Monday, April 4, 2011

Got no reason to live...

When you live with someone for a long time, I suppose you take on some of their characteristics. While I'm still waiting for the wicked math skills to transfer from MathMan's brain to mine, I have noticed that I'm cognizant of patterns. MathMan has always been a pattern guy. He could become exasperated with me sometimes when he'd try to point them out and I couldn't seem them until he got out the Crayolas to create visuals. But now I see patterns. They may not be complex like MathMan's patterns that require a TI80 Disco Edition calculator to explain, but I see some. Before the patterns may have skimmed across  my awareness, ricocheted off my memory bank and landed - ignored and lonely - in some dusty, dark, mostly dead brain coil along with 8th grade Algebra, the location of that I.U. sweatshirt I lost in 1990 something and the plus que parfait portion of French verb conjugation. Now I take notice.

For example, I've noticed that each time I go into a store with one or more of my children, they manage to find The Gopher of As Seen on TV fame. For the next ten minutes or until I start making threats involving leaving without them, I drift around the store repeating quit it, put that thing away, stop it, and don't make me call security while being menaced by one or both of them wielding the metal and plastic pincer claw grabbing my butt, my upper arm flab and whatever coupon I'm holding.

Add to this familial pattern, the fact that even alone in the CVS last week, I noticed a young husband pick up The Gopher and tease his pretty wife with it.  Yes, she repeated Quit it! and Stop it! as well. She was sweet enough to add endearments like sweetie and silly to her admonishments though. They must have been newlyweds.

My last trip to the grocery store made me realize that perhaps the Universe is telling me something. I could actually use a Gopher. See, I'm short. Really short. I topped out at five foot three quarters of an inch, but it's likely that through the pull of gravity on my skeleton and an overuse of a pumice stone on my feet, I'm probably not even that tall now.

When you're this close to the ground, grocery store shelves can seem pretty high and many things are out of reach. Saturday night I nearly put an eye out using one bottle of stain fighter to hook around the trigger of the one I actually wanted to buy. One good pull and both came tumbling down on me.

Irv, clean up on aisle seven!

Sometimes I'll hang around for a minute hoping that someone tall and approachable will come along so I can ask to borrow their height. Other times, I'll find an employee to help me out. If I'm desperate and don't have to pee, I'll risk it and scale the shelves like a housewife version of Spiderwoman in a hoodie and yoga pants. Instead of crime fighting, I'  on a quest for the right size bottle of French's Worsterschire Sauce to match the B1G1 sale and my coupon.

I've heard some too late store employee say "M'am, we'd prefer it if you'd come on out of the freezer now." But once I've committed, I'm not leaving that freezer without my bag of chopped onions, damn it.

So I can see the beauty of the Gopher. It could come in quite handy (pun intended.) Just this week, I could have used it at our Publix. The Truvia (stacking store and manufacturing coupons made it free!) was on the top shelf and way, way back there. What a pickle. Climb? Beg for help? Or stick the coupons back in my ziplock bag and harrumph away. It's not like I'm going to give up sugar anytime soon anyway.

Walking away from the free product irritated me nonetheless. Enough with the height discrimination!

A few minutes later, I was once again staring at the top shelf - this time in the refrigerated section. The strawberry thick and creamy Yoplaits that Nate likes were in stock, but out of reach. Oh, I could have climbed up on the bottom shelf and risked putting a foot through one of the Dora the Explorer yogurt packages, but I didn't like the odds. Plus I was wearing sandals.

Luck for me, a tallish woman came by and helped. After thanking her profusely, I walked away thinking there had to be a better way. A Gopher! Its usefulness can't be denied. There are other benefits, as well. I could walk by kids who've just hit the bakery for their free cookie and snatch those cookies in a flash and be gone, stashing the evidence of my wrongdoing in my cart before the harried mother could figure out that I was the culprit. I could grab butts. And snatch coupons from my competitors. I could spice up a trip to the grocery with that annoying as shit tap you on the shoulder, look away innocently game.

I could even make myself useful by reaching things for other Short People.

All I need now is a coupon for one...


  1. Plus they're great for the probation requirement of picking up roadside litter. Also great for picking up mouse traps that have snapped.

  2. Since it still requires effort on your part, I say hold out for the robotic version. It's only a matter of time, right?

  3. Go for it, Baby! But leave my Arm Flab alone

  4. I topped out at five foot three quarters of an inch
    Just say you have a problem with your eyes, they're too close to the ground!!

