Taking Down American Capitalism

I love getting phone calls from my mom. And the best phone calls always start with the words “Okay. I was minding my own business….” Those are the phone calls when I get to sit back, relax, and hear about some antic from my brother, father, or dog.

This one was my brother. Apparently, mom and dad took Andrew to the mall to buy some shoes (since the dog ate his old ones.) He wasn’t thrilled about the whole shoe-buying thing, but he went along sulkily and they found some shoes. Then Mom saw something shiny (a Bath & Body Works sale) and had to go smell all the lotions.

In the middle of the store, there was a Christmas display. It was a pyramid of plastic bottles and perfume, topped with an enormous plastic ornament – a glittering, delicately stacked tribute to American commercialism.

With one blow from Andrew’s mighty fist, the great ornament fell – and with it tumbled the perfumed altar of corporate America! As plastic bottles flew and scattered, my mother turned around, realized with horror what her son had done, and began waving her arms and shouting, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” But it was too late. The deed was done.

Fortunately for all involved, my brother is a notoriously cute kid. (And by “kid,” I mean that he’s 20 years old – adorable, but definitely old enough to flirt his way out of any situation.) The store management completely understood that it was “an accident” (riiiight) and didn’t require my parents to pay any damages. My mom claims that there weren’t even any perfume bottles opened in the incident, although some of the decorative plastic on the bottles was chipped. And of course, Mom was humiliated! No parent should have to go through such social chaos!

But then I started asking questions. Why was he so mad? According to my mom, there was no logical reason he should have been so upset, except possibly the flu shot they made him get at the doctor’s. And he has pink eye. And of course, he has celiac disease (which means he can’t eat gluten, or anything that’s touched gluten,) and they had to forcibly wrestle a french fry away from him at dinner. Oh, and the dog ate his shoes. But that’s it. No biggie.

I told my mom she was lucky. If that was how my day was going, I might have punched her instead of the ornament. ♦

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