Yesterday on my lunch hour I made a quick stop over to the grocery store. I had to smile at all the last minute Valentine’s Day shoppers. The card aisle was packed. The floral area was teaming with people picking up last minute potted orchids and bunches of cut flowers. What I liked about it was that everyone seemed to be in a good mood. It wasn’t at all like those last minute Christmas shoppers, with their wild eyes and that “Grandma would love a Justin Beber CD, right? Sure. Okay, who’s next on the list?” panic. These Valentine’s Day shoppers all seemed a bit bemused as they sorted through the cards for the least terrible one still left.
Laughing to myself (and admittedly feeling a bit smug about having bought my card two weeks ago,) I got in line. And that is where it happened – where my light and happy mood became something else entirely.
We all know that grocery store checkouts are a gauntlet of terribleness, but let’s face it, after you go through enough of them, you become mostly immune to their evil. I can easily ignore the shelves upon shelves of brightly wrapped sugary confections; all marked with big yellow sale stickers …because nothing makes a better Valentine’s Day gift than a box of spearmint Tic Tacs. (Then again, maybe it is the perfect gift, who am I to judge?) I can laugh at the shelves of “last minute emergency items.” (A lighter, a laser pointer and dog treats? Oh yes, I absolutely need those!) There is, however, one other section in the checkout – the tabloids.
I’m not a tabloid reader, and never have been, but when stuck in line behind others, I will glance over and scan the headlines from time to time. Yesterday, I was shocked and sickened by what I saw. No longer was it the standard so and so’s divorce, marriage, pregnancy, etc. that I remember from days of yore, instead every headline was cruel and mean viciousness. They seemed to be calling out for people to laugh and make mockery of these celebrities. Some were so extreme I doubted they were true, but even if they were, it felt like… bullying. Look, I know celebrities have a certain price to pay for their fame. I understand that being in the limelight also means being under the public microscope, but it all felt like we’ve gone way too far. By the time I got to the point of where I could put my groceries on the belt, I felt dirty, cheap and mean just for looking at this kind of stuff. That is when I decided: no more.
I refuse to look at tabloid covers anymore. I don’t need to feel like that, and honestly, if these people are going through a hard time – I wish them well and hope they get through it okay. I don’t need to see their dirty laundry aired in lurid colored photos. I know that my resolution means nothing to the tabloid industry, I’ve never actually picked one up while in line, let alone bought one. I’m simply not a customer. This choice is for myself only. While in line I will look up and think about blog posts I need to write, or stare down into my cart and try to remember whatever item I meant to get but forgot, or even look over at the “last minute” shelves and make up stories about what kind of evening someone was having that they would need a car air freshner, fingernail clippers and a Matchbox car. Whatever I do, I refuse to look at the tabloids titles again. It just isn’t worth it.