Unexpected Moments.
October 30th, 2006 by

Last weekend, I realized that I simply cannot shop at the Somerset, PA Wal-Mart Supercenter anymore. For some unknown reason, I become a stark-raving lunatic whenever I enter through the automatic sliding doors.

Take, for example, this excerpt from a post I wrote last spring, recounting an experience that I had immediately following Eric’s death at Chez Wally-World:

For the most part I am stoic on the outside—although most ironically, it was that soulless bastion of consumerism that is Wal-Mart that finally brought me to my knees. I did not cry at the funeral home or church or cemetary when we were planning your services. However, I fucking lost it in the Men’s Underwear Department. Your undertaker had asked that I purchase some underwear for you to wear since my parents forgot to grab some—and I was carefully picking out the very best, combed-cotton undershirts (the ones without the scratchy tag in back) and the very nicest socks and briefs that Wally World had to offer. I think that the gravity of the whole thing hit me when I thought, “I had better pick out the most comfy stuff since he’ll be wearing them a long time.” More than one shopper saw me blubbering away, hunched over the blue shopping cart with a pair of men’s microfiber dress socks in my hand. Clean-up on Aisle 5!!

And last weekend, I had gone into the maw of the beast for the simple, quick purchase of a photo frame. Trying to avoid running into old high-school classmates (one of the pitfalls of going into the only large store in an entire rural county is that there is always someone that you know in said store, who Really Wants to Catch Up), I cut through the cosmetics aisle to reach the home department. And therein I found my downfall.

Mixed in with all of regular make-up products was a special section of Halloween accouterments. There were sparkly fake eyelashes, face paints of every color, and crazy wigs. There were also Goth-style nail polishes with mini-tombstones as the bottle topper.

And then I noticed the promotional photos on the product packaging. Each model was carefully made up to look cheerfully dead. I saw the artificial asphyxiation pallor created with Blue #2 and White Base make-up. I saw the rows and rows of products that made death look like a fun party gag.

Then, I went a little bit crazy. I picked up a handful of mini R.I.P. Tombstone Death nail polishes and said loudly, “Death isn’t fun. Death isn’t FUNNY!”

And the lady at the other end of the aisle looked at me furtively, then quickly shuffled into the next aisle.

Yeah. I am definitely on my way to becoming the next crazy lady of Somerset.

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