The last-minute holiday shopper's prayer probably goes unheeded

December 22, 2005|By KEVIN COWHERD

Grant me the serenity to go to the mall once more without losing my mind.

Help me to accept the things I cannot change, for there will be many of them, especially at the Food Court.

Help me to find a parking space, too, for that is the key to much happiness, especially if it's close to the entrance on a cold day.

Then let mall security nab that guy in the Cadillac Escalade who just parked in a handicapped space and practically sprinted into one of the stores.

There's nothing wrong with that guy's legs. Let them nail him good with a hefty parking ticket.

Or, better yet, let his engine blow.

Or his transmission drop out and splinter into a thousand pieces.

OK, that's wrong. That's a bad attitude. Peace on earth, good will toward men - yes, yes, I buy all that.

But that guy really ticked me off.

Once I'm inside the mall, help me to be swift on my appointed rounds.

Let the stores not be picked clean, let their shelves not be barren, for there are still gifts I must buy, credit cards still to be maxed out.

Yes, I know time's running out. No need to rub it in, OK? I get enough of that from my wife.

Help me to find the items I'm looking for so I don't have to enlist the aid of a surly sales clerk with a graduate degree in English literature, who can't believe he's fallen so low as to be working at the Sharper Image.

Help me not to linger at Cinnabon, where even a glass of water has 670 calories and 34 grams of fat.

Above all else, give me the strength to stand in long check-out lines without going bug-eyed and screaming, for that is so difficult.

Please let the person in front of me have her Visa card go through on the first shot.

And the person in front of her, and the person in front of that person, too, so that we're not here all day.

In fact, let all our credit cards receive instant, magical approval.

And let the people paying by check have their checkbooks handy, too, and their driver's licenses, so that commerce is conducted in a timely manner and we're not all standing around rolling our eyes as a harried woman with a screaming kid rummages in her hand bag for five minutes, looking for her ID.

OK, while we're on the subject: Please let there be no screaming kids in the checkout line, period.

Let there be no toddlers throwing themselves on the floor in a fit of rage because they can't get a bag of Gummi Worms.

Let there be no 7-year-old head cases ramming their little brothers's stroller into the cash register over and over again while his father watches and says not a word.

I am mentally strong, yes.

But not that strong.

So keep those little brats away from me - I mean it.

Another thing: Please don't let them run out of boxes when I get to the register.

This seems to happen often.

Why? Is it me?

Is there something scribbled on my forehead in Magic Marker that says: "Tell me you're out of boxes"?


Then let there be boxes. And plenty of them.

And enough tissue paper to go around, too.

Then, when my shopping is done, when my head is pounding with a four-Advil screamer and it's time to go home, help me get out of there safely.

Help me get back to my car without being run over by a Dodge Durango stalking me up and down the aisles for my parking space.

Help me make it to the exit without four laughing teenagers darting out obliviously in front of my car, so that I must slam on the brakes and nearly smack my head on the windshield.

Help me get home in one piece - physically, if not emotionally.


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