A look at the least important things in life

Wal-Mart Adventures

Welcome back to the latest installment of ‘Terrible Children and the Horrible Parents that Make Them That Way’!

So I was doing my weekly Wal-Mart duties one day last week – Wal-Mart, incidentally, derives from an old Latin term meaning ‘trailer park reunion’ – and I spied with my little eyes a family.

That’s probably not accurate. Family is something I’m sure I would recognize if I saw it, maybe by the presence of a loving touch, a soothing voice or even a pleasant word exchanged.

This was more like a white trash jihad.

The matriarch of this happy little litter was a heavy-set (to be kind about it) white lady. Fire emanated from her eyes from the moment I spotted her and her tribe wandering through the cleaning supplies. Nothing about her said, “Pleasant motherly influence.”

(Always start at the cleaning supplies, by the way. It’s a total rookie mistake to go anywhere else in Wal-Mart first. You won’t emerge until three days later. Wait, where was I?)

There were no fewer than 11 kids in this brood of fail. A mix of races was involved; I don’t say that to be mean or crude, it’s just fact. Obviously this lady was not particular in her partners or in their use of contraceptives either.

How do I know they were all her kids, then? I don’t necessarily; but I would hope that any decent human being would not behave this way to children that weren’t their own. In the 40 minutes I trailed this domestic disaster, four of these kids got swatted – I don’t mean a ‘hey, you’re in public so don’t behave like a heathen’ love tap, I mean what bordered on a punch.

The other kids weren’t left out of the fun; they were just smart enough to stay out of arm’s reach. Every child trailing this woman got screamed at during one point or another, and responded in the most natural way a child will respond: by screaming and crying. Which only served to make Jabba the Mama more angry.

If Manny Pacquiao had this woman’s anger issues, he would’ve won his fight Saturday night by second-round knockout.

I’m not about to lie and tell you I was a perfect child, or that my mother was a perfect mother. Sometimes I would behave like an ass in public and sometimes she would whip the crap out of me in private. I deserved no better.

But she didn’t try to punch me like a man in public, and I didn’t do my level best to embarrass her at every possible turn. Maybe we weren’t the Walton’s but we weren’t the Manson’s either.

I’m sure the question on your mind now is, “Colby, why didn’t you be a man and step up and do something?”

First off, I’m not that much of a man. This woman would’ve torn my arms off and rendered me unconscious with the beating I would suffer. I just wanted some Doritos, not an ER visit.

Second, what do you do if you had been me? Trying to diffuse the situation yourself is out of the question; there was nothing I could’ve done that wouldn’t have ended with the phrase, “So, the cops finally pulled her off of me and got her to put down the tire iron.”

I suppose I could’ve just called the cops, or child services, myself but then what? Report that a random lady is beating her random kids in a random Wal-Mart? I suspect the police get those calls fairly often. By the time anyone got there, the show would’ve been over.

And what if I had done something? What if I had said, “Hey, control yourself and your kids. Wal-Mart is a public place, so all of you behave like it.” I remember when my mom would finally hit that frustrated red-alert level with me in public and I knew there was going to be a showdown when we got home. And my mom was a nice, sweet-tempered lady who happened to have an asshole (me) for a kid. This woman might have beaten those kids to death for daring to ask for Lucky Charms. I didn’t want that on my conscience.

So I did what any cowardly male that didn’t want to cause a disturbance in a Wal-Mart would do: I dawdled at the back of the store until they left. I knew they were gone when I no longer heard any screaming. I hope those kids are okay.

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