All stocked up on crazy
I’ve seen the face of crazy, and it’s not pretty.
It’s about 4 1/2 feet long and weighs nearly 60 pounds. Its skin is pasty, its eyes chalky and its price tag hideous. It’s terrifying enough to make the toughest Mommas amongst us weep like schoolgirls. Literally.
It’s the -- School Supply List!
Actually, it’s not a list at all. It’s a dossier -- a dossier of a madman. Because no matter whom the current author, the original School Supply List concept could have only come from the mind of a lunatic. A childless, independently wealthy, and pitifully bored lunatic. Or, perhaps, Hannibal Lecter.
One must question which of Sybil’s personalities thought that it was a logical idea to arm millions of parents with individual lists of such large scope and minute detail that it was as if Alice was perpetually leaping through the looking glass (which you can get at Wal-Mart for $6.99) rather than just charge a flat "materials" fee.
I, like most mothers, have ignored the supply list all summer. It sat on its own shelf in the bookcase for 3 months while I cut watermelon cubes and hosted sleepovers. Its 357 pages began to yellow as I soothed bug bites and sunburns. It growled at me every few weeks and I promised to feed it one rainy afternoon in July, but that never came to pass. I think we saw "Space Chimp" that day instead. But when I started hearing voices from it -- Your kids are going to have to draw everything with eyeliner and a bouillon cube -- I knew it was time to go to the insane asylum that is Super Target three weeks before school starts.
As expected, the place was packed with procrastinating parents. The aisles were jammed with emergency vehicles. Doctors did their best to tend to the walking wounded, but there were just too many, darnit. Confusion had already set in; people were stupefied murmuring aloud, "Where are the metal tipped compasses? Do you think I could substitute plastic?" Or "Do I really have to make a matching contribution to the teacher’s 401(k), or could I just open an IRA instead?" I saw one poor woman trembling because the only Sharpies left on the rack were fine tips rather than ultra.
As I stepped over a man curled up in the fetal position beneath the graph paper, I once again questioned my own sanity as to why I didn’t pay the $700 or whatever it was for the pre-packed box back in May. I was loony to think that whatever pennies I saved with my coupon could possibly be worth my last nerve. I grabbed the last three-pronged plastic folder next to the Haldol and straight jackets, and left to seek out the next clue in the supply scavenger hunt in hell.
I hope the next store has plenty of Elmer’s. Because after school shopping, I am completely unglued.