Friday, March 6, 2009

Product X

Yes, well if you know me at all, you know that occasionally I take a side trip to Slightly Inappropriate. I really try to be classy. I do. There is this naughty side of me though, that screams out for attention now and then.

“Look at meeeee! Oh, no. I shouldn’t have said that. Don’t look at meeeee!”

Usually this happens in conversations that I later regret. Like the time way back in my jewelry store days that I said a bad word to a customer. I insulted her fiancée. I regret that. I should not have said it, even though it was brilliant.

So instead of having to regret this later, let’s blame this ride on the full moon and the fact that I procrastinated getting a hair appointment and am now living under a gray skunk stripe. And maybe we can throw a little blame at ‘the curse’. It can’t be my fault that we’re headed down this road.

The exit door is right up there to the right; feel free to get off the bus. If you are a man, you may be better off playing some air guitar over there by the bench and we’ll stop back later to pick up where we left off. We can pretend this never happened.

Oh yeah, a word to my daughters: I love you dearly. It’s my duty and honor to embarrass you to the point that you want to crawl under a rock.

No regrets. Now, let’s go shopping.

My mom wrote in a small, tight script. Her grocery lists looked a lot like this:






Apparently, no self respecting woman in the 70’s or 80’s would ever write the words ‘Toilet Paper’ or ‘Tampons’ on their shopping list.

I’m not sure where the ‘X’ came from… ‘X’ marks the spot, er, period?
Could it have been some kind of private joke for her?
Was it simply shorthand?
Was the word tampon really that taboo?

I never asked why she started it, so I’ll never know. I do remember teasing her because she wouldn’t write ‘Tampons’ on her list, so she quit writing ‘X’ and started writing ‘Tampons’. It made me a bit sad though, and I felt sort of bad for the ‘X’. I’m sentimental like that.

I never used to write grocery lists. I kept a running list in my brain and usually did pretty well. I am older now, and my brain does not retain the way it used to. I need lists. I find that the small daily calendars (I buy one every year after Christmas for half price) work really well for keeping lists. Last year it was the German Phrase-A-Day calendar. It was fun, but I did not retain a single German phrase. This year is Schott’s Miscellany. I like it better. I have learned many useless facts and they also provide many useless lists. I find pleasure in writing my lists on the backside of other lists. It seems right, fitting, and orderly.

Unlike my mom, I don’t usually write in cursive. I write in messy mixture. The contents of my lists are quite similar to my mom’s lists though. I still buy milk, eggs, and bread. Toilet paper is still TP, and yes, it is still a necessary. However, tampons are no longer ‘Tampons’, or ‘X’ for that matter. Somewhere along the way, I told the girls that my mom used to put ‘X’ on the grocery lists instead of ‘Tampons’. They thought it was funny, so I started doing it too. One day, one of them whispered in my ear (her dad was there, you never say these things in front of your dad),

“I need some Product X.”

That made me giggle some. I put it on the list.

It’s my hope that centuries from now some archaeologist will cry, “Eureka! I’ve discovered the secret!” because they read this after years of wondering what that mysterious ‘Product X’ on the back of Schott’s Miscellany, February 4th, 2009 could possibly be. Oh, and those lists from 30 years deeper and and a few hundred miles west? There’s your answer. You’re welcome. This is your very own 21st Century Rosetta Stone.

Now, could someone please explain air guitar? It’s so embarrassing.


I wrote this a month ago. Since then, I have decided that I don’t care if you don’t like it or get offended, I got my hair cut and colored so I no longer look like a brown haired Pepe Le Pew, and the conveyor belt has made another round. Today I bought Product X and it wasn’t even on the list.


Tracy P. said...

You've got a long way to go to get to off-color, Stefanie! It's even funnier that you waited a month to post it. :-)

Anonymous said...

I love lists... sometimes I remake the list just to cross everything off again... if you meet me for breakfast next week, I will write it on my list...

flutter said...

This is hilarious!

Woman in a Window said...

i'm loving you something fierce right now.

this was hilarious and so much more. it's probably no surprise but i write it out in full AND tell my kids that I need a little private time in the bathroom. my son will roll his eyes and say, why, you got your period? and I will say yes, sorry for me, eh?

i do love that you and your girls are sharing something mystical though. it seems mystical, this many years on into so much bravdo for women.

Di in MN said...

This is great, Stef! It made me giggle and laugh out loud. I think the X is the greatest!!!
Keep writing... miss you!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Same sentiment as Erin-- seriously, the naughty me was practically straining her scrolling finger to meet the naughty you. :-)
X marks the spot--brilliant. I write TP too, but it's because if I drop my list, I don't want anybody knowing I actually do something that needs toilet paper.
oh holy cow, you've inspired a post!