Purchasing groceries has become so complicated lately, and not just because I'm
As I remember, we wheeled into the fruit and veggie section first.
"Well, I really think we have to start going 100% organic, for the kids' sakes," I said firmly. "All those pesticides, they're just not good for them."
"I don't know," said Mr. IQ, looking worried, "the organic stuff is pretty expensive."
"Are you saying we should save some pennies and risk giving our babies cancer?" I demanded.
"Well, no, but... "
"There you are then!" I said, bustling over to the organic section.
"I want grapes!" said High Intensity.
"Sure!" I said cheerily, and then stopped dead in my tracks. A small tray containing maybe 20 grapes was $7.99. "Ughhfkkgahh" I choked out, unable to speak properly. Luckily Mr. IQ jumped in to save me.
"We can't buy organic food," he said, "it's all flown in from thousands of miles away. It's not produced locally."
I looked at him gratefully. "Yah, think of the fossil fuels being used!"
"That's definitely not something we should be supporting."
"So true," I said. Slowly I scanned the aisles. "But then what...."
"No produce!" declared Mr. IQ decisively. Quickly he moved the cart towards the bakery section. "How's about we buys a pie?"
I snorted. We are not pie-buying people, not even at Thanksgiving. "I don't think so," I said. "Get some bread."
"But wheat is grown with pesticides too..."
"I know but... you know.... sandwiches..." I said helplessly. Mr. IQ grabbed a loaf off the shelf.
"Not that one!" I said, "It has to be whole wheat!"
"This is whole wheat!" said Mr. IQ, confused. "100% whole wheat, look, it says on the label."
"I know, but according to the CBC, that kind of whole wheat is just like white bread. The labels are very misleading. You have to get... WHOLE whole wheat."
"Um, I don't remember exactly," I said, not wanting to admit that I had turned off the radio discussion to play my Dr. Hook CD. "But just because it says whole wheat doesn't mean it actually is. You have to... look for grains or something."
"Oh for fuck's sake..." Silently, we scoured the bread aisles for WHOLE whole wheat.
"How about this one," asked Mr. IQ, holding up a loaf. Carefully, we inspected it. "Look, there's a grain," he said pointing. On the crust there was a lump of some kind.
"Is that a fiber-filled, colon cancer-fighting lump? Or a white bread lump?" I asked suspiciously.
"I don't know!" said Mr. IQ, poking it tentatively with his finger. That got High Intensity's attention.
"You touched it, now you have to take it!" she said sternly.
"Why?" asked Mr. IQ.
"Germs, dad," she said. She didn't add "Duh" but she might as well have, it was pretty obvious she was thinking it.
"Fine, we'll take it," I said, grabbing it and throwing it into the cart, despite my conflicted emotions. "Where to next?"
"Let's stay here," said High Intensity. "Can we get a cake?"
In the meat section, Mr. IQ's eyes glazed over a bit as he stared at the steaks.
"We should have a BBQ now that spring is finally here," he said.
"Red meat!!" I said, "are you crazy?"
"But you turn into a limp, lifeless worm if you don't eat red meat occasionally," he said, holding the steaks close to his chest defiantly. He didn't add, "And as cranky as a three-balled rhinoceros," but he sure as hell wanted to.
"Yes, but the steroids will give us breast and prostate cancer," I said primly.
"And I'll start menstruating when I'm seven," piped in High Intensity helpfully. No, of course she didn't say this. I whispered it in his ear.
"Fine," said Mr. IQ, hastily putting the meat back, "we'll get chicken instead."
"We certainly will not!!" I said, "I read somewhere that there's arsenic in chicken feed, we can't risk feeding that to the kids!"
"Okay, fish then. How about salmon? Salmon is a super-food: It has Omega-3 fatty acids!"
"But farmed salmon has parasitic lice-y type things growing on them."
"Wild salmon then. "
"Wild salmon is endangered."
"Hello mercury poisoning!"
"Cheese, and we can make pasta."
"Saturated fat city, dude. You'd have a heart attack before the meal was over. Besides, milk products cause osteoporosis."
A little tic was starting to become noticeable around Mr. IQ's left eye.
"Get out of here!" he said, "They're full of calcium!"
"I know, but it doesn't matter. That "good for bones" thing is just a big lie being promoted by the dairy farmers. It's actually the vegans who end up with the strongest bones in old age."
"Look, we managed to get bread, can we just find something to put on it?" he asked piteously, "I mean, I'm totally starving."
"Well, uh, I was thinking of some nice tofu."
"Yah, I saw a recipe, you just mush it up, and, uh, add some spices and it's supposed to be really... delicious."
"But tofu has estrogen in it."
Mr. IQ's voice lowered to a whisper. "Man boobs," he hissed worriedly, "Could... could eating it give me man boobs?"
Half an hour later, our one loaf of bread was starting to look pretty lonely in the cart.
"Let's just circle around one more time," I said, ever the optimist, "there must be SOMETHING we can buy."
"Like maybe something like potato chips," grumbled High Intensity
"Oh GOD," said Mr. IQ, snapping, "GET ME OUT OF HERE, just GET ME OUT OF HERE, I CAN'T STAND THIS ANY LONGER."
"Good idea," I said, "but, uh, can we go by the baby section first?"
"And the candy aisle?" asked High Intensity.
In the baby aisle we didn't make eye contact as I grabbed a box of environmentally destructive disposable diapers.
"Those stay in the ground forever you know," said High Intensity, having been fed all the propaganda by her school last week during Earth day celebrations.
"Hey! That's pretty smart!" said Mr. IQ.
I made a panicked noise. "DON'T CALL HER SMART!!" I whispered.
"Why not?" he asked.
"According to this article I read, telling kids they're smart just kills their work ethic and sets them up for failure!!"
Mr. IQ looked slightly ill.
We paid for the diapers and headed out into the wrinkle-creating, skin cancer-causing/vitamin D forming, cancer PREVENTING sunshine. Then we got into our fossil fuel-consuming, greenhouse gas producing/absolutely fucking necessary vehicle and headed for home. Unhappily, we split the loaf of bread for dinner. Then Mr. IQ broke down at midnight and ordered pizza. It was totally delicious.
As that old wicked witch would say: "Oh, what a world, what a world."