"I am free."
The thought pierced my cold, dark consciousness as I crossed a desolate commuterscape toward an early-morning train.
Before exiting my parked car, I had rifled through sections of the New York Times in case of momentous news out of Syria, Park Slope or Madison Square Garden. Instead, I found something grimly unnerving: an insert, bathed in blue and orange hues, that seemed hideously familiar. Dear God. Toys "R" Us was back.
"Door Busters!" the insert shrieked, with the R in "Door" reversed in dull homage to the illiteracy that, along with cheap crap from China in perpetuity, is one of the twin towers of the Toys "R" Us Inc. brand. My eyes locked on "My Talking LapPup," available in "Violet" or "Scout." Fisher-Price Inc.'s "Bedtime Peppa Pig" beckoned from an adjacent coupon panel. At the bottom of the first page - oh, yes, there were six - was a warning that the "Buy 1 Get 1 40% Off Mix & Match SALE!" had only two days to go. Violent video games, bad movies and various branded detritus from the plastics factory would soon experience a devastating price spike.
Panic had begun to seize me when a beautiful moment, the kind you can own and recall over the course of an entire lifetime, materialized out of the frigid air itself. "I have teenagers," I realized. "Put down the insert. It's over."
My cherished daughter, who once pined for a "Hop Along Pink Pony" - the desperate purchase of which, at the last minute on Dec. 24 after weeks of hopeless searching, had pitched her mother into triumphant, transcendent bliss - simply doesn't care anymore. My son, whose contributions to the plastics industry dwarf anything Deng Xiaoping ever mustered, would like some nice clothes, thank you very much.
Yes, it has been a long walk to freedom. There were difficult moments along the way, times when the garish, prisonlike aisles of storecrap seemed to close in, threatening to crush me physically and spiritually. But I never gave up hope. I always believed in my heart this day would come. I will never walk into Toys "R" Us again. I am free. Unless I have grandchildren.
"I am free."
- Community News Network
Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention
A Missouri church finds itself in the middle of a media storm after the Missouri National Guard, citing short notice and time constraints, was not able to fulfill a request last week to appear at the church’s vacation Bible school.
Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states
In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.
VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner
A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.
Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists
A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.
VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up
Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.
- Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'
- The virtues of lying
- Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered
- Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus
- An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about
- Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight
- Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive
- Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research
- Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock
- Can black women have it all?
- Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir
- 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead
- Fast food comes to standstill in China
- Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran
- VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape
- Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world
- How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement
- Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish
- Don't judge mothers with messy homes
- Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year
- Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)
- Facebook continues moneymaking trend
- Has the ipad lost its swag?
- Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese
- Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates
- Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention
Plane through: Cessna lands on Houston golf course
HOUSTON (AP) — An area near the 11th hole at a Houston golf course provided a smooth landing spot after a small plane ran out of fuel and glided on to the grass.
The Cessna 170 was expected to be moved from Hermann Park on Tuesday. The unplanned landing of the single-engine plane happened Monday night on a flight from Lafayette, La.
- Maine ice shack transformed into 'Shangri-La'
- PETA proposes robotic groundhog for Pa. festival
- Judge: Dance parties a no-no at Jefferson Memorial
- Video: Man playing with chicken on NYC subway
- Plane through: Cessna lands on Houston golf course