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Shop 'til it feels better


Fri, Jun 6th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Archeologists and anthropologists have unearthed ancient civilizations and been able to determine the core values of their cultures from the stones and rubble left behind.  The Egyptians built pyramids and monuments to bury their kings and princes, a tribute to belief in the political power of the aristocracy.  Civilizations have been built around grand cathedrals, temples and mosques, honoring belief in spiritual strength.  Castles and palaces give praise to royal families, for better or worse.

In 10,000 years or so, they will unearth us:  Malls, insurance companies and banking giants.  They will understand our belief that God is in the Mall and we will find him there.   We are there, seven days a week with extended hours on High Holy Days- white sales and such.  No quest of less value could so occupy this vast land. It breaks all barriers of race, gender and economics.  It's where we meet and greet.  We bring our children within the first weeks of their lives so they will know the rituals at Toys R Us by preschool.  The old folks are there, walking like a search party combing the brush for some item they may need before all the items they already own go up for auction.  The dedication of our youth, however, must look like a host of heavenly angels to the retail gods.  They are our bravest soldiers on this mission, marching daily with nothing but Karmel Korn and Cinnabon for rations.  Their joy is self evident.

Now we are told the economy is suffering a bad patch.  This is worrisome news for the merchants that bring all this pleasure our way.  Since our president has this personal relationship with the gods of retail therapy who deliver hope for a life with full garages and U Store Units, he has tossed the congregation a bone.

Don't get me wrong, I am not sending my $600 back.  However, can we pause a moment before signing another credit card agreement, and ask who will actually pay for this largesse?

Can we dare to imagine if those dollars had been put into our public education system, our libraries or day care subsidies for working parents?  These would have been beneficial to the generation who will pick up that tab when the bill comes.  Didn't the whole idea feel a little like the "kept" woman who whined about being bored and Sugar Daddy tossed off a roll of cash from the kids piggy bank and said "Here 'lil darlin'- go buy yourself something pretty.  You'll get in a better mood then."

But make no mistake; that money did come out of the kids' piggy bank.

I'd rant on about politicians handing out money in an election year but, well, there is this gorgeous leather purse at Macy's and I have some extra cash.

See you at the mall.

Beadrin Youngdahl lives in Peterson.

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