I swear I wasn't there for a Clozapine refill. . .

Posted by jdg | Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So I was inside one of those massive warehouse stores the other day (hint: it rhymes with Lost Dough) and the entire time I'm wondering how the hell I'm going to turn the experience into a blog post. This is what I have been reduced to: everything I do gets run through a battery of tests to determine whether it's worthy of distilling down to a few hundred words of purple prose with the requisite self-deprecating quips thrown in with a few unnecessary French or Latin words and plenty of self-aggrandizing links to previous posts followed by a couple of new photos and a pithy conclusion. It's like I'm back in college and I've got to crank out an essay once a week. You guys are like scary invisible professors. Are the people who came for the Detroit stuff still out there now that I've stopped writing about all the broken shit? Are there enough kid stories for those who found the site when I was scrotum-shrivelingly identified as a top mommyblogger? And I'm afraid I can offer only disappointment to the gentleman from Qatar who found this site while googling for pictures of "bowling pins in vaginas." I apologize, sir. Our focus is root vegetables here.

So I'm walking along the checkout aisles, mentally composing some text with my trademarked insipid moralizing:

"I am suddenly reminded of the French reporter who contacted me last week about stopping in Detroit while blogging her way across the country like some post-industrial De Tocqueville. If Alexis De Tocqueville himself were to travel across America today he would find no sight more American than this line of consumers herding their oversized shopping carts filled with oversized purchases out of the big box warehouse store, like drones doing their patriotic duty in the ant colony we call AMERIKKKA. . ."™

Blech, shut the hell up already you asshole. Then I remember why we're there in the first place and consider a few petty digs at my in-laws:

"Every time my father-in-law visits from Pittsburgh he stops at his Costco on the way out of town and brings us, among other things, a box of 24 mangoes, a 6-pack of flashlights, and several plastic wheeled vehicles for the kids. Last year he bought us a membership for Christmas because apparently he mistook our efforts to minimize household clutter for a glut of empty space just waiting to be filled by tent-sized tins of biscotti and 64-oz jars of capers. We were going to wait until our apocalypse bunker was ready before we cashed in the membership, but we really needed to pick up another 50-gallon drum of cheap blended Scotch for when my mother-in-law visits. . ."

But your in-laws read the blog, I tell myself. Ixnay on the Ewarsday. As I'm brainstorming some other inevitably pretentious perspective on the whole experience, I suddenly grow fearful that someone is going to recognize me (like that time I rushed through closing elevator doors at a giant suburban shopping mall called "The Somerset Collection" and a cute girl inside said, "Are you Jim from Sweet Juniper?' and for a moment I contemplated diving through the glass elevator into the fake ficus plants below to avoid the shame of being caught with a J.Crew bag in my hands). Then I scold myself for being a narcissistic swellhead who thinks he's going to be recognized because of his stupid blog. It's not like you're a real celebrity, like French Stewart or Bronson Pinchot, I think, and my wounded, empty-scrotumed puppy of an ego responds sotto voce, "But some online magazine did say I was a top mommyblogger, you asshole."

The truth is I'm at the Costco because I want some cheap digital cameras to give to some kids but things aren't all that cheap* and I'm looking around for a twenty pack of disposable film cameras and I end up harassing the poor woman at the photo developing department because they have a photo developing department but don't sell film or disposable cameras. I give up and look for my wife who's choosing between the twenty pound bag of frozen shrimp and the thirty pound bag. There's nothing in the store I want so I turn my attention to my children and think, well this is cute, maybe there's a post here:

"The kids sat side-by-side in the massive shopping cart, confused, I think, by this new two-abreast seating arrangement, or, perhaps, by the Brobdingnagian nature of the overall experience, for who wouldn't feel tiny next to a canister of Whoppers taller than a third-grader or the box of Q-Tips their mother just put in the cart that surely will one day be scraping their own grandchildren's cochleae. . ."

Oh shut up, I finally say. It's just a trip to Costco. We've all heard the jokes about the oversized quantities. No one cares what you think. Why don't you write a blog post about what a fucking loser you are?



*I am giving some Detroit kids cameras to document their lives; it is part of a larger project I plan to reveal at the beginning of May.  I was hoping to find some 3-6 megapixel cameras at a reasonable price, not just to be cheap but to make it a non-issue if they are lost for reasons beyond the kids' control. Apparently the major camera makers preferred to grind up all those 3-6 megapixel sensors in some Shanghai dump rather than make digital cameras to sell for less than $150; an astute reader just e-mailed me to note that some Sweet Juniper readers might have old cameras languishing in closets after being replaced by more advanced technology (we are giving our trusty old Kodak Easyshare DX4330 to the kids). If you have an older point-and-shoot digital or a 35mm film camera in working order that you'd like to donate, I'd love it if you'd e-mail me so we can talk. Thanks to the overwhelming response from readers, I now have more than enough cameras to get this project started. Thanks to everyone who contacted me!