"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
Focus on law enforcement
Members of several local and regional law enforcement agencies hit the streets of downtown Ashland Tuesday armed with digital cameras and assignment sheets as they completed in-service photography instruction through the Department of Criminal Justice.
Obama admin. says health subsidies will continue
A federal appeals court delivered a potentially serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law Tuesday, imperiling billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.
State’s longest trail system turns 35
The Sheltowee Trace was officially dedicated as part of the National Recreation Trail system in 1979. After 35 years, the trail remains Kentucky’s longest distance trail, estimated at 307 miles.
Pancake releases new album
The top of the Sky Tower in downtown Ashland was booming Saturday night with music from Larry Pancake’s new album “Fair Weather Friend.”
Telephone scammer fleeces man of $5,000
A telephone scammer claimed another area victim when a Williams Avenue man paid $5,000 after the con artist told him he had won a sweepstakes but had to pay taxes on the prize money before collecting it, according to Ashland Police Department reports.
Murder defendant pleads guilty on lesser charge, sentenced to 8 years
One of four charged with murder in a 2008 double killing pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday just before his trial was to start.
MIA Rush Marine to rest in Arlington
Finding Dottie McCoy’s uncle after 71 years was the biggest part of the struggle.
Morehead gets Trail Town status
It has been two and a half years in the making and it happens today.
Morehead will officially be designated a Kentucky Trail Town following Dawson Springs and Livingston.
Fallsburg’s traditional haunt attracts unique talents
Brian Cassidy said there is no substitute for individual talent while tackling tasks ranging from sculpting a massive hillbilly to inventing paintball gun brackets capable of withstanding the pressures caused by an incoming zombie attack.
Local in brief: 7/22/14
The Kentucky Interagency Coordination Center on Sunday mobilized two fire crews to assist with firefighting efforts in the western United States.
- More Local News Headlines
- Focus on law enforcement