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Whittling Away: Choices


By Dick Brooks

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a man named Dick Brooks.

Some days I find myself feeling a little overwhelmed and I long for a simpler time, like my childhood days in the 1950s. The only worries then were that the Russians were going to drop an atomic bomb on us at any moment and that Grandma was possibly a Communist spy. 

Other than diving onto my face in the grass every time an airplane flew overhead and listening on our party line for folks who might be speaking Russian, all in all, it was not bad.

I think it’s all the choices we have to make daily that are getting to me. For example, the other day I was going to go to the hardware store for some wood stain I needed for a project I was working on. I checked through my mental standard supply list of market items to have on hand and realized that we needed milk and bread. I then rounded up a couple of things that needed to be mailed. I could do a circle, get all my chores out of the way and only make one trip, thus saving gas.

The hardware store only took a couple of minutes and I was off to the market for the milk and bread. I pulled into the market only to find all the good parking spaces already taken by shopping carts. I would vote to bring back flogging if I knew it would be used as a punishment for those inconsiderate (expletive deleted) who are too lazy to put their carts back where they belong. 

I parked down at the far end of the lot where the folks with the new cars park crooked so they don’t get dings from other people’s car doors. I then spent the next 15 minutes trying to decide what kind of milk and bread to get. 

When I was a child, even one as dim as I was could handle going to the store and getting bread and milk because there was only one of each kind. Milk was white, came in a quart glass bottle; bread was white and came in a waxed paper kind of wrapper. Only one kind of milk and only one kind of bread, both in just one size, easy job! 

No longer! I walk past the nice smiley ladies at the registers, try to find a cart without a floppy wheel and head off for the bread aisle. Our market, which isn’t one of those massive superstore things, must have at least 50 kinds of bread. 

There’s a whole wall of bread — white, whole-grain white, wheat, stone-ground wheat, Canadian wheat, rye, marble rye, Jewish rye, oat, oat nut, potato bread, Italian bread, 12-grain bread, no-grain bread, and on and on and on. They’ve even got bread made out of artisans and I didn’t even know they were edible. 

I found a loaf of good old-fashioned white bread (I haven’t developed a taste for those breads filled with twigs and bark yet, although the Queen keeps trying to convert me) and headed for the milk.

Milk has its own aisle, too. I tried counting the different kinds but I kept losing my place and finally gave up. 

There’s white milk in different sizes from a half pint to a gallon, there were the flavored milks, chocolate, strawberry and tuna ( just kidding, wanted to see if you were paying attention).  There was milk that had no milk in it, milk that came from plants, and milk from animals other than cows. There was fat milk and no-fat milk and all the percents in between. I finally decided upon a nice half gallon of 2% milk because I liked the artwork on the carton.

I had accomplished my mission for the day and headed back to the smiley ladies at the registers feeling quite satisfied with myself. I had the feeling there was someplace left to go to before I returned to the Castle; oh well, never mind, I think I’ll stop at the post office on the way home, maybe it’ll come to me by the time I get there,

Thought for the week — “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach columnist Dick Brooks at whittle12124@yahoo.com.

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