Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just within the past few days, I looked through the sights of my gun while shouting at a mullet-haired creature. “SHOW ME YOUR HANDS!! LAY DOWN ON THE GROUND!” It comes so easily now. It’s like my brain was hard wired for dealing with idiots. “I swear, if you move I will bust your pumpkin wide open.”

As he laid on the ground, my muzzle still trained on his head, my foot on his hand, I could hear sirens in the background. They grew louder as my backup arrived. My hands were steady. Breathing? Normal. Voice? A little hoarse, from yelling over the sound of my own siren. This kind of thing is far from unusual. It’s what I do.

What I DON’T do, is look for cosmetics at Belk’s…or jewelry or handbags or shoes. The exception is Christmas time, and I want to show my wife how much I love her. And as I count my change and look for something she’ll love, I hope she knows the sacrifice I’m making. The sacrifice isn’t in the money. It isn’t in the time spent. I actually love buying things for my wife. I love figuring her out, making her smile, and showing her that I love her. No, the sacrifice is in the dreaded feelings evoked by a crowded department store. “I hope she knows that I am waaaay uncomfortable right now, and I’m doing it just for her.”

If only I could buy her everything she’s ever wanted from Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Bass Pro Shops. I could find it quickly, and at a fair price. Of course, my purchase decisions would be periodically interrupted by visits to the gun counter for a few moments of longing.

As I meander through the fragrances, I get some looks. It could be the plaid, or the fleece, or the camo hat…all of which are foreign to this store. Many of the women behind the counters sport drastically oversized painted smiles. The one even has a line on her neck. I can actually see where her makeup ends, and her real self begins. Most of them don’t ask me if I need help, because they already know the answer. No amount of help will save me from this place. Then I spot a fellow man, and my heart jumps as I realize that I AM NOT ALONE! Well, maybe I am. With processed hair and feminine gestures, I realize why he works in such an environment. He feels very much at home. As I look closer, I realize that he, too, is wearing a bit of makeup. Jeez…

As I look at earrings, my face becomes flush and hot. I realize that if I were loss prevention, I would be looking at me. In this store, I am the mullet-haired creature. I leave empty handed and decide that Christmas shopping is better when done online, in the comfort of one’s home.

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