Rat In A Maze

[Guest posted by Kurt Snearly]

My son, Jacob and I just finished getting our haircuts and I needed to pick up up a few things in town. If you have ever seen Knox, Indiana, which you probably haven’t, you may or may not know that this can be an exercise in futility. Finding routine things is like trying to find fly poop in black pepper. Oh, sorry, this is a food blog. How rude of me.

We started looking for my elusive items at Alco, a local discount store. When you walk in the front door, they  have the most routinely, impulsively purchased items staring you down. Candy and snacks fill an entire twenty-five feet of counter space. You have to come in to the store and hit the snack counter before you can go left and enter the body of the store completely. Pretty much like a rat in a maze, except the mad scientists at Alco headquarters give you the cheese first.

With my son hustling behind me, complaining of my large strides, he performs a power passing move and arrives at the counter. “OH, look, wafer cookies,” he says. I look down and automatically begin to dream about strawberry wafers stuck in a big pile of vanilla ice cream. To quote Homer (Simpson, not the Greek guy), “mmmmm donuuuts.” Pavlovian drool and all.

“No,” I say, “We don’t need that.”


As we strike out miserably with finding my items, we begin to head to the exit. “I need a White Mountain Dew,” Jacob tries again. “No, you haven’t eaten yet and we have stuff at home,” another of my lame attempts to dissuade.

The next store was the Family Dollar…same question and answer session by Jacob and I. Only this time it was about the Mountain Dew again. Same result about the items I was in need of, in case you were wondering.

Next, on to Walgreens where I did find this pillow thing for my wife, which I had been looking for since Christmas. Now, that was not what I was looking for originally on this stupid safari, but it still made me smile to find it. I did not, however, find the original items I truly needed. When I got in line with the prized, pillow thing, there was of course candy racks at the counter. Jake’s lenses focused with laser like proficiency on the large Butterfinger bars. Although, there was an initial urge to buy said candy bar, I did not. Frowns abounded from Jacob and still the question about the damned Mountain Dew.

Five Star, a God forsaken grocery store in Knox, was next on the radar. No items for me.

“Ice cream?”

“Mountain Dew?”

“No and no.”

But, on the way out, something quite interesting happened. I was making mention that Jacob is well aware that we are trying to eat non-processed foods and his response was, ” I HAVE to have something processed. Like now,” he said with a giggle. It was like he was going to short circuit. I started laughing and said, “Jacob, seriously?!” He was acting like a little crack addict. “Gotta have my fix, man!”

Every store in Knox had two things in common. None of them had the two items I was looking for and they had no problem providing as much shit food as possible. In your face, unabashed, overwhelming and fully stocked shit food.

To highlight my own hypocrisy, before you do, I purchased my totally processed Coffee-mate. Oh, the pain of not being able to let go, or find an alternative which I yet enjoy as much as that liquid vanilla plastic. Hey, science has provided us with many great things like light bulbs, the phone and Coffee-mate. Don’t bullshit me, you have it in your fridge too.

Finally, we reached our fifth store, the Dollar General, and I found my items! Elated and exhausted from getting to cruise around Knox five times, I arrived at the counter. There it was, next to the checkout, a refrigerator with a glass door through which a beautiful display of White Mountain Dew stared us down. Jacob opened the door to the cooler and grabbed one. He looked at me one more time and did not even bother with the obligatory question.

“Yeah, put it on the counter,” I said.

Rolling my eyes…exhale…fuckit.

Kurt Snearly – husband, father and son. Does not blog enough on his own page: Daddy Plays Hardball


One Response to Rat In A Maze
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