Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Merry Shopping Trip

It’s been a year since my last shopping expedition to the United States. I didn’t miss it.

For those of you who don’t enjoy my upbeat, ‘everyone wins’ style of storytelling, I will summarize as thus:

ü Woke up, got out of bed in a good mood.

ü Had coffee and breakfast – better mood.

ü Was informed I was going shopping over in Michigan – pouting and whining ensued.

ü Went to Michigan.

ü Shopped.

ü Returned home angry and disillusioned.

Morons! Dolts! Imbeciles! Morons! What better way to spend your day than fighting traffic in parking lots, fighting to get around people in Lil Rascal powered chairs, teenagers who can’t or won’t take their eyes off of their damn cell phones, and husbands dragging their feet like they are reenacting the Bataan Death March. Don’t forget the lame-o’s who just stop dead in their tracks like they just figured out the cure for cancer or really have to readjust their underwear after dropping a stink bomb in the hallway.

Why? Why do people ‘go to’ the mall? Most of them don’t appear to be shopping. They just move slowly and then congregate en masse at the most inconvenient possible time and location. It’s a mall. It’s a place where people who don’t like themselves or have no hobbies or jobs go to feel better about themselves. Buy something nice just for me! That will make me feel much better about being a socially inept outcast! Instead of taking up space in the mall why don’t you take a class or something on Sunday, Dolt!

You’re going Christmas shopping. Here’s a hint: Don’t bring your whiney little snot monster with you. Leave it out in the car or with a stranger. Make the little bastard thankful for something, mainly his life. If I understand this correctly – you are Christmas shopping and you bring your kids. Why? So they can tell you if what you bought them for Christmas was the right colour? At least three times I saw little kids griping and begging for their moms to buy them something right there, right now. One of the little angels had picked up a ‘massager’ at Brookstone and man did he want it. I am pretty sure his mother wanted it too, but this is a Christmas blog so keep your mind out of the gutter. Thinking back on it, she likely did buy the ‘massager’ for little Tommy (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Human Carnage. That’s what I see when I go to a mall. People wanting things they don’t need and things they can’t afford (this is an assumption based on the latest reliable news source around: The Onion). Most kids don’t need more toys. They need a swift kick in the ass. That’s what Santa should give out this year. Swift kicks in the ass. Do you know how many people would line up to play Santa? For free? Jewish people and Muslims would even line up for that. I feel bad for all the winos who would lose gainful employment, but we are talking about Santa freely giving away kicks in the ass here. Of course, some jerk would ruin it by kicking the kids too hard, in the face, maybe. But I’m a pretty quick learner, and would do my best to not kick the kiddies in the face, often…

Luckily Lori is a good shopping partner. She doesn’t allow me to do any shopping, but she also doesn’t make me hold her purse, either. Standing outside of JJill waiting for her and not holding her purse while all the other forlorn husbands turned their heads in shame whilst holding onto their wife’s purses elevated my social standing from zombie hall stander to rock star hall stander.

Outta My Way, Suckholes! We’re done at the mall! We’re leaving! I jubilantly strut down the aisles in glee, pushing Lil Rascals out of my way as I go! So long, Douchers! I’m free!

Jubilation turns to panic as Lori locks the car doors and informs me we are going ‘shoe shopping’. Her evil “moohahaha” laugh tears strips of flesh from my body as she wheels her car in and out of oncoming traffic for dramatic effect.

“Can I wait in the car? Take a nap?” ‘You get out of that car now, or I will make you hold my purse!’ The word ‘purse’ isn’t even finished and I am out of the car and the car door is shut. Surprisingly, Lori doesn’t take very long and the imaginary bamboo slivers under my finger nails recede as quickly as my hairline did. Ahhh! The car doors lock and I am informed we are now going to Target. I can live with that. They sell beer at Target, right?

If you have ever been in a Target store you will notice that some devious bastard has placed the women’s unmentionables in the first section of the store. In that section they always leave the brassieres facing the aisle. Of course, this is not a big deal for a mature person, but it poses a problem for me. To top it off, some sick bastard always leaves the bras that are, well, friggin’ huge exposed for all to see. I try to walk by and think about baseball, but some unearthly force slowly and painfully turns my head towards the largest cupped bra of all of them. With my teeth clenched and silently chanting my mantra, “Shut your mouth, Brooks”. “Shut your mouth, Brooks!” “For the love of God, please don’t say anything, Brooks!” the inevitable verbal poopoo comes flying out of my mouth, “Holy crap! Look at the size of that bra! A person could use that to store basketballs!” Crap, crap, crap! Lori doesn’t hit me while I’m awake. I get *the look* and quickly look down to see what my shoes are doing at that precise moment. I don’t remember much after that, but I must say Target really keeps their floors clean.

