Monday, December 16, 2013 —
"I am free."
The thought pierced my cold, dark consciousness as I crossed a desolate commuterscape toward an early-morning train.
Before exiting my parked car, I had rifled through sections of the New York Times in case of momentous news out of Syria, Park Slope or Madison Square Garden. Instead, I found something grimly unnerving: an insert, bathed in blue and orange hues, that seemed hideously familiar. Dear God. Toys "R" Us was back.
"Door Busters!" the insert shrieked, with the R in "Door" reversed in dull homage to the illiteracy that, along with cheap crap from China in perpetuity, is one of the twin towers of the Toys "R" Us Inc. brand. My eyes locked on "My Talking LapPup," available in "Violet" or "Scout." Fisher-Price Inc.'s "Bedtime Peppa Pig" beckoned from an adjacent coupon panel. At the bottom of the first page - oh, yes, there were six - was a warning that the "Buy 1 Get 1 40% Off Mix & Match SALE!" had only two days to go. Violent video games, bad movies and various branded detritus from the plastics factory would soon experience a devastating price spike.
Panic had begun to seize me when a beautiful moment, the kind you can own and recall over the course of an entire lifetime, materialized out of the frigid air itself. "I have teenagers," I realized. "Put down the insert. It's over."
My cherished daughter, who once pined for a "Hop Along Pink Pony" - the desperate purchase of which, at the last minute on Dec. 24 after weeks of hopeless searching, had pitched her mother into triumphant, transcendent bliss - simply doesn't care anymore. My son, whose contributions to the plastics industry dwarf anything Deng Xiaoping ever mustered, would like some nice clothes, thank you very much.
Yes, it has been a long walk to freedom. There were difficult moments along the way, times when the garish, prisonlike aisles of storecrap seemed to close in, threatening to crush me physically and spiritually. But I never gave up hope. I always believed in my heart this day would come. I will never walk into Toys "R" Us again. I am free. Unless I have grandchildren.
Monday, December 16, 2013 —
"I am free."
- Opinion & Letters to the Editor
What we get wrong about millennials living at home
If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.
Gardeners are facing challenges with the weather this year. It seemed like we were getting great conditions in April and May. The weather was warm and we were getting some good rains. Then sometime in June the rain stopped. It got so dry that I didn’t have to cut the grass. While I enjoyed the break, the garden was not happy at all. I was having to water quite a bit to keep the vegetable garden alive and growing.
I may be a bit behind the times, but at least I can find ‘America’
I seem to be reading about and dealing with technology a lot lately.
I love technology and have always been fascinated by gadgets of all kinds and the wonderful things they can do. You never seem to go through an entire day without some form of invention enhancing your life.
Meeting out in open helps negotiations move ahead
RALEIGH – State lawmakers reconvened in Raleigh on May 14 promising a brief legislative session this summer, but as July moves along they are still in town and tackling big issues.
They don’t give a darn for Duke University
John “Duke” Wayne’s heirs are suing Duke University over trademark rights.
Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive
WASHINGTON - For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.
Don’t forget the losers in state lottery
RALEIGH – Behind every state lottery dollar that goes to education is a loser.
There’s also a winner – the teacher whose salary it pays, the student who gets a scholarship or the district where a new school gets built. But we hear about the winners in advertisements and in press releases.
This column is about the losers.
Cooling an overheated hedgehog and other summer travel stories
Anybody with a pet during the summer inevitably finds themselves facing this question: What do I do with my pet on vacation?
There are kennels for dogs, day cares for cats. Shoot, you can even find a friend to take care of your guinea pig.
But what do you do with a hedgehog?
North Carolina Boasts Top Wildlife Magazine and A Success Story
The following opinion piece was released by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission:
RALEIGH — When Wildlife in North Carolina, the magazine published by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, was named recently as the nation’s best in its category, it reflected more than accolades as a quality publication.
We're raising a generation of timid kids
CHICAGO - A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?
- More Opinion & Letters to the Editor Headlines
- What we get wrong about millennials living at home