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Rubber Chicken Scratchings: Some Black Friday spitting and hissing

So it's Black Friday weekend, which means no one should venture anywhere near a shopping establishment unless you want your pants sold out from underneath you. OK, maybe someone wouldn't actually buy your pants, but they might wanna rent them. I ...

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So it's Black Friday weekend, which means no one should venture anywhere near a shopping establishment unless you want your pants sold out from underneath you. OK, maybe someone wouldn't actually buy your pants, but they might wanna rent them. I say play it safe and steer clear of the your local mall or Kmart or Walmart or Shopko or Target until at least Dec. 24. That's when you might run into my brothers out doing their Christmas shopping -- and they tell me it is much easier to do it that way.

Oh, sure, you might end up with ChapStick and a bag of Skittles for a present, but you could do a lot worse. I mean, what if your brother was Brett Favre? Who knows what kind of present he would come up with. I know I shuddered when I received his Christmas card photo.

Last year, I actually dared to venture out into the early-morning hours of Black Friday. Thanks to Sue's mom, Kaylee was finally going to receive a Wii on Christmas morning, and we saw that Menards was having a super special on some Wii accessories.

It was their Black Friday special, which means you had to get there at the crack of dawn to have a shot at obtaining them. I am a morning guy anyway (but don't talk to me until after I have had my pumpkin spice mocha), so the job fell to me to brave the crowds and secure these gifts to make our daughter even more excited come Christmas morning. I embraced the challenge.

I thought, How tough could it be? I warmed up the Chevy Blazer at 6 a.m. and reasoned: It's Menards. It's not the mall or Kmart or Walmart or Shopko or Target. No one goes to Menards on Black Friday. I'll zip in, I'll zip out. It'll be like going into Wisconsin!

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I chuckled at my clever "Stripes" reference, then backed the Blazer out into the brisk, dark Black Friday morning.

Turns out, everyone goes to Menards on Black Friday.

I saw the buzz of activity as soon as I crossed Grand Avenue. There were hundreds of cars jammed into, and around, the parking lot. There were hundreds of people with Menards shopping carts wandering in, and around, the parking lot looking for their cars.

Each cart was overflowing with Black Friday goodies. (I soon realized why they call it "Black Friday." It's still inky-black outside when you have to wake up to get anything good, and your mood quickly turns inky-black when you get there -- after waking up that early -- and there's nothing good to get.)

I desperately raced across the bridge to the Superior Menards, but the scene was even worse.

I actually had a Menards employee laugh in my face when I asked if there were any super-cool Wii accessories left: "It's 6:37, pal. We opened at 5."

Then he turned away, shaking his head at my Black Friday naivety.

I was able to salvage part of my morning with a score at the Superior Radio Shack with a Wii remote charger -- so I could at least have something in my possession when I got home other than the smell of humiliation and shame (which smells a lot like the restrooms at the Holiday Center, by the way).

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But it wasn't enough.

Luckily, Sue and Kaylee had the idea of heading up to Animal Allies later that day to check out their new facility. They were having a two-for-one cat sale, so we decided to see if the perfect cat was waiting for us. (Two of our cats had passed away in 2008-- they had been in our family for 20 years -- and so we thought it was time to bring some warmth and hairballs back into the house to keep our other cat, Purrkins, company.)

I think you can see where this is going....

There was not one perfect cat waiting for us on this fine Black Friday afternoon, there were two perfect cats waiting for us.

A little black cat named Daffodil immediately found Kaylee and a fluffy multi-colored cat named Simone found Sue. We brought them home, where it soon became apparent that they had been misnamed.

The black cat was renamed Crash (we didn't need that dinner plate anyway) and the fluffy one became Piper. After much spitting and hissing from old man Purrkins (which, coincidentally, is how I greet people when they come to my house), all three cats bonded and became fast feline friends.

The moral: Don't hassle with shopping for something that will break after two minutes. Get up to Animal Allies this holiday season and bring home a friend who will break all your other stuff after two minutes.

But they'll also find a cozy spot in your heart, curl up around it, and stay there forever.

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Brian Matuszak has been difficult and demanding since February 2008. He is the co-founder of Renegade Comedy Theatre and founder of Rubber Chicken Theater, which opens its third annual Holiday Comedy Revue Friday, Dec. 3, at The Venue at Mohaupt Block. Warning: The show contains adult usage of the word "Cravaack."

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