A democracy is only as strong as its people are smart.
And that’s why grocery shopping depresses me.
You see, Staci hands me a big list every Sunday and I go and get the things on the list. I view it as a scavenger hunt, so that part’s not depressing.
The depressing part is the checkout stand.
I don’t know much about retail, but I know that the area immediately adjacent to the register is the most valuable real estate in the store, because that is where people make their impulse buys. So stores need to fill it with stuff that is sure to sell.
So each week I stare at that space.
And that’s where I get sad.
Because what people are buying is telling them the following:
Jessica Simpson is on the verge of a nervous breakdown because something ate her poodle.
George W. Bush is suicidal.
Whitney is exploding at Oprah.
And a photographer hid in the bushes to catch a dying Patrick Swayze as he left the hospital for the last time.
And those were just the periodicals.
On the right of me was all the food that has caused our current health care crisis.
So the things that sell best are the things that make us fat and the things that make us stupid.
The day I’ll be optimistic will be the day that there are impulse apples on the left of me, and F. Scott Fitzgerald books on the right of me.
Until then, we’ll get the government we deserve.