All about how all I wanted was a cheeseburger and I wound up in Hell

Manic Mumbling | The shopping mall is the actual heart of darkness and other insights.

Manic Mumbling | The shopping mall is the actual heart of darkness and other insights.The mall in our town is surrounded by an open-air parking lot you can see on approach from the interstate. It stretches to the horizon and it’s always full. Around the holidays, cars back up at that exit sometimes a quarter mile or more.

Why this sight doesn’t serve as a warning to any sane person I’ll never know. That parking lot is an asphalt-paved River Styx surrounding the Heart of Darkness. It’s a test of fortitude. If you can retain your sanity driving two miles an hour up and down lanes in which you could have sworn you just saw an empty space, but that “space” inevitably turns out to be a mini cooper tucked between two F-150s, and then you find yourself following the Inevitable Three Women moseying on foot directly down of the center, pushing strollers, and balancing their respective gigantic handbags, smart phones, and triple, venti, non-fat, caramel macchiatos, if you can do that, and your head doesn’t explode into a million pieces, you may have the temperament needed in order to enter. Yay you. You just earned the right to enter Hell.

And it is Hell. No guarantees whether you’ll return. Or if you do, that you’ll be able to find your damn car. So keep that in mind.

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Nothing against turtles, really, or hobos

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Future hobos: the early years. Kitchen demolition experts.

I recently subscribed to one of those services that delivers a box of ingredients and instructions for dinner to your door every week because:

True Fact #1: Parenting gurus say if you don’t sit down to a family dinner on a regular basis your children will one day be hobos.

True Fact #2: There are people around here who might not live to see hobo-hood, and the whole dinner process is part of the problem.

First there’s the whole question of what’s for dinner, to which the answer is usually “I dunno,” or “doesn’t matter.” But when we all gather at the table it will inevitably dawn on one or more of these people that it jolly well does matter and I somehow forgot that fish flambé or whatever I’ve fixed is expressly verboten, and that’s when the nightly Pouring Of The Cereal commences.

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Don’t make me shop with these people


Do you want to know what I enjoy more than clothes shopping for myself?

… That is to say, more than hauling my carcass to some monolithic mecca of commercialism smack in the center of an asphalt plane crowded with cars? More than wandering through crowds of gabby, smelly shoppers and their sticky progeny meandering four abreast at a rate one might compare to plate tectonics? More than perusing aisles crammed with textiles which, regardless of how they look on a mannequin, will transform me into something lumpy and wan in the warped dressing room mirror under fluorescent lighting not fit for a morgue?

Want to know what I enjoy than that?

I enjoy taking my younger son shopping for clothing. That, my friends is a real treat.

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Family Farmer’s Market Fiasco

marketSaturday I woke the kids with an invitation to the farmer’s market and a bribe of donuts.

Usually these Saturday morning trips are a date thing with Mike and me. We’re up before anyone else (pretty much any time before noon, so don’t be impressed) and heading downtown on bikes.

On this morning, Mike had something else going on, and I had a kind of Pollyanna moment: wouldn’t it be wonderful for a few adolescents who might otherwise not see sunlight all day long to join me in the fresh air for a spell?

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