Monday, March 16, 2009

The Holy Grail

As everyone knows, kids grow all the time, and are always demanding that we accommodate their unexpected bodily changes with things like food and clothing. When my daughter was very young, I made egregious errors like buying her 50-dollar shoes at Stride-Rite, only to replace them 45 minutes later. I always wondered what made people shop at Payless Shoes, but that made me learn fast.

Nonetheless, when they get older, they become more aware, and ask troublesome questions like, "Why are my shoes made of plastic and held together with duct tape, Daddy?" And at a certain age, you can't just smile and offer them a piece of gum. These darn kids get smarter all the time, and there are few things more inconvenient than that.

My daughter's recently become aware that the coolest thing in the world is a North Face parka. As they cost 300 bucks, and as she's still growing, I told her forget it. But my wife, who is not a miserable cold-hearted teacher like me, took pity on her. She was in Macy's the other day, with a bunch of coupons, and as it's the end of the season, managed to find one for 140 bucks. And as she and my daughter are now about the same size, she figured she could take it if my daughter grew out of it.

It seemed to make a lot of sense. The coat was really warm, and in a forest green color, it looked great. But everything is point of view. My daughter looked at it, and said, "I want a black one." Because everyone has a black one. And my wife gave me an imploring look.

This weekend I worked in Delaware, brought my family with me, and my Nuvi GPS kindly alerted me every time we passed a Macy's. Some have the coats, and some don't. In Cherry Hill, New Jersey, there were tons of them at 50% off. But they were all in size large or larger. I tried one on, and it seemed to be the warmest jacket I'd ever put on. Also, it was gray, not black. That was good for me, because I didn't want to look like the kids. So my wife pulled out her astonishingly impressive collection of Macy's coupons and we got it for a very good price.

Alas, my daughter was forlorn and dejected. The salesman claimed his Asian customers had bought all the small sizes. In the women's section, all that was left were a couple of North Face sweaters and a bunch of gloves. It was a sad situation indeed. Would my poor daughter be able to deal with the indignity of wearing a coat in the wrong color?

I guess if I were a good parent, I'd have sprung for the obligatory 300 bucks back in November, when black North Face parkas were springing up like weeds. Perhaps it would have been a bargain. After all, one day she may have to pay thousands for therapy to deal with the reality of her miserable abusive parents.

Hopefully, by then we'll have made some progress with health care.
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