The other day I was forced out into public to rub shoulders with the unwashed masses. This unplanned and unpleasant sojourn had been necessitated by the commerce driven ritual know as Christmas Shopping <shudder>.
Normally I would ensure that all of my shopping had been completed no later than Halloween because, according to my therapist, my temperament is not conducive at the best of times to be dealing with throngs of shuffling lollygaggers. However, I had been tasked with securing a specific festive item: The Christmas Pickle.
For the solecistic in the class, the Christmas Pickle is not a fermented cucumber, but an ornament hidden within the foliage of the Christmas tree. On Christmas Day the children take turns searching for the pickle, and the child who finds it gets an extra present, a prize for being diligent and observant. Kind of like Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket. Except green. And phallic.
It was during this perilous quest that I overheard an exchange between two inappropriately dressed middle aged mothers. It appeared as if they had actually Dressed Up to go shopping, but had become discombobulated at some point and had stumbled into their sixteen year old daughters closet, by way of a Bootlegger change-room.
Hipster Mom #1 had selected the sensible shoe of choice when walking the length of the mall for extended periods of time: the stiletto-heeled knee-high boot. To ensure one could witness the full glory of these podiatrists nightmare, the cuffs on her jeans had been rolled up several feet, like some Dominatrix Captain Kirk.
Hipster Mom #2 was head to toe in Lululemon. As advertised, this did indeed, and unfortunately, accentuate her buttocks, as well as her lovehandles, and her stretch-marks. It looked like a Breakfast-To-Go bag of cottage cheese, a muffintop, and strip bacon. The hood of her yoga top, which had apparently never seen the interior of a Power Yoga studio, was lined with fur which at first glance I took for a nesting ferret.
I wasn't eavesdropping. My mama didn't raise no Nosey Rosey. I was a hostage, a captive audience. The aisle was barricaded, my flight from the inane dialogue that followed barred by Lulu Lemon's stroller that had the approximate dimensions of a Sherman Tank. And they were LOUD. These attention whoring bubbleheads actually WANTED people to hear their boastful chatter.
Captain Kirk was griping that little Aiden's teachers didn't realize that he was smarter than them and they weren't capable of dealing with his Specialness. She postulated aloud that they were jealous of him. The tyke in question stood sullen at her side, head down, focussed on his Blackberry. She then referred to him as her "Special Little Man" and reached out a veiny and bejeweled hand to tousle the dour moppets fop coifed mane, but stopped herself short, a glimmer of fear flickering in her eyes. I found this last "Special Little Man" statement kind of creepy. He was 11.
Lulu Lemon countered with how she totally understood because her Aiden was also Very Special and Destined for Greatness, why just the other night she was pretty sure that the precocious little sprite had used the word "Klangfarbenmelodie" when putting the finishing touches on his first symphony, and that his use of Deceptive Cadence on the 2 litre saucepan was intentional. He was the one in the Sherman Tank.
This competitive praise heaping was the equivalent of schoolyard "oh yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad" banter, where prowess and success is attributed not to oneself but a third party, in a feeble attempt to deflect away from ones own inadequacies and lack of accomplishments, living vicariously through the achievements of others.
Kids, I'm gonna give it to you straight: If your parents have told you that you are special, they lied to you. You are as unique as everybody else.
Unless of course you have retractable metal alloy adamantium claws.
Or can shoot lasers out of your eyes.
Or you find the Christmas Pickle.