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I Feel Sad, And I Think You Should Feel Sad Too

September 4, 2013

Today was the first day of school for kids in Seattle. I know this because the teachers threaten to go on strike every year, so for a week before the start date, there are breathless news stories about why your kids can’t read and won’t be learning how anytime soon. I guess the teachers decided not to strike because this morning at 8:00 AM, Cameltoe and Humpy’s son was standing on the sidewalk outside their house wearing a 40 pound backpack on his tiny little 7-year-old body. Unfortunately, Cameltoe and Humpy were also there, screaming at each other. Evidently, Humpy thinks Cameltoe is “TOO EMOTIONAL” and “DOESN’T LISTEN,” and Cameltoe thinks “WHATEVER!” Humpy feels they need to “TALK ABOUT THIS” whereas Cameltoe feels that Humpy should “SHUT UP AND GO BACK IN THE HOUSE.” Meanwhile, the poor kid is standing there staring at his shoes, which wasn’t easy considering that his backpack was holding him more or less in a fixed upright position. He looked so defeated and sad that I wanted to go out there and give him a hug and a Pop-Tart, but I don’t have any Pop-Tarts and also I am afraid of Cameltoe and Humpy. After a while, a car pulls up and Cameltoe and her poor kid get in the car, Humpy opens the car door and continues to yell at Cameltoe, Cameltoe continues to yell at Humpy, the driver (Cameltoe’s mother, I think) starts yelling, and then my furnace guy arrives for the yearly tune-up, which is why I was looking out the window in the first place, so I don’t know what happened after that.

Renters, man.


Breeze, the abandoned orphaned foal, and his best friend Buttons, the stuffed bear.


I don’t know if you have Grocery Outlet stores where you are, but we have them here, and I’ve never been inside one, but I suspect it’s a good place to go if you’re not feeling sad enough. It’s probably one of those stores that sells slightly off-brand merchandise, like “Frenchie’s Mustard” or “Gif Peanut Butter” (and if you don’t pronounce it with a soft G, the manufacturer gets all pissy about how you’re saying it wrong). They even have their own off-brand muppets. I got a flyer from them and they’re currently selling a two-pound jar of grape jelly for 99¢. If this doesn’t make you want to cry, you have no feelings.



One time I went to Winchell’s Donuts and they only had one donut left. It was a maple bar.

  1. September 4, 2013 8:39 PM

    I can’t decide which is worse; airing the family’s dirty laundry out on the sidewalk like that, or doing what my dad did and pretend everything was peachy for the neighbors, then raging like an ass in the house.

    Also, Frugal Friends!

    If you’ve seen the commercials, you know that these are the saddest fake muppets ever. I keep expecting one of their heads to fall off while they’re singing about bargains.

    I would say arguing in public is slightly worse, just because then the kid is not only distressed by the fighting but also ashamed of the spectacle. I don’t care if people fight in public because it’s a free show for those of who don’t get Bravo and can’t watch Real Housewives, but I felt so bad for their kid; he looked completely humiliated. However, I know what you mean about the false happy face; it adds a little extra insult to injury when others think “what a great guy!” about someone who’s a jackass when no one is looking.

  2. September 5, 2013 1:17 AM

    ^what Steve said–my parents certainly had issues but always put a good face on for the world. As an adolescent, I was outraged by the phoniness a la Catcher in the Rye (despite not liking the book very much) but in retrospect, I realize there is a great deal of value in social graces.

    Often discount stores aren’t really cheaper than regular stores–like the 99 cent store that sells bottles of shampoo you can get at Wegmans for 79 cents. There was a woman I knew who was devoted to those types of places, but mainly because she seemed to have such trouble budgeting and she always ended up buying more than she needed.

    An abandoned foal? The picture is cute, but the idea makes me sad :(

    I’ve always felt there’s not enough phoniness in the world. People need to stop saying what they’re thinking all the time. Especially those, “I tell it like it is” people; that’s just another way of saying, “Hey, I’m a rude jerk but if you talk to me like I talk to you, then I will act like a misunderstood victim.”

    I went into a dollar store once just to see what it was about, and I remember it being mostly stuff that you might see on a SNL parody commercial. Toys that were just big bags of small plastic pieces and the like. Also, nothing was one dollar.

    Here’s the story about Breeze the foal, in case you don’t feel sad enough already.

  3. Lynne permalink
    September 5, 2013 3:34 AM

    Now I’m too sad to eat my ice cream.

    What? But I just got back from Grocery Outlet with all this Ben & Larry’s!

  4. September 5, 2013 9:39 AM

    I can’t even go on after reading this.

    Just to make sure, I am going to say something even sadder now: I own Brian’s Song on DVD.

