My father was a world-class shopper. He knew the price of everything, as well as its value, and was always on the look-out for sales. His specialty was shoes, but he also found shirts, ties, pants, appliances, tools, electronics, etc. He’d buy things for the bargain, and only later figure out what to do with them, including give them away.
I did not inherit this skill. I have little interest and less patience. Put me into one of those stores towering boxes of stuff, groaning shelves jammed with oddly labeled assortments of things I never even heard of, or varieties of things I thought I knew something about, and I’m lost.
It didn’t help for a few years I couldn’t see well enough to differentiate a bottle of mayonnaise from a can of paint. Or for that matter, a supermarket from a paint store. Needless to say, Guido did the shopping. And the painting.
So I’m always amazed at what the hell there is for sale. The shit people buy.
When I was in a Publix the other day to pick something up for Guido, who remains somewhat incapacitated thanks to her broken arm, this stopped me in my tracks. Who would buy leg cramps? Why would anybody want to purposely induce leg cramps?
I know what you’re thinking, but follow me here. If its label says “Aspirin,” doesn’t that suggest that the container actually contains aspirin? Ditto Milk? And cookies and Ex-Lax and Dinty Moore Beef Stew? What would you think if the can you bought with TUNA writ large on the label, complete with a leering Charley the Tuna in sunglasses contained Quaker Puffed Rice when you opened it? So what else would be in a box with LEG CRAMPS in large lettering on its label?
Curious, I went looking for other prepared ailments, but none appeared. No BOILS, for example, or FUNGUS. (“Try the produce section,” suggested a helpful shopper.) Fresh out of CROTCH ROT, and maybe tomorrow the RECTAL ITCH will be back. Plenty of dental floss, bandages, and Milk of Magnesia, though — or at least that’s what the label promised.
Maybe CRAMPS are a special case. So I went looking for MENSTRUAL CRAMPS, and found something even stranger. But then, kids and what’s out there for them stopped making sense to me not long after my childhood ended.
When I get home and explain all this to Guido, she purses her lips thoughtfully and nods her head. “Please tell me you didn’t buy them?” she asks, a tad tiredly.
Hell no. What would I want with leg cramps? I have you.
I said I love you. What did you think I said?
Purse. Nod. Walk away, eyes rolling. They teach ‘em that shit in Wife School.