Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Many Happy Returns...

Speaking of which, Wal-Mart has finally cracked down on their return policy. I mean, my local Wal-Mart used to take anything. ANYthing. And that was a good thing, for people like me, who forget to save receipts, or do stupid things with broken parts of items.

Yes, I am speaking of the time that I successfully returned a defective mop to Wal-Mart - with no receipt - and, wait for it - with the defective part actually missing.

Well, it was defective! I'd thrown it away!

Then, days later, I thought "Blast! This was not the mop for us. The head broke days ago. It was poorly designed, so a replacement head won't exactly solve the problem. I wish I could return it. I wish I could return it. I wish I could..."

All I'm saying is, a trip to Wal-Mart later, and I was sporting a shiny Wal-Mart gift card with about fourteen bucks on it in return for the mop handle I'd shown them in outrage (once again, missing the actually defective part, the head...)

But now they're all like "we want a receipt" and "when did you buy this?" and whatnot.

Not exactly soup Nazis. But kind of.

Speaking of Nazis....

Today's is my Dad's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad! I promise I'll call later.

Anyway, Dad's not a Nazi. But he instilled a deep fear of Nazis in me.

Let me explain.

One time I was home visiting from college, and my family kept making fun of me because all of a sudden I used the word "genre" a lot without realizing it, and I still thought the cafeteria food was bad.

Let me tell you something, College Freshmen of the World: the cafeteria buys the food, makes the food, and washes the dirty dishes. You have nothing - nothing - to complain about. Just wait until you've graduated and you're single and living alone and you realize all you have in the pantry is a box of rice and a can of sweet potatoes unless you go to the store after an exhausting day of work.

So anyway, I was home visiting, and Dad and I had gone somewhere in the evening and returned back to the house after dark. About five blocks away, headlights were approaching down the street.

I laughed a nervous laugh and quickened my pace to the front door.

"It's funny, but whenever I'm walking from the car to the front door and it's after dark and I see a car coming down the street, I have a strange compulsion to get inside the house as fast as I can."

I could confide neuroses to Dad. He's well acquainted with neuroses. Just ask him about spiders.

He chuckled and said, "oh, that's because the Nazis are coming. Don't you remember that?"

I stared.


"Yeah, I used to play it with you all the time when you were little. I'd say, 'hurry up, Elizabeth, we have to get in the house, the Nazis are coming.' You don't remember?"

By this time, I was standing stock-still, dumbfounded. For years, I hadn't understood the strange discomfort at seeing approaching headlights after twilight, the irrational urge to get across the porch and into the house, door shut safely behind me. I just thought I was high strung.

Apparently it was because the Nazis were coming. I had no concrete memory of playing "escape the Nazis." I remember the time I fell off my bike; the time I accidentally found my birthday present early, a fantastic My Little Pony stable complete with window boxes; the time Mom was in the hospital and Dad had to figure out how to work my hair bands for my pigtails (the elastic hair bands with the plastic balls on the end that you have to overlap); the times I would conquer the mixed terror and exhilaration of climbing the park's tallest curly slide; and the time I bought a Barbie dress at a craft booth at the Pork Festival, with the mingled smell of cigarette smoke and grilled pork tenderloins in the air.

I just didn't remember being chased by the Nazis.

I still don't like being out on a street after dark with approaching headlights on the horizon. But at least now I know why. And really, that's half the battle when it comes to neighborhood Nazis.

Well, Happy Birthday, Dad. I hope your special day is Nazi-free. And if you don't like any of your presents, make sure they have a receipt.


vanilla said...

Oh, yes, happy birthday to the old guy who kept you safe from the Nazis.

fyi (in case your memory needs jogging) the Pork Festival starts two weeks from this coming Thursday.

Bob said...

It was a game to get you across the street a bit faster due to the fact you had this habit of dawdling! "Oooh, look at the...(fill in the blank)" "Oh, what is that?"... "I wonder what's under this?"... you know...THAT kind of stuff. You know I'm right, you STILL do that!

Carrie said...

I'll have to say, it's amazing to discover that the quirks we have as adults have stemmed from something imprinted on us during childhood.

Something was just brought up a few weeks ago and, while I don't remember my participation, these events contributed to a couple of irrational fears I have (that doesn't include spiders).

This new enlightenment also convinced me that I'd benefit from therapy. Heh. Shall we all go together? ;)

Bob said...

Therapy Shmerapy!..Don't you know all therapists are Nazis?! ...that own spiders?