Today (or tomorrow, or the next day, and so on until the breakdown of civilization; whenever you might read this), I’d like to tell you about a little mom and pop grocery chain called Wal-mart.
If you are reading this in the distant future and Wal-mart isn’t the hub of shopping activity in your borough, civilization is, indeed, on the verge of collapse.
As of now, 1:47pm CST on January 28th, 2016, Wally World, as it is known in contemporary parlance, is a yardstick…perhaps THE yardstick of American culture. The annals will have it that ours is the age of the of the localized globe, where the world is at your fingertips – literally. This summation contains several omissions (hmmm…’contain omissions’, not sure about that one, but I’ll go with it).
Notably left out of this description is the Vietnam War veteran door greeter who looks at everyone scornfully because they don’t truly appreciate freedom.
Let’s not forget the family of seven with one cart full of essentials (food, clothes, hygiene products) to be purchased with government funds, and another cart full of beer and cigarettes paid for with a crisp $100.
On a more light hearted note, there’s the 200lb woman wearing shorts made for an average sized 14 year old…
I’m getting carried away. The acronym for Wal-mart is Where Ambling, Languid Mortals Acquire Routine Trifles.
Listen, nobody at Wal-mart wants to be there. Hell, they’re not there – that’s where the “Ambling, Languid” descriptors come in. Ambling = meandering about oh so leisurely, languid = lazy, lethargic.
I’d say stop and look around at how people become oblivious, uncaring zombies at Wal-mart, but you (like me) will be one of those oblivious, uncaring zombies. Instead of brains, you’re motivated by being done and leaving.
“Routine Trifles” would be anything, and I mean EVERYTHING that you might need and plenty of crap that you don’t. Stop by the pharmacy to get a blood pressure machine to take your BP after eating one of the varieties of Spam. You’ll want to pick up some toilet paper for when that comes blasting out the other end. Pick up a goldfish while you’re there (the fish tanks are right next to the toiletries at my Walmart – bit of a cruel joke, no?).
It’s a few days later, after writing everything above I wanted to wrap it up, but something kept telling me I needed more. I didn’t understand what more I could do. I felt that I had adequately regurgitated my point onto the page, but the word bile and grammar chunklets on the page beckoned me to await further inspiration. I was listening to the audiobook of When Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris and I got to a part where he writes a poem about a hobo. It was then that I realized why my prose swill bade that I tarry – I must compose a poem. That’s right, people – it’s rhyme time –
I awoke one morning and hungered for cereal with soy milk,
But reached the fridge only to find a small amount of Silk.
I felt a sinking in my heart,
This meant a trip to Wal-mart.
I started making a list of what I needed at the store,
Milk, bread, lunch meat and light bulbs, nothing more.
The first challenge was to find a parking space,
I circled the lot for what seemed like days.
Upon entering the store, I grabbed a cart,
Looked at my list and contemplated a place to start.
I’ve found that, no matter where you begin,
You’ll purchase more items than you intend.
For example, on my way to the lunch meat,
I saw a deal on hot dogs that couldn’t be beat.
This meant, of course, that I had to get buns,
On the way, I saw some Capri Suns.
My daughter has them with her lunch to drink,
I’m never going to leave, I start to think.
I commit to gathering the last few items, then go,
There are so many conveniences to be had, though.
With my cart nearly full, I head to the checkout,
Careful not to look at items that might cause doubt…
…that I have all that I need for now,
If I missed something, I’ll manage, somehow.
Checking my list as I walk out the door,
I started with a short list, but ended up with so much more.

I’ll call this limerick “Jarrett’s “short” list for Wal-mart”.

I’ve enjoyed writing this entry – leave me some comments about your Wal-mart experiences.

Next time, S.T.A.R.B.U.C.K.S.

FIN

@JarrettLWilson