Under pressure, Steve Jaeger quickly realizes that tampons and popcorn are not the same.
I have done it countless times. I have walked to the door, turned and called out, “I’m going to the store, anyone need anything?” Usually they call back: soda, candy, chips, or some other kind of empty value junk food they know I hate buying and can ill afford. “Well mom always gets it for us!” Most of the time I will come back with something on the list to show them I am not the world’s worst single father.
Though, this trip my daughter yelled out, “I need tampons!” I froze halfway out the door and asked her to please repeat because I thought she’d just asked me to buy her tampons. “Yes, I asked for tampons! What are you, deaf?” Well, yes, as it turns out. I am getting a bit hard of hearing as I progress in years and I also have a deep-seated aversion to anything I classify as “chick shit.”
I ask the princess why she can’t have her mother pick them up? “Because I need them now! God, what is wrong with you?” I explain to my little love who I used to bounce on my knee that tampons are not my department and if she had ever needed a new remote control or scorebook, I’m her man. Chick shit, though, I have managed to avoid through a couple of wives and daddy’s little girl’s life as a “woman” thus far. Her mother once asked me to pick her up some pantyhose while I was at the store. I told her I’d be happy to so long as she was willing to grab me a copy of Hustler and a new infielder’s glove next time she was out.
I couldn’t take that route with my daughter so I tried to plead ignorance. “Listen baby, I don’t know which ones to buy. Why don’t you get dressed and come with me?” She came storming out of her room with a small box and thrust it in my face. “Here! Is this so hard?” she hissed. She was holding a small black box that looked like a tiny version of a candied popcorn snack we used to buy when I was about her age called Screaming Yellow Zonkers. But this little box didn’t have no stinkin’ toffee popcorn. I pleaded with her, tried to explain my position on avoiding the feminine product aisle at all costs but she would have none of it.
“Just get me the stupid tampons or you’ll have a bigger problem on your hands!”
So there I am staring at an array of female sanitary products and wondering why in the hell anyone would need so much variety for what is basically a wad of cotton on a string. I am feeling a bit light headed, though ultimately I manage to find the little black boxes. But wait! There are little symbols on them and she didn’t tell me which one she wanted. I decide to be bold and make a command decision. I grab the super-duper extra protection tampons because who can’t use a bit of extra protection, right? I get home and hand them over like a little kid turning in his big science project.
“Here you go sweetie! Look what daddy got for you!”
“What? Super? What do you think I am? How could you buy me super?”
I told her that it’s all the same to me and I tried to explain to her about chick shit but apparently buying the wrong tampon is akin to using the C-word. If Oliver Hardy had done this to Mae Bush there would be a rain of pots and pans flying through the air but all my daughter had at hand was her scorn. Which was enough.
I slunk out of the room like a whipped cur. I tried to settle down on the couch to watch a little bit of baseball. The season was nearly over, and that’s usually enough to leave me feeling empty and depressed until spring, and now I had this to contend with as well.
I have sailed in to the uncharted waters of chick shit and I have sunk. This may have something to do with my failed marriages but I’ll have to contemplate that at a later time. I have a month to contemplate my failure and hope she will not wait until the last minute and call on me again. I now know those waters but they are dangerous, and I am without a compass.
Originally appeared at OpenSalon.
—Photo SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget/Flickr