
    “I think it should be outlawed that people subject themselves to this kind of torture. I mean, how did we all agree that it would be a brilliant idea to go out shopping on a day that the retailers of the world have promised us that we will be miserable?” This is where Stacy took a moment to look at me, this being the first, and raise her eyebrows at me – like I’m the crazy one. “Don’t look at me like that. I mean, really, is any deal really worth waking up before the sun has even decided to grace us with its presence and shove our way through shopping plazas for hours, like sardines on an escape mission from their can, just to save a few bucks?”
   “All I am trying to do is get some Christmas shopping done, and my dollar goes so much further on a day like Black Friday.”
   Well, isn’t she smug?
   “Really? What about all of those months prior that you could be scoping out sales and buying gifts gradually throughout the year? Wouldn’t that save you more money?”
   She didn’t answer me. I just wonder how we got here. As a whole, as humans. Is the deal really worth the insanity that ensues when you put so many people together in an incredibly confined space while brainwashing everyone to believe this is the deal of a life time? Are we afraid to say no to such retailers for fear that they will forever remove the sale prices from their products? And what about the people forced to work these jobs? Maybe they would like the day after Thanksgiving off. I know I would, and I did when I worked in retail. Of course, with this economy, if you have a job – Yay!
   “And look at those women.” Two aisles over, I became witness to a couple of women arguing over who deserved whatever item was on that shelf. “What could be worth creating a scene like that in public? What happened to putting others first? What happened to being fair? Where did the days go when it wasn’t always about the money?” I was half expecting them to get into a physical tug-of-war. But, they didn’t; though, a manager did approach them. Insanity.
   “You know, I wish your name was Debbie. It fits you better,” Stacy said sourly.
   “Oh? Why’s that?”
   “Then I could call you Debbie Downer. But as it is, your name is Joy – which is quite ironic considering you are the antithesis of the word today.” She was pissed. “Is it really too much to ask you to get into the spirit of the day for my sake? If you hated this then why did you come?”
   And to my dismay, she stormed off. In a huff – Great. And she is right. I didn’t have to come. But, it’s not like I think she’s insane. Well, OK maybe a little. Even if she isn’t half as crazed as those around us, she still chose to come out today. What is she enjoying out of this experience?
   Insanity…this day brings out the insanity in us all. Now, let’s try to contain ourselves next year and stave off the insanity for once. Maybe then it will truly be a Merry Christmas. 

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