Around this time of the year, most of us take a moment to pause and reflect on the things for which we are thankful. Family, good health, love, the obliteration of Romney and his campaign team’s ego, the new study by Japanese researchers that says looking at pictures of cute baby animals is correlated with increased workplace productivity, etc. But don’t do it. Being thankful just takes away from crucial planning and preparation time for Black Friday, which comes from the Gaelic words “bhleg,” meaning “60 percent off,” and “Frogedæg,” meaning “if you camp out in the cold for three hours in front of Best Buy.”

Nothing is more American than to stuff our faces with excessive amounts of food, then rush out and shove an old lady aside for a laptop or cake-pops maker. Remember, spending a ton of money that we don’t have to buy things we don’t need helps advance our economy. We are on the edge of a fiscal cliff, so let’s all do our part. Now, Black Friday is a battle field and not for the faint of heart. So if you decide to sleep after Thanksgiving dinner, no one will blame you, you Commie. If you are a real American though, here are some tips that I want to share with you to make your Black Friday successful:

First and foremost, plan. You can’t just take your time polishing off a fried Turkey leg, then just mosey on down to Target, high on Tryptophan, and they’ll give you a laptop for $49. Real Black Friday shoppers spend weeks, maybe months, looking through online ads and web sites like www.blackfriday.com, creating an action plan that takes into consideration factors like the distance between stores, traffic, terrain and the likelihood that other shoppers may wield cattle prods. Real Black Friday shoppers don’t sleep. They don’t bathe. They wield cattle prods.

Second, prepare yourself physically and mentally. Exercise. Go to crowded places and practice navigating through the masses. Strategic shoving is a critical skill to learn. If you are a newbie, start your training at a nursing home, then move up to elementary schools, followed by high schools. At first, it may feel awful and you just want to apologize to everyone you shove, but tough it out because guilt will only slow you down on Black Friday. With enough practice, you will be able to shove children, the elderly, and other shoppers with efficiency as you zoom your way to the George Foreman grill that is on sale for $4.99 at JC Penney.

Third, recruit several friends. There is no way you can visit every store that you want. Get two or three friends and divide up the locations and items, then later meet up and swap. Be careful whom you recruit for the mission, though. Millennials, for example, are very tech savvy, but they have no patience and will start whining only five hours into standing in line in front of Staples. Hipsters are surprisingly great Black Friday wingmen. Their skinny jeans make them more aerodynamic, and they tend to physically repulse people even without the shoving.

Fourth, get your tools ready. Pack shin guards, wrist guards, a helmet and an athletic cup. Every year, thousands of shoppers get injured by stampedes, lacerated by metal shelf corners, and someone always gets a clump of hair ripped out by another shopper. Bring along a small first aid kit.

Fifth, do NOT drink coffee. Coffee may seem like a good idea, but you will regret it. Remember, you are standing in line for hours, with bathrooms far, far away. Unless you are immune to the diuretic or other effects of caffeine, avoid it at all costs. Regardless, it is best to bring along an empty  Snapple jar. You will know what it’s for.

Finally, remember, what you are doing is helping our country. By waking up at 3 a.m. and waiting in line to buy that Ultrabook for $499 instead of $1,099, you are strengthening America. Be proud. And never, ever, accept anyone’s offer for free Snapple.

Read more Jagged Noodles at www.jaggednoodles.com.

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