Secret Pop

Jun 20, 2002

Even-Numbered Star Treks. Odd-Numbered Beethovens.

It's a happy moment when one returns home in time to find the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch playing on the television. I used to have a great great great big poster of John Cleese in all his lanky, crooked-legged glory hanging above my bed. It was an enormous poster that I bought from a tabletop vendor at the local college when I was killing time before a class. Some nonsense class, to be sure. I recall allowing my father to talk me into throwing it away when I was moving. Remind me never to take advice from my father.

Those between-class minutes spawned a great many good purchase decisions. Crime and Punishment. A few of the old Matt Groening ...Is Hell books. Love Is Hell. Work Is Hell. Life Is Hell. I was an odd one back then. I treated a college bookstore in much the same manner I would today treat a Borders. I would go browsing and buy textbooks for classes I was never going to take. Just because they looked interesting. I was also a bit of a sucker when it came to buying the new books instead of the used. I'm a girl who sometimes believes it's better to pay more. (Note: It isn't.)

I also bought stacks of greeting cards I never got around to sending. They populate a number of shoeboxes I occasionally run across or accidentally dump out. I bought them with the best of intentions. But -- much like the wieners-to-buns ratio dilemma -- I never thought to buy a congruent number of stamps.

Interestingly enough, I shop at the post office in much the same fashion I once shopped at college bookstores. I feel tempted to browse for extra things I should buy in case I ever need them. This is how I ended up with a special collector's edition matted display of Alfred Hitchcock commemorative stamps. Don't impulse-shop at the post office. You're much better off limiting your unplanned purchases to chewing gum and the king size versions of popular candy bars. Of course, those same grocery store displays have nearly prompted me to buy boxes of cigars. Because they were there. And they had inviting names. And I didn't have any at home. And you never know when you might need one. Sure, there's no longer cause to fear that Burgess Meredith is going to unexpectedly show up for dinner and require a fresh stogie, but I'm sure there are other people who smoke those things.

I hope I never find myself checking out of a store with an impulse display featuring macaque monkeys and catalytic converters. I've got no place to keep such things.

Can do. But won't.

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