Humor by Jen Lancaster

We're all feeling stressed about current events, yes?

I mean, you're panicking and trying to figure out how much you might get for your fillings, too, right? Personally, I'm kicking myself for investing in the market and not buying a full set of Lil Wayne-style dental bling. With precious metal prices hitting an all-time high, who knew that golden grillz would be our best hedge against a faltering dollar? (Also, it's not just me brushing up on Mandarin and Cantonese for when the Chinese foreclose on our whole country, correct?)

Point? I'm worried, exactly like everyone else.

Or at least that's what I assumed until I went grocery shopping.

In Inferno, Dante depicts an allegorical journey through the nine circles of Hell. Yet if Dante were penning his epic poem today, he'd have included the 10th circle of Hell -- at a certain Pricey Organic Market in the Chicago suburbs.

Nowhere has the motto "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" been more appropriate. Don't get me wrong -- the store itself is spacious, clean and lovely, stocked with the grass-fed, ethically farmed, positive-self-esteem-having products that cause the otherwise sane to take out second mortgages in order to shop here.

The issue is this store is catnip for the clueless. From a parking lot dotted with full-size Range Rovers littered with environmental stickers to the pacifists who will cut you for grabbing the last jar of almond butter, it's like entering an arena where irony ceases to exist.

On today's excursion, there's a woman shopping in a full set of pajamas. I'm talking flannel with a drawstring waist, covered in graphic depictions of Snoopy playing the tambourine. Upon examining the contents of her cart, she's not purchasing illness-related items such as soup or throat lozenges, so clearly the Peanuts PJs are intentional and not the product of a high fever. Did I mention she's 40 years old and it's 3 p.m.?

I weave around carts of soccer moms who prattle into their Bluetooths about babysitters, back to school and Burgundy while hippies debate the merits of hemp milk. No one mentions anything like "debt downgrade" or "world reserve currency" or "learning to communicate with our future Chinese overlords." It's almost like the real world doesn't exist in here.

For a moment, it's comforting.

And that's when I bump into Margo and her mother and remember exactly why I hate this store so much.

I'm at the deli counter to get the one item that always brings me back: the kale-and-cranberry salad. Until I learn to perfect this recipe on my own, I'm stuck here in the 10th level.

While I wait to be served, a well-heeled mother and her even better-heeled child cut directly in front of me. The kid's clad in a pair of D&G jeans, which cost approximately what I pay for my student loans each month. At the child's prompting, the mother peppers the clerk with a barrage of questions.

"Margo wants to know what kind of sushi you have today."

"Margo only wants this if the rice is extra fresh. Last time it was too sticky. Margo needs a taste first."

"Margo enjoyed the escolar you carried last week. Margo wants to know if there's any more."

"Margo wants wasabi, but she doesn't like the wasabi you have on display now. Margo wants to know if there's other wasabi that's like wasabi, only less wasabi-like."

At this point, I'm tempted to yell, "MARGO IS SIX! MARGO KNOWS NOTHING! MARGO EATS PASTE!"

But I don't.

I simply wait my turn, order my salad, and pay at the checkout. I drive home, listening to talk radio, and obsessing about the future. A commentator talks about how we're imprisoning our children behind a fence of debt.

And I realize I'm a terrible person for saying this, but knowing Margo's going to be one of the kids imprisoned behind that fence?

Makes me feel a tiny bit better.

Humor & Satire

Humor & Funny Stories - What, Me Worry? | Humor - Jen Lancaster

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