"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
- Local Sports
One-run fun: Ashland on smiling side of close game vs. East
After opening the season with a 2-1 victory, Ashland has had a hard time cracking the close game code.
- Hensley rises, fires as Kittens win big
- Diller, Mackie spark Raceland
- Red Devil trio 3-hits J. Central
- West improves to 10-2, 2-0 against Lewis
- One-run fun: Ashland on smiling side of close game vs. East
Jeremy McComb enjoys Tri-State's limelight
Jeremy McComb’s career has been a wild ride, especialy in the last week.
The lead single from his latest album was released on iTunes last week and it was a huge success right from the start.
- Festival to showcase new plays
- What's happening: 4/14/14
- 04/13/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State
- 04/13/2014 — Regional poetry
- Jeremy McComb enjoys Tri-State's limelight
While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO region with its own electrical company.
- 'Waited too long'
- Enact HB 3
- State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer
- Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues
- What's next?
Lana Bellamy: Waking up America's youth: 4/18/14
I once read a quote by a man saying the reason today’s youth do not have the same “spunk” as youth in the past is because they do not have inspiration.
- Mark Maynard: Let’s just forget about it: 04/17/14
- Uncovering forgotten treasures
- Political stories worth retelling
- Tim Preston: Great salmon; finding Dr. Amy; and more Maria: 4/13/14
- Lana Bellamy: Waking up America's youth: 4/18/14
- College Basketball
Another amazing finish
Kentucky defeated Wisconsin 74-73 in the national semifinals on Saturday night, winning again on a late 3-pointer from Aaron Harrison. The Wildcats play for their ninth championship on Monday night against Connecticut.
- Kentucky freshmen against UConn comeback players
- Kentucky took the hard way to verge of Final Four
- Seldom-used Hood plays different roles at Kentucky
- NCAA TOURNAMENT: Cats, Cardinals both play Friday night at 9:40
- Another amazing finish
- CNHI News Service Originals
Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
The president of Minnesota State University-Mankato accused a football coach of looking at Internet porn on a work computer before firing him, an arbitrator has revealed. The official said the claim could not be supported, and the coach shouldn't have been fired.
- Investigators seek cause of fire that killed 3 brothers
- Sibling says Dexter drama motivated sister's 'lie' of mass murder
- No shows escaped death by Craigslist killer
- A 9-year-old's 'avalanche' of ailments confounds specialists
- Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites