Archived Story

A case of early onset shopping apathy

Published 9:49am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Column: Tales from Exit 22

It was one of those bonding experiences.

We were removing wet leaves from the rain gutters of the house. The packed leaves mixed with whatever they could find to form an indescribable goo. My wife held the ladder. I tossed the nasty stuff from the gutters to the ground. I tried to miss hitting her with the goo. I love her and she was holding the ladder. One toss went awry and a bit of the detritus hit my bride. The wind must have taken it.

She took it poorly. She began to complain about the task we were performing. We had words. It took an amazingly long time for me to use mine.

I tried to console her by saying, “It beats shopping.”

My father knew his way around a bale of hay. He enjoyed hanging around a hardware store or implement shop, but he didn’t like shopping.

I have that non-shopping gene. I suffer from EOSA. That’s an affliction known as early onset shopping apathy.

It doesn’t help that when I go into a dollar store, I still don’t feel rich. I don’t dislike all shopping. I like it best in a bookstore. Grocery stores and hardware stores aren’t bad. I prefer my shopping in small doses.

When I go shopping with my wife, my job is to stay near the cart.

One day, I had been given the list. I didn’t mind the list. It was better than getting lists. I was in a large shopping emporium that claims to have everything except what I’m looking for. Music played in the background — some of it nearly recognizable.

A woman ahead of me in the checkout lane fumbled in her purse as the cashier totaled her purchases. I noticed that she pulled a TV remote control from the purse.

I had to ask. “Do you always carry a TV remote?”

“No,” she replied. “My husband refused to come shopping with me, so I figured I’d get even with him.”


Ask Al

Readers ask superb questions. The answers are mine.

“How do you find the weather in Minnesota?” I open the door and there it is.

“Are all mushrooms edible?” They are, but eating some of them might kill you.

“What causes baldness?” The lack of hair.

“I found a gopher egg. My wife says that’s impossible. Who is right?” Your wife is right, of course. Gophers don’t lay eggs this time of the year.

“Why do we have Daylight Saving Time?” So that people will be able to save something.

“Do you fish?” I opened a can of sardines once. The truth is that I come from a long line of fisherman. My great-grandpa Batt trapped fish for their fur.

“What dates did you attend school?” Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.


The news from Hartland

The Hartland Loafers’ Club meets every morning. We pay no dues and have no mission statement. We meet for an hour, do nothing, talk about how we could do even less and then go home to rest. One of its illustrious members, Hartland Harold, keeps us informed as to the local news. Here are the area’s headlines according to Hartland Harold.

Olaf’s Origami School opens and folds the same day. The ribbon-cutting ceremony turned into a catastrophe when the mayor ran with a scissors.

The opening of a plastic surgeon’s office raises a few eyebrows.

Bar None Wireless claims that roaming wasn’t billed in a day.

Barry the Undertaker offers caskets that come with shovels.

The Two Bits Volunteer Fire Department, which has never lost a foundation of someone they liked, was called to get a cat out of a tree. With their ladder in the shop, the firemen used a hose to get the cat down.

Lottery Losers Support Group forms.

The Last Bank has a complete set of US quarters.

The Food Crypt Supermarket offers “12 items or more” lane.

Position available at the Yul B. Sari Yoga Center.

Free-range chicken wins marathon.

Opera house offers free ballet parking.

Trouble brews for local beermaker. The future of the Metropolitan Museum of Beer is in question after some tough hops.

The new Optimists Club building is expected to be built in record time.

Marlon Brandy arrested for mooning a nudist camp.

Shooter’s Deer Decoy factory needs people who want to make big bucks.

Iva Beyer Real Estate Company will give you a ruin for your money.

Lower Your Expectations Café does not deliver pizza, but you can order pizza from their catalog.


Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.