December 3, 2023 | Rome, Italy

On Black Friday and cats

By |2018-03-21T20:04:36+01:00November 26th, 2016|"In the Sticks"|
Designed for cats or by cats: you decide. But beware Google.

oday is Black Friday. Or at least, it’s Black Friday as I write this. Like most things in life, I’m ambivalent about the occasion. I neither care about the savings nor why Americans chase down half a turkey with a day of fevered shopping.


I’m still grumpy about my birthday, which I feel should still be a candy-filled extravaganza where everyone makes a huge fuss over me even though I’m on the wrong side of 25. I always end up disappointed and disappointedly sober because my husband is the Grinch who doesn’t consider the day a sufficient enough occasion to open the good wine.

So I woke up this morning with an imaginary shotgun aimed at the songbirds and two typing hands just itching for a fight, which I found. On Facebook, duh. I don’t use Facebook like most people. Okay, so I don’t know how to use Facebook, which is considered the highest form of blasphemy in the Millennial bible. Praise be to Lorelei #GilmoreGirlsRevival.

My husband Giulio can spend hours on Facebook, put down his phone and pick it up 15 seconds later wracked with the fear that he may have missed something while blissfully unaware that the something he is missing is his life outside a five-inch screen.

When I log on to Facebook, it’s to wonder why no one replies to my messages, not even my mum, who by the way, only has three Facebook friends, so she can’t be that busy chatting to everyone else. I then turn my attention to the timeline, where I scroll through endless photos of cats, babies and people telling 2016 to go fuck itself as if it somehow responsible for Brexit and Trump. I know voter fraud is a real issue, but 2016 couldn’t have stuffed all the ballots, people.

This morning, I scrolled and scrolled until I locked on to a post from a person I don’t know and don’t remember friending. She was

steamed that her fellow Italians had taken to Black Friday like sheep to the slaughter. She wanted to emphasize her point with the dead sheep emoji (not due until the next iPhone update). She bellyached about how terrible it was that Italians celebrate holidays not designed for them. Terrible, horrible, society-destroying holidays like Halloween, Black Friday and World Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Newsflash, globalization exists. That same woman probably uses words like baby parking, revenue and feedback in her day-to-day conversation and doesn’t blink. But heaven forbid her compatriots might want to save 20 percent on a Zara knit sweater.

We live in a world where people can’t tell the difference between real news and fake news, where many of us are still convinced that global warming is a farce and votes are cast as a self-destructive middle finger — whether to the first female U.S. presidential candidate, to the entire European Union, or just to common sense. In other words, why complain about the small smudge on your sofa when the entire roof is caving in on your head?

Call me apocalyptic. Evoke the First Amendment. Pen an angry letter to the person who gave me a column in the first place. But when you’ve finished, try to look at the big picture. We have more pressing problems, people. Like how Google knew it was my birthday and changed its logo to reflect that. Cute, or a creepy 1984-style warning of things to come? Like why people ever consider getting into the car of some stranger just because he drives an Uber.

Or just do all those randoms you friended on Facebook a giant favor and do your paint-by-the-numbers complaining elsewhere. You’re getting in the way of the cat photos, cat videos and 20 percent discount offers on jewelry designed by cats for humans. And I’m not even making it up, Google it. Or don’t, unless you want Google to start spamming you with ads for other designed-by-cats couture

Post note: How does a cat even hold a pencil to design something? Where’s the confused emoji? Or better yet, the confused cat emoji! I think somewhere along the lines, our society stopped advancing and becoming more sophisticated, but we were all too busy Tweeting to notice.

About the Author:

Australian writer Elisa Scarton wrote the column "In the Sticks" from 2014 through mid-2019.