  5. Stefanie permalink
    September 5, 2013 11:53 AM

    The main thing I took away from this is you get a yearly furnace tuneup? That is probably the responsible homeowner thing to do, but I prefer to think everything inside my very old furnace is in a very delicate balance, and any attempts to tweak any part of it would surely result in the whole thing giving up the ghost.

    Or I’m just lazy and cheap. Mostly cheap. Maybe I should check out these discount grocery retailers.

    As much as I hate having workmen in the house, I’ve grown to enjoy how HARD they try to sell me a new furnace every year. This year, the guy tried to convince me that the furnace was installed the same year the house was built, which was 1913. When I gently pointed out that the original permit showing the year to be 1959 was still tacked to the wall behind his head, he replied, “oh. Well, I was born in 1957.” Not really relevant but thanks for the info, I guess.

    If it makes you feel better, I haven’t cleaned my rain gutters in years.

  6. September 5, 2013 1:20 PM

    Years ago I moved 3,000 miles across the country to go to law school in a state I’d never even come close to before. For my first week in town I couldn’t find any grocery store other than a Grocery Outlet and it proved so depressing that I thought I had made a serious mistake in moving. Law school was probably a serious mistake (20 years later still an attorney so too damned bad) but I’ve managed to find several lovely grocery stores.

    See, I knew Grocery Outlet would be depressing — like Wal-Mart, but almost entirely food-related. There’s one here close to what used to be known as Skid Row (and where the state liquor store used to be before we realized that selling liquor probably shouldn’t be a governmental function) and I really feel like I should go now. I have no idea why, though.

  7. September 5, 2013 1:40 PM

    I don’t get the furnace tune-up because my house is so old for a few years something invariably would go wrong, so I considered that the tune-up. It’s been okay for several seasons but I feel I have paid my dues. My hot water heaters were in their mid-20s and never ‘went’– I decided to replace them before they started leaking, so old appliances do last!

    I replaced my water heater about ten years ago, and when they pulled it out, there was a date on it indicating it was almost 30 years old. I’m guessing the new one won’t last nearly that long. It probably knows I’m talking about it right now and in response is about to start leaking all over the place.

  8. September 5, 2013 5:31 PM

    My furnace people called today to schedule the annual maintenance, but I am still using the AC, so I am going to wait. I’m guessing they shrunk the staff again and need to service furnaces before it gets cold and people turn up the thermostat and THEN discover no heat.

    I am not watching that video or clicking on the abandoned foal story – it is bad enough that Keith Urban is the the pre-game entertainment for the first football game of the season.

    The company I use has varied pricing depending on when you get it done. If you do it in May it’s $100 cheaper than doing it in September; the problem is that I don’t stop using the furnace until about mid-June here. Seattle is the worst. So a few years a go, I bought a service contract, and now I pay the summer price but can do it whenever I want.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Keith Urban perform. Aside from his hair, does he bring the sads?

  9. September 5, 2013 5:40 PM

    But I am already sad: my wine glass is empty.

    This calls for a trip to Grocery Outlet! Hope you like Ripple!

  10. Marius permalink
    September 5, 2013 6:11 PM

    I want to thank you for reminding me why we stay in Florida. It may be hotter than the devil’s jock strap right now, but at least we don’t have to have a fire-filled death machine in our basements. Although I’m sure yours is the very nicest fire-filled death machine there is. ;-)

    Yes, but we don’t have freon-filled asphyxiation machi … oh, who am I kidding, I would love to have an AC right now. It’s been so humid here the past week you can see steam rising from people’s chests. And today and tomorrow we’ve got thunderstorms and an urban flood warning. So … hot AND rainy. Seattle is the worst.

  11. September 5, 2013 6:37 PM

    Aww…I read the story about the pony. I didn’t think it was sad at all–he survived! The wild ponies of the British Islands are very hardy sorts.

    It’s a pretty good ending for a sad story, I have to admit. But the part where he was wandering around looking for his mother and trying to feed from the other mares still makes me want to cry.

  12. September 5, 2013 8:33 PM

    There’s a yelly guy on the next street. I have a strong suspicion he’s the same guy who yelled at me when I informed him his dog was outside licking up raindrops because its water dish was completely dry. His dog never, ever goes in the house and is outside in the yard rain or shine. I hate that guy.

    Great. Now I’m sad AND mad.

