For as long as I can remember, I've called the week between Christmas and New Year's Day "Dead Week." It sounds like it should be the week leading up to Halloween. And as I've gotten older, I've realized more and more that it's kind of a gruesome tag for a particularly happy and relaxing time of the year. Maybe that "relaxing" part is why I started giving this period that title. A lot of people take this week off. Most government-related operations shut down. There's seldom anything on TV--well, except for basketball, thank God. It just all kind of slows down. But in recent years, the days after Christmas have become a time when bargain-hungry Americans flock to stores to take full advantage of deep discounts on tons of merchandise, including high-end items. Now, retailers prepare for December 26th just as much as they do for the day after Thanksgiving. This past Monday, the traffic was a nightmare--hardly the type of activity you'd expect to see during a "dead week." There's even been brawling. At the Mall of America in Minneapolis, riots broke out when rumors spread that rap stars Drake and Lil Wayne were to perform at the shopping mecca. Now, why that erroneous information, in and of itself, led to a massive fight, I'll never know. But arrests were made and order was restored. But, wow, right?!? Exhausting traffic jams, aggressive shoppers, mall brawlers--"dead week" my @#%!