mixed feelings day
marchipelago 26
41 a.b. ...

ok, i admit it: 

i felt kinda bad after i uploaded the last part of that last entry.  if terry anderson can get over $138,000 for each day of freedom those armed jerks took away from him forever, who am i to say he shouldn't get it?  why, after taxes, he'll be lucky to clear $100,000 for each of those 2,454 days he spent wondering if each moment might not be his last....

i was even thinking of writing an apology.

but then - damn it all - i went and got this morning's paper and started flipping through the meijer's flyer.

as i think i've mentioned before, meijer is my town's big super grocery/discount store.  if wal-mart had a fling with a kroger's supermarket and the resulting child was fed nothing but steroids for 20 years, the result might well look like our local meijer's.

anyway, they have a big color ad flyer sent to my house every week with the sunday newspaper, and - color addict that i am - i can never resist looking at it even when i don't need a thing and probably wouldn't spend the money even if i did need a thing.

i usually go through these flyers about as quickly as an obsessive-compulsive washes his hands or checks that the stove is off for the thousandth time before leaving the house, but today...

today something caught my eye.

something... THERE!  on page 9...

right there - between the satin soft toilet tissue and the flexi mat purr pad.

a hamster.

a golden hamster.

"a fun furry friend for the whole family to enjoy."

$2.99 ....

$2.99 .... ... .. .

my mind was frozen in its tracks like the proverbial (and still priceless) deer caught in the headlights.

what's the minimum wage now?  $5.80/hour?  and meijer was telling me that for about half that - that for a mere 30 minutes of bagging groceries or stocking shelves - i or anyone else could actually get, acquire - that is to say, buy another living creature??

i was stunned.

i mean, ok - i knew this sort of thing happened.  i knew there was a market in hamsters and other small animals.  i can't deny it.  i myself bought gerbils once, after all.  my wife and i even often go out of our way to gawk at the latest small animal offerings meijer has on display.



anyone on earth with a mere $2.99 on them can go into a store and buy another living creature? a living creature with a heart and a brain and a genetic heritage going all the way back to the same primordial soup our own ancestors crawled out of??  and that $2.99 allows this anyone to become this creature's whole world and sole means of support without his or her having to pass a home inspection or proficiency test, produce any I.D., post any bond, or even promise not to make this creature's life a living hell?  

well, blink! blink!

i tried to shrug this realization off, i tried to continue flipping through this flyer and all the others like i do every sunday without another thought about what is, after all, a common, widely accepted practice in our society, but somehow i couldn't quite get it out of my mind.

i kept noticing all the other products also priced $2.99...

the bottle of clorox 2.

the bottle of spin liquid laundry detergent (original or with bleach).

the 3 pound bag of parakeet seed.

the pound box of brach's assorted chocolates.

the maid-rite rubber bath mat.

the polarwind lunch tote.

the 3.5"x5" brass photo frame.

the 7" high antique iron birdcage.  

the jumbo sticker activity books.  

the meijer aaa road atlas 2000.

the wooden-handled garden tools.

the powerful krypton lantern spotlight (regularly 5.99 but - this week only! -  the same as the most golden of hamsters).

the custom CD visor organizer. 

the sky ripper space explorer or stunt glidder.

the 25' measuring tape (No. 35-SR469B).

the one pound canister of diazanon ant poison (prompting me to wonder exactly how many dead ants = one live hamster).

the 40-50 count sack of cooked shrimp (no comment).

the 132-page contemporary wirebound journal (as if any 132 pages i could write could ever rival in importance or complexity the inner workings of another mammal).

in the end, it was the perfect rest bed pillow that stuck with me.  not because it was standard size.  not because it was 18 ounces.  not even because it was machine washable and dryable.  but because it was priced at $2.98.  

i sit in awe of a society so sophisticated and so smart, it can sit down and calculate and tell me on a sunday morning - in bright 'n' bold colors, no less - that a hamster is worth precisely 1¢ more than a certain pillow.

having read the rest of the paper - having had over 12 hours to contemplate and reflect - i find that i now have only two questions as i prepare to head off to bed:

why was this buried on page 9 of an ad flyer?  

why wasn't this page one headline news??

back to cower in a quiet 
corner of a previous entry

scurry home undetected
by human eyes

forward in hopes of finding
tastier food for thought
in tomorrow's bowl

©Now by Dan University

(actually a pretty small animal himself)