Picture the scene: A sweaty, sun-fried mom is pawing through her purse, looking for the thin piece of plastic that will allow her to leave the store with the cartful of groceries she's gathered for the better part of an hour. It should have been secured in one of the thin pockets that line her wallet, but chances are it was unceremoniously tossed back into the tote with a fistful of receipts from the last shopping trip. “It's in there somewhere,” she frets.
She is embarrassed. People are waiting behind her in line, pretending they aren't angry that the delay threatens to turn their ice cream into soup. She starts to clear the bag, tossing everything she knows isn't legal tender onto the conveyor belt.
A scarf … an overdue library book ... yesterday's mail … a Matchbox car ... a package of fruit candy ... a taser.
Yes. A taser.
“It's a toy,” she tells the clerk.
Knit brows rise and faces tighten with laughter when the daughter in tow grabs the realistic-looking battery-operated gizmo and explains to the clerk that it was her brother's, given to him by her mom's best *cough* Nellie-Oleson *cough* friend.
“Mom took it away from him because he wouldn't stop pretending to zap people. He's a real stunner, that kid.”
Did you guess I was that mom?
Did you wonder if I was chastising myself, as I repacked my bag of detritus, why I hadn't just put the dang credit card back where it belonged? Or did I tell myself to just let it go?
It's not the end of the world as we know it.
It's probably not even among the seven signs of the apocalypse, unless you count a purse-sized earthquake.
I mean … stranger things than a mom pulling a toy taser on a teenage supermarket employee while her socially precocious daughter narrates have been happening recently, right?
Don't believe me? Here's a recap:
The Discovery Channel aired a fake-u-mentary declaring mermaids to be real, and, closing disclaimer aside, children around the country started pointing to their science teachers, parents and anyone within earshot – usually people who don't believe in UFOs or winged angels walking among us – and saying: “Neener-neener-neener, I told you mermaids were real!”
Turns out the government IS spying on everyone, something most people (including the non-UFO believers) have long suspected. However, now that an American has shown proof to a British journalist that this democracy of ours has secret laws and secret courts, which might possibly trample all over the Bill of Rights, that whistleblower is being considered unAmerican.
Texas seems to be gearing up for a baby boom as its legislature maneuvers to effectively end abortion. I suppose if that's what they think is best, who am I to argue? I don't vote in Texas. However, I sincerely hope the state reconsiders its refusal to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. Seems to me if the state wants to prove it cares about life before 20 weeks it should prepare for weeks 41 through 936. At the very least, legislators should be forced to watch a single episode of CSI so they know “rape kits” are for evidence collection and not so a woman can “get cleaned out.”
Speaking of Texas, reports are cropping up that a bite from an arachnid called the Lone Star Tick could make some folks allergic to red meat. And that the tick is in New York. No joke, although those UFO abductees are likely calling it a vast vegetarian conspiracy.
And it's not just the south where things are off-kilter. Two guys in our neck of the woods – one from Galway, the other from Hudson – were arrested for allegedly conspiring to build a radiation death ray device they could drive around in a van.
Honestly, I don't know how much more of this brand of crazy I can can take. I fear if it continues, The Champ is going to add “Matchbox Death Ray Van” prominently to his Christmas list, it will end up in my purse, and I will have to get our groceries delivered.