Sometime last week I decided it was time to infiltrate my brittle brain with some new fodder. My thinking centered around the idea that reading or listening to something new may provide a flicker of inspiration to my seemingly apathetic mind. So I did what comes naturally to every consummate American consumer and made my way, somewhat defiantly, to a store I affectionately call “the center for self-centered morality and bigotry,” you may know it better as the red bull’s-eye, Circles McGee, that place where they have a shit ton of Burt’s Bees, but in many cultures its simply known as Target . Now I know what you’re thinking, come on man you’re better than that! But in my defense, at least it’s not Wal-Mart? And let’s not fool ourselves here. I am nowhere near better than that.
While I’d like to get more into all the ethical atrocities generated by “that place where they have a shit ton of Burt’s Bees” (nowhere near the amount perpetuated by the Walton Gang,) I am going to save that for another day.
Anyways, when I was through stalking my prey I took gentle inventory of my kill as it slid sadly down its escalator of doom.
One Indie Rock and Roll Album- The National “Trouble Will Find Me”
One Book Bought Because I liked the Cover and It Was 20 Percent off- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
My items slowly made their way to a somewhat energetic twenty something female Target worker, (From now on when you read the word Target insert Kristen Wiig’s voice from SNL. It will make the rest of this bearable.) Who, for some reason, was chirping at my wife and I like a diabetic bird on a Hershey’s bender. I estimated that the young lady was stricken with a form of Tourette’s, either that or she was so impressed by the hipster cool of my media choices that she was indeed becoming a Rockin’ Robin. Regardless, I didn’t want to make the poor thing feel awkward so I looked at my wife and did the only logical thing I could think of, reached deep into my bag of tricks and pulled out my Toucan Sam. For those of you who now think I exposed myself at a (insert Kristen Wiig Voice) Target, Toucan Sam is, in all actuality a cartoon bird who pushes sugar on children as the spokesmen for Fruit Loops! That, and you’re a sick human being.
Suffice to say, I chirped back. Why? Well, why not? It just seemed like the right thing to do.
Long story short, we chirped back and forth a few more times, I paid twenty five dollars for two things that cost roughly six dollars to produce, you’re welcome Harper Collins and Brassland Records, and I exited (insert Kristien Wiig voice) Target with my wife thinking this won’t be quite as cute in five years.
Now we get to the point of my bizarre rant! Although I am unable to attest for the entirety of Gretchen Rubin’s book, at least one word she used early in her writing sent me into a tailspin of thought. Stuck in between all of her scholarly musings regarding the philosophy and analytics of happiness lay the word “invaluable.” There it was, screaming at me, littering my head with its empty promise, attacking my senses with a litany of shenanigans. I shut the book, its cover still gleaning with the slime of bigotry, and tried to let my thoughts rest. But, I just couldn’t shake it! Invaluable, a word of no substance!
I was furious with myself. With Gretchen Rubin for making it all so clear to me. With Harper Collins for not publishing the book I sent them! Why had I not noticed this before?
I jumped into my bed with a certain energetic aura laying my head next to my wife’s pillow.
“Oh no, what is it?” she half smiled knowing she was in for a treat.
“Invaluable.” I smirked
“What about it?” She shouted wishing I’d let her sleep.
“It’s a lie, a farce, a word by its very nature that is filled to its brim with metaphoric bullshit.” I said chuckling like Doc Brown from Back to the Future.
“How do you figure?” She asked placating me coolly
“Think about it, who has the right to determine something’s value? You don’t, I don’t, Gretchen Rubin sure as hell doesn’t.”
“Who is Gretchen Rubin?”
“Doesn’t matter. What I am trying to say is this. A single person cannot determine something’s value. For instance, think of something you think is invaluable?”
“Our children?” She answered looking at me unamused.
“No, absolutely not! That’s the answer everyone gives and it’s wrong. I am not saying I’d ever sell our kids, but someone in Mexico would gladly pay money for them. There is a whole enterprise based around it! Nothing is invaluable; the word is full of shit!”
My wife stared at me for a long while trying to reconcile the idea that things like this would no longer be cute in five years then left me with these words before rolling over and falling asleep.
“Honey, do you remember when you were talking about the football player from Washington who could literally jump out of the gym?”
“Yes, he could literally jump out of the gym!” I answered excitedly.
“Well sweetheart now there are two words you fail to understand the meaning of. I love you honey goodnight.”