Slice of life

by Meg Heiman

“Know thyself.” The words of advice from our Greek ancestors played over and over again in my head. <BR><BR>“Know thyself.” Know that thou doth not like to shop. Know that thou hath never liked to shop. Know that shoppeth is what thou must do when the start of the school year approaches and school supplies and clothes are to be purchased. Indeed, KNOW. <BR><BR>Know that I try not to be the type of consumer that today’s mall designers and makers of market schemes hold in the palm of their hands, yet I am. Know that I try not to fall for all of the tricks designed to entice shoppers to impulsively buy, yet I do. <BR><BR>Know that time spent carefully writing out a shopping list is time lost, for a shopping list will disappear the minute I step inside a mall only to reappear hours later when I’m home and find it in my shirt pocket. Know that this is the true definition of Retail Magic. Know then that most of the items I purchase are not items on my list but are a direct result of the mall’s ability to mentally manipulate my mind. <BR><BR>Know that taking children shopping adds to mental madness. Know that today’s malls are like children’s playgrounds. Know that today’s mall designers and makers of market schemes know this. Know that it’s difficult to get a child to leave a playground. <BR><BR>Know that the child who insists on Spiderman shoes, shirts, underwear, backpack and lunchbox will deny ever having been loyal to Spiderman by the end of September. <BR><BR>Know that the child who has worn only his baseball cleats since June will resist buying new shoes. Know that sock sizes and shoe sizes are not the same thing; know that whoever came up with the idea to size socks and shoes differently should be eternally pelted with socks and shoes. <BR><BR>Know that four pairs of size 8 pants can fit dissimilarly. Know that it’s important to have a child try each pair on. Know that the dressing room will be in the furthest corner of the store from where the pants hang on racks. Know that children hate to try clothes on. <BR><BR>Know that each minute spent in a mall exponentially increases the amount of one’s hunger. Know that it’s easy to lose focus on clothes shopping when one is hungry, especially if one is young and easily distracted. Know that food courts are strategically placed in malls. Know that each minute spent in a food court exponentially decreases the amount of time available for clothes shopping. <BR><BR>Know that nausea from the stale air and obnoxious music in the mall will coincide with the digestion of the meal from the food court. Know that there will still be items left to purchase after the nausea hits. Know that The Shopping Plan will be prematurely aborted. <BR><BR>Know that no one will remember where the car is parked. Know that the car will be found over a football field away from the mall exit. <BR><BR>Know that when bags are unpacked at home, the child who needed T-shirts now has more than enough pants, the one who needed pants ended up with new T-shirts, and a call to the school is needed to find out if cleats are acceptable footwear. <BR><BR>Know that the word “fun” will be used more thoughtfully from now on, especially when used in the same sentence as the word “mall.” <BR><BR>Know that shopping in Ely will be appreciated from now on, especially in remembrance of the experience of “mall.” <BR><BR>Know that the wisdom of Socrates and the other Greek philosophers will no longer fall on deaf ears. <BR><BR>Know that if I ever desire to step foot in a mall again, I will say “NO!” to myself. And know that there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup when one suffers the consequences of not knowing oneself. Enjoy!<BR><BR>EASY CHICKEN SOUP<BR><BR>1 whole chicken breast, bone in <BR><BR>5 cups chicken broth <BR><BR>1/2 c chopped onion <BR><BR>1 c chopped celery <BR><BR>1 cup chopped carrots <BR><BR>1/2 c medium egg noodles<BR><BR>Combine all ingredients except the noodles, in a big pot. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and trim the meat from the bones. Add meat to soup. Stir in noodles. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until noodles are tender. Makes about 4 servings.<BR><BR>