Against my better judgment I visited my local Target store today. I was on a mission to find a staple of mankind's existence ... a clear, extra-long shower curtain liner. You know, when an asteroid slams into our planet and the cloud of dust from the impact covers the land, only a clear, 71" heavy-gauge liner will shield you from certain death.
Ok, that's an exaggeration, but if you approach every household purchase with that mentality you will certainly sleep more soundly and sound sleeping brings a greater chance of sex dreams. I think I might have hit upon a marketing campaign for shower curtain liners. ... In any case ..,.
So, I was in Target. I was strolling down a main aisle with liner in hand and headed towards the adult beverage aisle when suddenly before me appeared a man and a young boy holding hands. This story would take an altogether different direction had the man been wearing a white collar and rosary ... but no, he was wearing jeans and a goofy ball cap. The little boy was about three feet tall, just below my eye level, and was happy. As the boy pulled vigorously towards the candy aisle the capped man remained stoic and followed but calmly displayed an enthusiasm of restraint equal to the enthusiasm that the boy exhibited towards the candy.
I was then that I thought to myself, 'Jeff, you're forgetting something .... no, someone.'....
I've been a bit harsh towards children and over-parenting parents lately. What the image of the patient, ball-capped dad at Target did for me was remind me that I'm a child too. Yeah, I'm a product of another generation but I'm a spoiled, short, gray-headed product of two wonderful people who have every reason in the world to wash their hands of me ... much as I have done with my own children.
I'm red-faced due to the smacks in the face that reality has dealt lately. But, I owe this to my parents. They haven't given up on me. Quite the opposite ... and when I consider the tribulations that my mom and dad live with on a daily basis I feel ashamed of the concern I give to my trivial worries. **** Note... the forthcoming statement is meant to be taken in all seriousness ... don't get used to it... ***
If I can ever muster the strength to be as accepting and forgiving of others as my parents have been towards me with my shortcomings ... well, I don't think that's possible. But, here's the skinny ... at least I know it's possible. The little kid in the candy aisle doesn't see it yet. The ball-capped dad doesn't see it yet .. It might take forty-six years or more... or less... for the kid to grasp acceptance by the one that he never thought he could impress.
Like me, he will one day get it. Maybe it'll be between the Snickers and Twix in a big-box store. Maybe it will be after the ball-capped man is passed and someone mentions to him that his old man was a good man, even though he wasn't such a warm fuzzy guy ...
Anyway .. I'm thinking of hanging out at Target a little more often. It's fun to watch the chubby Mexican women buting extra-small clothes that accentuate their midriffs ... and Target gives me a great view of the cross-section of humanity that I call home.
I love you mom and dad. Thanks for putting up with my shit.