Turnstiles at department stores are incredibly stupid and annoying. But they must serve some purpose, right? So each and every time I have to walk through one — they’re becoming more rare, thank heavens — I’ll stop suddenly on the other side and excitedly look toward the ceiling for what will surely be a shower of colorful balloons and confetti as the winner of the “1 Millionth Customer Award.”
The balloons have never come. Just a shower of eye-rolling from Mary.
What, you’ve never done this? How are you supposed to ever become the Millionth Customer without showing that you’re willing to act like a fool if it ever happens. It’s like the lottery. Nothing angers the Lottery Gods more than someone who would act in a reasonably sane manner if they won. It’s like Mary’s mom, also Mary Mashburn, or the “real” Mary Mashburn if you prefer. She buys her tickets semi-regularly for “the big one,” and always talks about how she’d set aside a portion of her winnings “for the children,” meaning the needy and worthy kids of Colorado Springs, Colo., and elsewhere. She’d even give us some.
Nope. You lose.
Instead, Mary II suggests, as you purchase your ticket, you should let it be known that, with your winnings, you’d quit your job, buy a Winnebago, drive to Disney World and blow the whole enchilada in seven months of drinking, debauchery, and dumb investments in your quack cousin’s miracle exercise machine.
That’s who wins, right?
Anyway, a couple of things brought this to mind. First, we were asked to bid on a business’ promo card. Really cool-looking thing with, like, 10 or 15 tiny squares to be die cut out of it.
Yup, little square confetti. Absolutely everywhere. Heck, it might even be falling from the printshop’s ceiling for a while afterward. Guess who wins the right to clean up the mess for, like, the millionth time. Shop Boy!
Still, I really hope we get the job.
Second, and of course far, far more importantly, we’ve reached another milestone here in Shop Boy’s navel: Post No. 200. Release the balloons!
Hmmph. Shop Boy’s gotta get himself that company Winnebago.
Seriously, I’ve been thinking about this milestone for months. Shop Boy’s kinda proud to have kept up what I hope has been a usually fun if rarely actually useful blog. So it took almost four years, gulp, to get here. Mom would have been appalled at that. See, she was not a voracious reader. She was insane.
And she wanted me to be a writer, figuring she’d raised a kid who should be able to write at least as quickly as she read. Those moms …
True story: Shop Boy once entered a novel-writing contest for a seminar put together by Mary’s mom, who for years was (and ever shall be to many) the face of an awesome Colorado Springs arts endeavor, the Imagination Celebration. The contest deal was to write three chapters, then have sort of an outline for how the story would go from there.
So, townspeople driven zombie, bat-guano mad one morning when the coffeeshop doesn’t open. Owner’s been murdered near the hydroelectric plant. This leads to violence in the streets. What’s wrong with them? Nutty twist; can’t tell you about that. (But a New York Times article six months later kinda backed the science of my loopy supposition. ;-) ) Oh, and there’s a dopey sidekick — surprise! — who ends up stumbling upon the answer. How? Darned if I know. That part’s not written yet.
What did the three judges think? Two liked it (one of them a lot). The third?
“This makes no sense. Who drinks a cappuccino in the morning?”
Um, dude? Go to Starbucks much? But fine, not everybody’s going to be a fan of the linguistic stylings of Shop Boy.
What did Mom think? “But where’s the rest?”
That’s it. Ouch.
This blog is the product of years of writer’s therapy.
Kidding. Still, I always tell Mary, “Please, when you’re bored or whatever with this whole Impressions of a Shop Boy thing, let me know.” Because if she’s bored, the townsfolk of Shop Boy Land are close to taking up torches and pitchforks.
I’d like to think I still might have a surprise or two for you up the sleeve of my black lab coat with the monkey emblem. But who knows?
One of my favorite expressions comes from snarky old TV tongue wagger Keith Olbermann’s SportsCenter years. Forced to read a line reporting that injured player X was listed as “day to day,” K.O. ad-libbed, “We’re all day to day.”
So on we go, eh? It’s funny. In the same four years it’s taken me to get to this point as Shop Boy, Mary’s turned herself into a darned good printer. I hope writing this blog has helped her there somehow, if only to lighten the mood in tough times. If so, I’m doubly proud.
And one day, perhaps I’ll read all 200-whatever posts that end up here myself and think …
“This makes no sense.”
But I hope not.