February 2000
s m u g
by J. Betty Ray

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Costco Ate My Dingo!

"Yesterday, the night of the Full Moon Solstice, my roommate and I went to Costco. We are hosting Christmas dinner at our house on Saturday, and we need provisions for a home-cooked meal. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, the whole nine. We expect somewhere between 10 and 200 people to show up on our house for a drive-by, open house party.

Stace and I do these gigs well. Our parties are legendary. I like to think it's because we're both into creating a vibe, and together our energies really know how to put on a gathering. Maybe it's just because we've both been professional cooks, and can really kick out the chow.

Costco is a discount warehouse club kinda place that sells everything in bulk. It takes up one full South of Market city block. I can't even conceive of how much $ they bring in, and the amount of shit output on a daily basis. It's a garbage-producing colossus, complete with fork lifts hoisting flats of crap throughout the aisles, and driven by minimum wage employees donning hard hats. A bargain-hunter's paradise! Smart shoppers shop Costco!

Actually, smart shoppers know better than to walk in there this time of year. And certainly not without a survival strategy.

We get a late start, and are heading over at 4. Despite the fact that most people who work around here don't leave work til 9pm most every night, the streets are choked with cars. We pull into the underground lot after 45 minutes in traffic, and rehearse our tactics for the ensuing tryst with mass gluttony:

"Okay, laugh. We have to remember to laugh."

"Right. Absurd product names are always good...'Febreze'...how much do you think they paid the branding people to dream up 'Febreze,' anyway?

"Yeah! And all the crap packaged in plastic...'What do you think the cockroaches will do with this after the collapse of the economy?' Ha! We'll be fine, so long as we remember to laugh."

We go in and blaze through the joint in record time. No time for jokes; we are motivated to make it out alive. I succumb to only one moment of horror in a solo sojourn back to the produce section for tomatoes as Stace heads to the check-out lanes. I walk the full city block to the back of the store, and it's rows and rows and rows - ENDLESS towering rows of crap. TVs and dog food and Millennial Snickerdoodles and office chairs and gallons of mayo and free samples of gnarly looking shrimp cocktail and commemorative Y2K bottle openers and plush toys and huge whole salmons with their cloudy dead eyeballs cast up at the ceiling. I picture the cockroaches in their new haven, but can't find a humorous angle to save my life.

I back out a couple of directories and take a mental snapshot: One moment in time, in one city on this planet, and the absurd level of human obliviousness is staggering. Surely this scene is amplified by the holiday frenzy, but the image is seared into my brain. I select one box of tomatoes - "vine-ripened," perfectly round, and no doubt engineered in a lab using elephant chromosomes - and head back to find Stace amid the swarms of shoppers with mounded carts in the check-out area.

Stace is in a fight with the check-out girl, who claims she "has no bags left," and too bad we have a cartload of shit without any way to carry it home. The girl shrugs her shoulders helplessly. Stace's Jewish bitch side is awakened, like the kundalini from deep within her Scorpio soul, and she rips the girl a new asshole. Nothing pisses her off more than someone feigning powerlessness. I love that about her.

The girl produces bags.

We get home, exhausted. Power shopping at Costco is not for the faint of heart. Especially as I have been re-defining my priorities w/r/t who gets my crap-buying dollar. I have betrayed my values tonight in order to save heaps of $ hosting a holiday party for our friends and loved ones. I need to save money so I can start my own company. One that doesn't shovel more shit into the universe, and indeed, one that launches endless memes to the contrary. The Catch-22 depresses me, and I am motivated to make this party that much more magical.

I go outside to catch a glimpse of the Solstice. The moon hangs heavy and mysterious, and there are people running around, howling. It's bright, to be sure. Seems a shame to waste this beautiful night inside. I consider calling friends and orchestrating an outing to the EndUp where Charlotte the Baroness is spinning outdoors. But I don't.

For all the pre-millennial hype and hysteria, what else can I do at this point but clear? And listen. So much to hear, when the "yammer yammer" of daily life is silenced.

J. Betty Ray is our favorite fucker and soon to be launching Fuckertown


in the junk drawer

feature car
ac/dc gun
decomposing dice
compulsion vise
posedown cheese
and such
and such
blab fan

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