Say what you will about modern capitalism,* but the advent of department stores like Wal-mart and Target has brought with it new and exciting possibilities for a select group of Man-children I like to call "me" and "my friends" to make other people feel incredibly awkward. The possibilities to which I refer involve exploiting a circumstance unique to the last 20 or so years (I realize that department stores have been around longer, but were never as ubiquitous as they have recently been), in which one can do all of his shopping at precisely one store, in one location. Desperately need both a new tire and a fresh rutabaga in the next 30 minutes? No problem. Hankering for an ornamental ficus and in need of a refill on your Sciatica medication? Done. Can't stand the thought of not having five gallons of Ricotta Cheese, a Cowboy Hat, and a Han Solo action figure? Please, give us a real challenge. Anyway, the realization of this unprecedented confluence of supply, demand, and batshit insane over-indulgence provoked in us a challenge: How weird does the combination of stuff we buy have to get before anyone actually registers any sort of reaction? Below are a few of our thoughts, the images we hope to create in the minds of unsuspecting cashiers, and our planned excuses in case we are actually called out on our purchases. If only we had a little more disposable income, we might be able to try out more of these ourselves, but hey, maybe we'll inspire someone else to come along and try it for us.
Items: Binoculars, K-Y Jelly, assorted snacks
The Image: You, fapping, with your binoculars trained on someone's bedroom window. A single tear rolls down your face, mixing with the Dorito dust on your cheek.
The Excuse: "I'm going birdwatching, and the K-Y helps keep my binoculars nice and shiny. Also, I'm hungry."
The Cult Leader
Items: Several gallons of antifreeze, paper cups
The Image: You, standing with a sinister grin behind a table of "refreshments" in back of a church gathering, stocked with cups of blue "Kool-Aid."
The Excuse: "I'm on my way to a party where I had promised to bring the paper cups, but they just called to say that a freak ice storm has frozen their doors and windows shut and that they need lots of antifreeze."
The "Batter up!"
Items: Wiffle Ball bat, K-Y Jelly
The Image: I don't think I need or want to spell this one out.
The Excuse: "I'm off to a wiffle ball game, and I like to throw spitballs, but everyone else thinks that's gross for some reason, so I just rub K-Y on the ball instead."
Items: two two-by-four planks of wood, Hammer, nails, matches, lighter fluid, white sheet
The Image: You, dancing around a burning cross while wearing a white sheet, on the front lawn of a horrified Black family. Alternately if you are, in fact, Black, the cashier will be unable to form a mental image due to the fact that his brain just exploded.
The Excuse: "We're having a cookout. A Halloween cookout. And I need to fix the deck."
Items: A Shovel, Tarp, Rope, and Duct tape.
The Image: You, burying a decidedly body-shaped object in the middle of a stormy night, guided only by intermittent lighting and ominous orchestral music.
The Excuse: "I'm building a tree house... for my dog... underground..."
The Mother's Nightmare
Items: A small scale, plastic bags, razor blades, a hand-held mirror, and lollipops.
The Image: You, enticing kids to come to the back of your van where you offer them lollipops and a special kind of candy you sniff up your nose.
The Excuse: "Well, it's a funny story actually, you see I'm building a... ummm, or rather testing my new... errr - Look! It's Jesus! - runs away -"
That's all for now, but please feel free to come up with your own combinations. For starters, you'll note that two of the above suggestions use the awkward-ness inducing power of K-Y jelly. Nearly anything can be purchased along with K-Y for comic effect, but my advice is to keep it believable and yet ridiculous. Purchasing, say, a basketball and a tube of K-Y jelly is indeed ridiculous, but it's not really believable that you could have nefarious intentions for something that large and unwieldy. Keep it large or weird enough to be ridiculous, but just small enough for an outside observer to doubt his natural inclination to come up with a benign explanation so that he doesn't have to think of all the horrible things you could be doing. An object like, say, a gerbil.
* Actually, please don't.
Disclaimer: The above is not meant to be taken seriously. Don't do this. TWAJS, etc.