LOCAL ACTIVIST'S FRIEND ALSO SPARES CHILDREN
The following was provided to me by our friend Laura Nettland and is reproduced here by her permission.
KIDS IN STORES:
Last week, I stopped in one of my favorite stores, Target (pronounced: 'Tar-jay', with a soft 'J'). While I was looking for a specific item or two, other things kept whispering to me from the shelves that I needed them, they needed to go home with me too, can't live without them. As I listened to them convincing me to abuse my credit card some more, another din in the store started to distract me. Oh brother! My favorite! Children being loud, disruptive and out of control in a public place! I tried to stay focused on deciding which over-the-door-clothes-hooks to buy but the ruckus became more invasive. It got to the point I couldn't help but hear what the rapscallions were saying. " OK your turn! See if you can catch me!!" (run run run run) "You missed! Now I bet I can get you!!" (run run run run), followed by sliding, yelling, crashing, shouting... things I never would have dreamed of doing in a store when I was a kid. Trying to shut them out, I stared harder at the hook thingies and went into my muttering diatribe: "I can't believe they are being allowed to act like that! When I was a kid,.. never would have had the gall! But of course I had parents that cared how I acted in public, is that breed gone now?! Yes, I think it's parking lot time...I know that's where I would have ended up. 'If you can't act right, you're going home!' What has happened those days!?" I couldn't seem to find the right door hook (it should be such a hard decision) so I went on to the next thing I could dream up. As I walked on, I could still hear them running and behaving atrociously. I thought, "Should they happen upon where I am walking, I will NOT move out of their way, justifying the way they are acting. I'm the store patron. They're mis-behaving. They run into me...they get what they get..." Sure enough, the paths crossed...
I started down a main aisle, I saw a grade school boy on the other side of it a little ways from me, obviously looking down the aisle and rows, checking to see if his game partner was in sight. He started a sprint across the aisle...towards me. Tracking him in my peripheral vision, I just kept my casual shopper's pace, " do-be-do-be-do, oh let's see, what should I buy?..." BAM!!! He ran right smack into me. Not a close call, not a bump, it was a damn near, full contact NFL body block. "SORRY!" the kid grovelled. My wicked Step Mother character lingering in the back of my mind from last summer literally got jolted to the fore-front, full bore. "WATCH yourself!! This is NOT a playground!!' I flared at him without missing a beat (I thought, "Ooooh she (step-mom) woulda been so PROUD of me!" ) I defiantly went about looking for more cool stuff I didn't need but to abuse my credit card with, because I'm the properly behaved store patron!! And as I walked, I got to processing... Before coming to this store, I had just been to PetCo to get darling foofy cat more kibble. People had their sweet doggie-kids of all ages and sizes on leashes there. And they were better behaved than the kids I ran into (literally!) in Target! Hmmm, what is wrong with THIS picture? I've never seen a dog out of control at Petco, running the aisles, yelling at their friends, snatching things off the shelf then throwing a screaming fit on the aisle floor when mom or dad tells them to put it back. One has to ponder...
I do remember the first (and last!) time I mis-behaved in a store. Don't think I was even in grade school yet. I went with dad to the good ole corner grocery store. In the midst of some discussion about something, I started either throwing a fit, getting out of control, whining and crying. Well, dad whisked me up onto his shoulder and home we went. Now, I don't recall the actual going up onto dad's shoulder. I just have one picture in my mind of being in the store and me winding up emotionally one moment....then the next, leaving the store and the neighborhood in reverse as viewed over the back of dad's shoulder at a very brisk pace. And you had that definite, very consciously clear realization of: "OH OH...I think I just crossed a serious line here!..." Then, almost worse...hearing dad tell mom in the next room about just why he was home so quickly from the store. Yep, that was the first and last time I ever threw a fit in a store...till a kid ran into me at Tar-Jay!
OH NO! Wait! I do have to confess... a couple of years ago, I (gulp) I did get kinda rowdy in KMart. Uh-boy this is hard. But confession clears the soul. Walking down the aisle with a friend, I saw a bin-full of...of...eeeesshh,....Tickle Me Elmos. Well, I had had enough of Tickle Me Elmos at the time; and feeling my oats and kinda awnry that afternoon, I said something to the effect of, "Tickle this, Elmo!" and followed that with a sharp punch in Elmo's round gut! (Oh God, I'm shaking with endless... remorse,... sure, that's what it is...) But what capped the moment was when, during my evil laughing, I looked up and caught the eyes of a KMart worker, glaring at me!! Yo-Boy! Yikes! I tucked my head, tried to look repentant enough to get by and kept walking, sputtering with suppressed laughter. I'm just glad she didn't drag me out to the parking lot.
Post script: I shared this last story with Margy Ryan [Spouse of the Master of the Barricades -- Ed.] and Stephen Charest some time ago. It was a source of comfort to find that I was not alone. She/they too, had attacked a well known and loved-by-children stuffed toy puppet character, (Barney?) in the middle of a store. [We deny this categorically -- Ed] If anyone out there is carrying the guilt and burden of having committed a heinous act such as this, or even harboring just violent thoughts against obnoxiously cute stuffed animals... don't carry it alone, there is help. We are holding monthly support group meetings for "Attackers of Stuffed Creatures Known and Loved by Children".
"Hello...my name is Laura.. and I am a stuffed creature attacker. (Hi Laura!) ...I have not attacked an obnoxiously cute stuffed critter known and loved by children for over a year now...it's been difficult...but I just take it one day at a time..."