Sunday, December 21, 2008

Revelatory Sunday Morning Trip to Family Dollar

1. Obviously, Family Dollar is packed with toys this month. They are toys of the true dollar store variety, and thus far more bizarre. Why is it that a more generic toy almost always ends up being a weirder toy? I'm not freaked out by dolls that resemble celebrities - which theoretically should be much more unnerving - but I am freaked out by a doll that just looks like a normal kid and says, when I squeeze its hand, "Let's go to the park" because that's a normal-kid-doll thing to say. But it makes me feel weird. I don't know why this kid wants me to go to the park with her. What's her angle?

Likewise, I'm not freaked out by the fake instruments that go with Garage Band - again, theoretically this should be entire elaborate fake band, marketed heavily to adults? - but I am freaked out by those little toy guitars with big, plastic buttons instead of frets and that's it, that's their thing; that's their stand-alone promise of fun. Press these buttons, notes will come out, and it'll be fun. You'll be having fun when you do it. Also, this toy guitar is shiny, and the kind of silvery blue that could make it an acceptable toy for a girl or a boy. And it's just like, what's this guitar's angle?

I guess in general it's the lack of angles that unsettles me. You can't make a shape without angles. OMFG, THAT IS SO DEEP.

2. Also, the "Try Me" labels on the toy boxes seemed a little more aggressive today. I've always read them in the way I believe they are intended to be read, as an invitation: "Try Me!", as in "Give this a shot!" as in "Discover what I have to offer you!". Acceptance, inclusion, security.

Today I read them as a challenge, as a call to battle, as in, "Oh yeah? Try me", as in "I can take you", as in "Motherfuckin' TRY me". Conflict, disruption, violence.

3. Men modeling underwear never seem to be having as much fun as women modeling underwear. The potential for a pillow fight is just much lower, and you have to admit, it seems like men have a harder time really selling that they're genuinely jazzed about hanging around in only boxer/briefs. I'm not saying REAL men aren't as jazzed to hang out in their underwear as REAL women: there is abundant evidence to support that both genders are equally inclined to sincerely enjoy it. But men have a tougher time pulling it off in pictures, of truly expressing the rare pleasure of being only in your underwear. Sometimes, though, you do come across a male model who genuinely looks like, "oh hey, you just caught me hanging around in my underwear, having all kinds of fun, all of which derives from this underwear I have on". I didn't see any today, but I've seen it. For some reason, I feel like it's something that's likely to happen at the Gap.

4. Cops came into the store while I was in line. They were wearing Cop Face, that expression of pure non-expression that must be pretty essential to master for their job. It's an expression of "nothing can faze me; I have never been fazed; the mere idea of being fazed right now is totally ludicrous". And yet it makes them look so extraordinarily vulnerable because it's an obviously fabricated expression. Nobody naturally wears Cop Face; I've never seen anybody slip into an expression that's based on being aggressively unsurprised by the world, and so you know they're acting. And whenever somebody's obviously acting, it's just an explosion of implied vulnerabilities because there's no reason for you to act if you are comfortable. The point is: Cop Face. It fazes me.

5. I was in the line for a long time. This was because the girls ahead of me were paying with rolls of pennies, and the clerk was counting every penny, and the girls owed Family Dollar $4.37 which means counting 437 pennies and also, there ended up being some kind of dispute because the girls apparently owed $2.50 after they added some wrapping paper in the middle of the transaction, but they argued that they had given the requisite 250 pennies to cover all of this.

THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THIS, THOUGH, is that I definitely read the word "pennies" as "penises". Even though it was a roll of small, flat, round pieces of copper, with Lincoln's profile on one side and his memorial on the other, my brain said "THAT WORD IS PENISES". PENISES, enclosed. And I admit that this is somewhat telling, and that I do spend a lot of time thinking about penises, that they are fascinating for a wide variety of reasons from the most obviously sexual to how truly crazy-looking yet simultaneously functional-looking they are, to the complicated feelings myself and many women have regarding this whole issue of not, well, having one. Basically, there's bound to be real world consequences for all of the momentous psychic energy I have invested in penis-thinking. And while seeing "penises" instead of "pennies" barely registers as weird - I acknowledge that it could be much, much worse; that Freud based an entire system of thought around the fact that is often much, much worse - it's always a little weird to see your penis-thoughts externalized in Family Dollar.

I just really hope I don't start reading the words "nickels", "dimes", or "quarters" as "penises".


dingwall said...

One time at that Family Dollar the man ahead of me in line was haggling with the cashier about the price of a Snickers and a 4-pack of toilet paper.

I remember because I was buying the same things.

(My word verification word is "irizestz," which from now on will be the word that describes this exact phenomenon.)

shoju said...

your blog is fun becky! hope all is well in nooyawk (it's justin from leith st)

my verification word was "fattiere" ...

Trent said...


So many say it
So few can spell it