One More Stop: Meijer. For those of you unfamiliar with Meijer, allow me to enlighten you. Meijer is like Wal-Mart. Meijer would have its own website dedicated to the people who shop there if Meijer was a nation-wide chain. Meijer is the place you go when you need beer, condoms, shrimp and firearms at three in the morning. Meijer also has a wide array of people wearing sweat pants, pajamas, wife beaters and interesting tattoos. English is not spoken a lot at Meijer. Holding up check-out lines because some person who doesn’t speak English is insisting that their 3-year-old coupon for canned salmon is still valid is commonplace at Meijer. I have only ever seen one Asian person in Meijer. Meijer has Ben and Jerry’s “Pistachio Pistachio” ice cream. I like Meijer.

I am not sure what we bought at Meijer, but getting to see Gummy and Coughy Alice again were definitely the highlight of my day.

The Return Trip. The real excruciating part of shopping in Michigan is returning home. Not because I want to stay in Michigan, but due to the pain of declaring things to the Canada Border Services Agency. The officers are generally nice people, considering they have deal with idiots all day. I just find it annoying that a simple task of paying blood money to our government can become such an agonizing experience because some slack-jawed diddlyboob, who has somehow made it to the cashier, wants to argue about what is charged duty and what isn’t. Urged on by her like minded diddlyboob friend, she digs in her heels and demands again and again why she has to pay duty. When the correct answer is not proof enough, she demands to know why she has to pay duty...again!

With all the money our government has spent protecting our border, one would think they could afford one spring-loaded clown shoe to be shot out of the ceiling at jackasses like this lady. Get Out! You are dumb! Leave!

Finally, we get our blue or yellow paper and we are allowed to leave. Freedom!

Next year, Christmas giving is going to be different. Socks for everyone. Not new socks, just random socks I find in the dryer, at the laundromat, at the beach, etc. I aspire to be *that* person: the person who gives socks. Almost as hated as the idiot who gives advice – about everything. “Merry Christmas, Timmy! Here’s your holey plaid sock!” “But I wanted a puppy!” “My, my, Timmy! Santa would never give you a puppy! You’re eight and you don’t even know how to brush your teeth! No, little Timmy, you’re too stupid to take care of a puppy! In fact, I don’t think you’re smart enough to own a sock!” Yoink! “I almost forgot! Here’s your kick in the ass for being such a smug little bastard!”

Dare to Dream of my Perfect Christmas. Wishing everyone the Best of the Season!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011



This has been a week that I will never forget. Even if I wanted to I will never let myself forget the strength and courage I saw over a two day period and the weeks that preceded it.

There is no real beginning or end to this and I can only convey what I saw and heard and how I understood the goings on.

Over the last seven weeks, with quiet honour and indomitable spirit, one of my best friends stood vigilant and strong while his beautiful wife succumbed to cancer and was summoned across the river to the Great Ever After.

It wasn’t until last Saturday that I understood how bad things were. I got a phone call from Shawn’s closest friend telling me what was going on. Until that phone call I had stayed away and just kept checking in to see if my friend was doing okay or if he needed any help. I had not gone to visit his wife for fear of being in the way. Sunday passed and I did not know what to do. On Monday I found out things had gotten really bad and Randy and I went to the hospital to be there for our friend. He was tired. He would not sit down. His eyes were controlled but had worry in them. He spoke with clarity and Randy and I knew his concern was for his children. Randy and I visited with Shelley. I held her hand and tried to smile. She said “hi” and faded back into sleep. We left the room and stood by our friend in the hallway.

As the kids approached he never flinched, never wavered. They all went in to say what were likely their last good byes. Randy and I sat in the lounge and waited.

I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to fix everything but couldn’t do anything. I wanted to drag Shawn away, even for 15 minutes to just get him away and let his guard down. He wouldn’t have gone anyway.

On Tuesday I got a text telling me Shelley had passed away. Shawn was by her side.

I want anyone who reads this to know that I am proud of my friend. He displayed courage, caring and strength in what became an unwinnable circumstance. Not once did I hear him bemoan the situation or give up hope. I cannot describe the strength I saw in Shawn. As usual, he took care of everyone else and held everything together the way he always does.

The black veil of sadness is hitting me. I am sad for my friend. I am sad that this has happened to him, but I know I will never have to worry about him after witnessing the strength he possesses.

There is no doubt in my mind that all of Shawn and Shelley’s friends and family will form the village of support our friend may need moving forward. He may not want it or need it but it will be there if he does.