    I'm of average height (5'9"), but I have a similar tool that I use to hang stuff from the rafters in my tool shed UP on the Tundra. Instead of suction cups, this one looks more like a lobster claw.

  5. Oh, me too sister. You are actually taller than I am, if you can believe it. I am Sir Edmund Hillary of kitchen counters. I'd step on my child's head if it meant I could reach that last bite-sized Snicker bar in the far reaches of the top cabinet.

  6. This is the full-page ad for The Gopher I want to see in the back of Boy's Life magazine next month (with coupon, of course).

  7. I must admit to being the guilty culprit when it comes to tormenting one's partner with one of those things.

    Hey, I gotta have fun somehow! Lucky for him, we don't actually own one. I just "try" it out when we're at the Wal*Greens.

  8. extended long roach clip.... for when yu really don't want to get out of your chair

  9. My sister has one!! Her dh bought it for her when she broke her hip. Maybe I could get you a good deal on it?
    Your scenario happens to me often.

    I didn't buy the truvia, is it any good? I use Splenda...and I'm still overweight but not because of my coffee.

  10. I'm not going to get into all of the useful things the Gopher can do but I would agree. It has its uses! Now if I can just convince my wife...

  11. I have the same issues, being short. I can never reach half the items I want in the grocery store. Thankfully, my son, who is much taller than me, comes a long. I need him to reach the products I can't!

  12. My husband is routinely asked to help grab things off top shelves for people in stores. At 6' 4", he's quite popular.

    I should really hire him out.

  13. You and I are about the same height but I've always considered myself tall since I grew taller than my parents. The shelves at Powell's are close to 8 feet tall and mostly the ones on those highest ones were supposed to be overstock. Every so often I'd see one up there that wasn't on a lower shelf and would climb. A gopher would have been a good investment.

  14. I'm up about 6 feet tall, but then I have problems with shirt sleeves & pants being long enough!
    But my store pet peeve is "aisles" that are so damned crammed w racks & stuff you can barely walk through.
    A friend was using a store scooter after a surgery & had a blast knocking things over & down.
    Hey! Not his fault if the store can't measure an aisle w reasonable clearance!


  15. You need one of these!
    We have one in the van for long trips. I didn't know it had an actual name, and have no idea how "the pincers" as they're affectionately known, came to be in my possession. We have a Honda Odyssey and when we drive to NY every year, everything, everything gets passed to and fro with these crazy things.
    And the kids fight over the privilege of using/abusing them.

  16. Try attempting to get something stacked on the highest shelf of the local bodega in New York City. The spaces are small, so they pack every last inch. That's when I make the guy behind the counter get it. And usually they reach for their gopher-like grabbing thing.

  17. oh, I need that thing so bad! I nearly stole my mom's after her hip replacement, but I didn't think they'd let me on the plane with it...
    so now, I can be found scrabbling up the shelving units in Safeway or jumping up and down to see all the way to the back of the high shelves...and now that I'm middle aged, guys don't find it all that cute anymore.

  18. You know, I haven't had a TV in at least 15 years, and it took me to within an inch of the bottom of your post to realize your "Gopher" was that reach-thingy at the top of your post!

    I know, "Duh!"

    At 5'2" you'd think I would need one of those, except that I have an Ape Factor of +4, meaning my knuckles drag when I walk, so I'm Good to Go in the grocery store!

  19. Ha! This is great stuff, Lisa. Loved the visual on this. Had me laughing since I can completely relate.

    "I drift around the store repeating quit it, put that thing away, stop it, and don't make me call security while being menaced by one or both of them wielding the metal and plastic pincer claw grabbing my butt, my upper arm flab and whatever coupon I'm holding."

    Did I mention my oldest is 24???

  20. Ha! I movie-starred you. Meaning I pictured you way taller because you have the requisite movie star head (which really means "big", but in a good way). I can't commiserate with your problems. Being the tall one I am always asked to reach stuff for others.

  21. Thanks for cracking me up today lady. Never heard of these things before but I can see how it would be useful. However, I believe my hubby would try to torment me with it so I don't think I'll be getting one soon. Plus he's 6'2" so I make him get stuff I can't reach.

  22. Ha ha! I would get one but I have a tall sweetie to do the reaching so I think I'm all set.

  23. Title for Book: The Gopher Diaries, a short comedy

  24. "Ma'am, we'd prefer it if you'd come on out of the freezer now."
    They'd prefer it?
    There are many things I'd prefer.
    Great philosophers said, "You can't always get what you want ... but if ya try sometimes, you just might find...


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