Saturday, December 20, 2003

Reports from the Front

Returning home from Christmas shopping, I am happy to report the parking wasn't too bad, the lines weren't terrible, and the experience looked like it would be far less painful than I had anticipated. Except, it wasn't. Every store was a maze, a confusing labyrinth of piles and people and signage.

And it is with sadness that I report, I am now a befuddled urban male. No. That's an overstatement. I'm on my way to becoming a befuddled urban male, but I'm not there yet. I can still handle the grocery store with relative ease. I give my self 3 to 5 years before I will be forced to give up independent living in the interest of survival.

Befuddled Urban Male (BUM may, or may not, be the appropriate acronym) is a degenerative condition afflicting primarily males (do not be misled, women are also at risk and far too many suffer silently) and is primarily marked by confusion, indecision, and, well, befuddlement at modern consumer environments. Have you ever seen a guy stand in front of one pile of clothes for an extended period of time? Leafing through the merchandise, unfolding and partially refolding, seemingly pondering and examining the product (what is this, how much is it, is it worth it, what is this?), but completely perplexed by it? Then you have encounted a befuddled urban male. The conditions onset with a slight fear, a general unease progressing to sheer panic and "deer in the headlights" powerlessness and ultimately, defeat. In its earlier stages, it is treatable through a rigorous schedule of controlled environment shopping and support therapy. Should it progress to the grocery store stage a wife (or husband as the case may be), PeaPod, or reliable carry-out and delivery service plainly becomes necessary. Plainly, at this advanced stage treatment can become incredibly expensive but is as of yet uncovered by traditional health care plans.

Fortunately, I am not there yet and hope that early diagnosis and treatment can prevent a further deterioration of my condition.


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