The Adventures of Mummy in LileksLand

Big happenings amongst the Gurdons as America’s Worst Mother&#153 shuns shopping from her usual obscure catalogs, featuring pewter dinnerwear and educational toys for the kids (Angina Jolie, Polynyas, Badunkadunk, and Prawn), and instead treds the terra crappa known as Target.

You’re kidding me,” the cashier says, dropping her jaw in theatrical amazement. “Never?”

“Never!” I reply giddily, slipping my credit card oh-so-easily into the metal mouth of a little machine. “Until now! But I’ll be back!” I have to force myself to calm down, stop being so chatty, but the fact is, the excitement of this morning’s outing has gone to my head. My eye has the glitter of the Ancient Mariner: I want to rush up to strangers and tell them about my wondrous discoveries.

Okay, I have to stop here and admit that I thought that Meghan had finally had her first orgasm but then it occured to me that speaking of la fiesta de groin in line at Target simply isn’t done. That kind of talk is saved for Macys.

Anyway, back to Megs:

“Man,” the cashier chuckles, shaking her head as she runs her hand-held laser across the bar codes of innumerable absurdly priced, brightly colored goodies. “I ain’t never heard of nobody who ain’t been to Target.”

“Target,” I correct her, like an idiot, using the Franco-phony pronunciation. She chuckles again.

Thereby proving that she, Americas Worst Mother&#153, is far superior to the minimum-wage monkey who says things like “I ain’t never heard of nobody who ain’t…” and who are forced to chuckle when the landed gentry stop by and deign to be droll.

Later at home Meghan gets a case of the guilts when she is confronted with the realization that she has purchased large quantities of crap manufactured by our great nation’s mortal enemy: North Korea, France, Indiana, The Scientologists, Siegfried & Roy…okay: China.

On a sudden corrective impulse, I begin checking labels: Phew, the dress was made Cambodia, the nightgown in Guatemala; but — and my heart sinks — it seems the vast majority of the goods for sale here originated in the world’s last major Communist tyranny; a country where bishops are imprisoned, where convicts are made into involuntary organ donors, where open expression of political dissent brings a truncheon on the back of the neck; a country which furthermore is in the midst of one of the largest military build-ups in history and whose attitude towards America is nuanced, to say the least.

But soft — here’s a sleek pair of sunglasses, really rather stylish, and only $19.99. I find the label: Uh-oh. The trouble is, I need sunglasses. Guiltily, I slip them into my cart beside a little handbag for Molly (also made in China, but, consider, a mere $9.99!).

As Meghan stands pondering sixty years of Cold War, the coming Armageddon, and possibly the only pair of $19.99 sunglasses in America that might be charitably called “stylish”, she is interrupted by a cameo appearance by James Lileks who prowls the housewares aisle stalking the elusive MILF, only to find Meghan instead:

“Excuse me,” another shopper smiles, pushing her groaning cart around me in my aisle-blocking trance.

“Sorry,” I say, snapping out of it, “I just seem to have lost track of what I should be buying.”

She laughs with wry recognition. “Sometimes,” she says, “I’ve come all the way here, bought tons of stuff, and when I get home I realize I didn’t buy the one thing I came to get!”

And then Lileks (he was in drag…again) wanders off with his cart full of Snapple, toilet paper, FiddleFaddle, a copy of InStyle, and Gnat and her not-so-cute and rarely-mentioned older sister: Chigger. Onward we go:

“Darling,” says my husband, as I am unburdening my conscience that evening, after another splurge, “you do know that any measly spending we do will not make the slightest difference either to the deficit or the dollar?”

“I know,” I concede, “and I am, in principle, a proponent of free trade. But it is also true that as I have just finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I am especially alert to the moral dimensions of my purchasing decisions. Plus, I don’t want to help pay for the helicopters that will someday strafe our cities.”

He grins. “Why don’t you ask X?” he says, mentioning the name of a Senior Government Official who’s a pal of ours and a specialist in such matters.

Now I want to stop right here and give, as Hugh Hewitt calls them, “mad props” to Mr. Meghan for reminding us of the time-honored husbands dodge of nodding along and then tactically passing the baton onto someone else who is too polite to say no allowing you to get back to watching SportsCenter or imagining how many drinks you would have to get into Nancy Grace before she would play human wheelbarrow…again.

Back to Meghan…X harshs her mellow:

“It is better to buy American if you can,” says the S.G.O., his voice taking on a hint of the old cod liver oil, “But frankly it would be best to save your money. The deficit, as you know, is partly a function of our low savings rate and domestic economic strength. You could keep wearing your old sneakers, bank the $10.99, thus increasing the funds available to invest in this country and… reduce our deficit with China! Ta-da!”

But, plucky heroine that she is (the type that settled the Great Plains…okay, it wasn’t actually her) AWM heads back to Target:

An hour later, I am walking down the gleaming aisle, my heart pounding, my morality once again swept away like a trans-Pacific cargo ship in a storm. And as I pause to pick up some inviting object, through my mind runs the refrain: “Stop me before I kill again…”

Yes. She’s a little wiser and a little more hesitant, but still she haunts the aisles seeking that sweet sweet hit of pure uncut crap-binge nirvana.

I tell you, the girl has a Target on her back…

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