Big box blues

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What’s Wrong with Daddy? by Jase Graves

As I have mentioned in previous columns, I look forward to bathing-suit shopping with my daughters almost as much as major dental surgery without anesthesia. But that’s exactly where I found myself recently when my youngest daughter informed me that we were a few days away from an upcoming high school end-of-year swim party, and if she didn’t get a new swimsuit, she might have to wear a modified Hefty bag (which didn’t sound all that bad to me).

Needless to say, I soon found myself in Target. Yes, this was before the Satanist clothing designer-Pride display debacle officially “hit the fan.” I do think I saw a Pride display out of the corner of my eye, but I could have seen President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin mud wrestling – in the nude – and not been distracted. I was on a mission to find a modest bathing suit for my daughter – and then find the exit as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, I didn’t consider the fact that a dad doesn’t just take his daughters into a big box store like Target and purchase only one item. To complicate matters, I also brought my middle daughter, who is home from college for the summer, for moral support.

I spent the first part of this expedition leaning against a display of men’s briefs while my daughters argued in the dressing room about which swimsuits I would reject for revealing too much elbow. In fact, they were in there for so long that I could have crocheted them an appropriate 1800s-style bathing gown myself.

Instead, I began pondering the potential loss of another big box store since Bed Bath & Beyond recently filed for bankruptcy. I really enjoyed shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond. It was one of the few places where I could choose from a wide selection of toilet brushes, spatulas and Mother’s Day cards – sometimes all at once. Besides, the whole store smelled kind of like my wife’s shower soap, which I may or may not use when I get the urge to feel refreshed and moisturized.

Once the girls came out and assured me that their swimsuit choices would be suitable for a Sunday night hymn sing at church, I tried to head to the checkout line – but they redirected me first to the pool toy section, then to the grocery section, and then to the toiletries and cosmetics.

Here is a list of our purchases (Mind you, we went in for one dad-approved bathing suit.):

  • Two swimsuits (including one bikini that I told my youngest daughter I would be wearing before she does)
  • Two jumbo inflatable pool floats (that someone will puncture within the week)
  • A pack of strawberry lemonade green bubble tea (I’m still not exactly sure what that is.)
  • Two enormous bags of gourmet popcorn with Himalayan salt (I didn’t think it tasted Himalayan at all.)
  • A sparkly-purple ergonomic woman’s razor (I didn’t ask questions.)
  • A large jar of birthday-cake shea sugar body scrub (Huh?)
  • Some “blush fantasy” tinted lip balm (Whatever happened to Chapstick?)
  • A giant container of Extra-Strength TUMS (for me)

Once I recovered from the shock over the total on my receipt, I resolved to be grateful for the time spent with my daughters. I also promised myself that the next time someone asks me for a new swimsuit, I’m heading to Walmart for some Hefty bags.

Copyright 2023 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].

Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. He is also a frequent contributor to The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop, which named him Writer of the Month for June of 2017, and he has served as a judge in the Erma Bombeck/Anna Lefler Humorist in Residence program.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists says, "Whether he's breaking down the common types of yard sale denizens ('The Lingerer . . .she was here so long, I'll probably be able to claim her on my next tax return') or sharing cautionary tales of mattress shopping, Jason flays suburban life with a sharp wit. Shopping for his daughter's swimsuits, he wonders if he has 'strayed into the first aid section and . . .was looking at a new line of colorful ACE bandages.'"

Other than writing, his hobbies include berating the television when the Texas A&M Aggie football team is playing and sleeping as late as possible.