    People who never let their pets in — especially when they chain them up — are probably the people I hate most in the world. Compounding matters here is that Seattle Animal Control does everything in their power not to respond to reports of animal neglect or abuse. They won’t let you even report a case until you give them extremely detailed information about yourself, they treat you as if you’re imagining or lying about what you’ve observed, and even after you’ve run the gauntlet of one thousand questions, there’s only a 50/50 chance that they’ll come out and investigate. I’ve found that the only way to guarantee that they’ll check it out is to report an unlicensed dog, which Animal Control lets you do anonymously and with no questions, and they’ll come out immediately to collect their $22 or whatever it is from the owners. Once a couple of officers are there and see a sad, sickly chained up dog, there’s at least a chance that they’ll take the dog away, although not a great one.

    And now I’m mad and sad.

  13. September 12, 2013 11:05 PM

    I didn’t watch the video but everything else made me sad. My parents didn’t fight because my father would rather go to the doctor than deal with confrontation, but I have been present for other people’s fights and done that stare at my shoes thing. I’m never sure if that’s the accepted thing to do or not, but I never had the guts to say something like “Hey, I’m still here. You want me to leave?”

    We have two grocery outlets here, the closest is in a rather sad neighborhood where people tend to get shot at night. My mom goes there sometimes (during daylight) for milk or bread or some other basic items. I have been to the one in the less shoot-y area a couple of times. The store itself is clean and well organized, and they stock such disparate items as 50 pounds bags of potatoes, toys with names the likes of which hinted at (Marcie instead of Barbie, Leggos instead of Legos) to high-end ice cream or gluten-free breakfast bars that were in experimental flavors nobody was interested in. Naturally, I bought both of those.

    There was a Winchell’s between my junior high school and home and I occasionally made a stop (not often, I had no money at that age and was too paranoid to steal any). I got a lemon-filled doughnut or an old-fashioned; I prefer the latter for it’s texture but I really like lemon. I would have stormed out if all they had was maple.

    What is your opinion of doughnut holes and the people who buy them?

    Donut holes are acceptable if no actual donuts are available, although they wouldn’t be my first choice as they’re just dense blobs made from leftover dough. (My first choice would be a chocolate cruller or a raspberry bismarck.) One time I was hosting a brunch at my house and one of the guests brought along a box of donut holes from Safeway that were past their pull date. I don’t think she bought them for the brunch; I think she just had them in her house from some unspecified earlier time. So when I think of people who buy donut holes, I think of her.

    I think the main reason I want to go to Grocery Outlet is that I have the entirely unfounded idea that they carry things that haven’t been manufactured since 1975, like Shasta cola and Space Stix and Appian Way Pizza (a box containing a bag of flour, a can of sauce, and some dehydrated cheese). It’s not that I want to eat any of these things; I just want to see them.

    If I’m present when people are fighting, I feel bad only if they’re people I care about. (Or, I guess, if their poor kid is right there ready to burst into tears.) When that happens, I usually just stand there looking mournful. But if it’s just my colleagues, then I’m either annoyed or entertained depending on what the subject of the fight is. In that event, if there’s a lull in the arguing I’ll say, “these pretzels are making me thirsty,” which is hilarious to me but no one else. In response, I usually get an overlong stare indicating that I am an insensitive moron, which may be true but at least I have the manners not to argue in front of other people.

  14. September 13, 2013 9:46 PM

    Once again, you please me immensely. My mom used to make Appian Way pizza mix. She doctored it up with real cheese because we were sophisticates, but yes, we had that in the house. They do carry things you don’t see anywhere else, but I think it’s mostly things that are sold regionally and somehow ended up on this coast by mistake– like Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup or Hellman’s mayonnaise. I once saw Bostco and had to buy some because it reminded me of an episode of Laverne and Shirley. I gave it to my brother as a stocking stuffer.

    I had an Archer Farms goat cheese pizza from Target, and I would swear it was an Appian Way pizza. It wasn’t terrible, but after eating it, I felt like I should put on my pajamas and watch Jackie Gleason.

    Until I just now looked it up, I didn’t know Bosco was chocolate syrup. I always thought it was like Ovaltine powder, which I keep forgetting to buy and, for all I know, isn’t made anymore. I also want Postum, which I’ve never had, and will probably regret having.

  15. September 13, 2013 9:46 PM

    I spelled Bosco wrong.

    It’s okay; there’s probably a Grocery Outlet somewhere selling Bostco. It amplifies your milk, just not as much.

  16. Bex permalink
    September 21, 2013 8:42 AM

    Hopefully by the time my kid is old enough to go to school kids will only need a tablet or something. I’ve seen those kids with their heavy-ass backpacks..and I don’t want to give my kid one of those bags with the wheels..just asking to be beat up at school! Poor kids.

    Yes, the backpack with wheels makes a kid more of a target than using both shoulder straps and the waist strap. Though I suppose getting beat up would be preferable to incessant bullying on social media. If I were a kid, I think I’d rather the other kids just smack me in the head and be done with it.

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