"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."
- Local News
AK Steel posts smaller 2Q loss
AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS) on Tuesday reported a smaller loss in its second quarter, and topped analysts' expectations.
UPDATE: Major impact downtown in accident
A morning accident left an ambulance resting on its side Tuesday morning in front of the Paramount Arts Center on Winchester Avenue.
Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years
The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
Hagerman talks law with Rotary
At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
POLICE BEAT: Houseguest steals valuables, nabbed at pawn shop
Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse
This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.
Study shows room for parking improvement
It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.
Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland
A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.
Gate City landmark demolished
The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.
Local counties see drop in unemployment
Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
- More Local News Headlines
- AK Steel posts smaller 2Q loss