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Selected Podpieces


On Thanksgiving morning the Cape Cod Times was about five times fatter than usual, and I knew why. Just one glance and I was the ads.

I almost never read the ads in the paper. Every now and then I do get the urge to Go Shopping, but most of the time I do not much like inching through stores looking at shirts and clocks and ceramic things that I do not need, cost far too much, and, once I get them home, I realize I do not really like. Most of my shopping these days is in the Gift Houses and Thrift Shops of the Cape, where, if I buy something and later decide I don’t like it, I can just return it without the hassle of hanging on to the receipt. It’s a little like renting an item for a while; and although I won’t get my money back, it’s always in support of some good cause.

This Thanksgiving morning, though, with not much else to do, I kept reading when the regular paper ended and the ads began.

Mattresses were on sale, for 0% APR for 72 months. I could get a pillow embroidered with a snowman saying JOY for only $16.99. I could get a giant wooden reindeer for $64.88. And for $499.99 I could get a 60" smart LED HDTV and have it shipped somewhere for free.

Lots of the stores seemed to offer Doorbusters, which I suppose refers to the phenomenon of shoppers being so eager to shop on Black Friday that they bust down the door. Apparently if I did that at Target, I could grab a plaque-control power toothbrush, a Giant Kerplunk, and an Alberta multicolor pre-lit tree, all for low low prices.

I could get a pillow, the must-have gift for every body; I could buy a leopard-skin jacket for my wine bottle; or -- another Doorbuster -- another mattress, this one for the lowest price ever. I could buy a Hatchimal for $48.88; a little square thing with three prongs that will turn any HDTV into a Smart TV; and at Macy’s, some knee-high boots, a waffle iron, or, if I got there before 1:00, a diamond bracelet for $2599; if I got there at 1:15, it would cost $4020.

At a place called Buster’s I could get a fragrance kit. Hmmm. In our house, the name Buster refers to a very old beagle with three legs.

In the lit biz, this kind of essay is called a list essay. It is what it says it is, a series of things or events or sentences or god-knows-what that the writer sticks together in one chunk of writing in order to make a point, or tell a story, or illustrate an otherwise obscure truth. In my case, I have thrown these bargains into a list in order to ask a question: who on earth gets up at 3 in the morning to go stand in line at the mall in order to buy them?

Really, a Hatchimal for $48.88? What is a Hatchimal anyway? I looked it up on the Interweb. I discovered that a Hatchimal is a plastic egg with a stuffed bird inside, and they are sold out everywhere. Boy, would I be mad if I’d gotten up at 3.

I yawned, stretched, and stood up to fetch another cup of coffee, and perhaps a piece of pumpkin pie.

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