New Castle News

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April 12, 2014

Josh Drespling: The quest for antifreeze and horseradish in the land of Wally World

NEW CASTLE — I was on a undeniable quest for horseradish and antifreeze.

My auto had taken a turn for the worse as would be expected from any General Motors product of its age. This poor girl has 150,000 miles on her tired bolts and joints. She longs to drink some of that sweet, glowing green nectar. I must let the beast indulge on occasion. It calms her demons and keeps us on speaking terms.

Horseradish? This aromatic root of divine righteousness is a staple that every home should indulge in, though curiously, I find it as welcome as haggis or casu marzu on American dinner tables. Baffling.

I roll into the vast parking field of Wally World. I'm two parts trooper and three parts maverick. Prepared to wage battle in the land of milk and honey from the cursed pit of our suckling society. You can argue the accuracy of my foe's description, but the conclusion deeply relies on your perspective on life, politics, and economics.

I imagine myself like the infamous Hunter S. Thompson, clad in a bucket hat and large sunglasses. After all, we are in Smiley Face country. I'm a modern day Louis and Clark treading on the interior of the unspeakable. Breaking new ground for the lowest common denominator in the land of flesh-colored yoga pants, crackheads, and discounted processed foods. Did I mention the smiley faces? Never mind. You will find out soon enough.

I tumble forward, not unlike Joshua and the Israelites into Caanan. A land of evil giants, price drops, and grapes the size of my oblong head. Now where is that infernal horseradish? Have you ever tried to buy horseradish? It's an impossible task. Seems like a mundane undertaking, an easily attainable condiment. But no.

Look, they have jerky. I need jerky. Cupcakes. Yes, strawberry cake deliciousness filled with more strawberries and topped with strawberry icing. You beckon me like an addict to the needle or a moth to a flame. Yes, I'll partake of your sinful temptation. They have everything between these four walls. Everything I need, or don’t need.

I have forgotten to prepare myself for this battle. The battle against impulsive purchases. They equipped me with their dissuader of frugal thought, the shopping cart. Fill the baby up, swipe the card. We need this stuff, lots of stuff!

My cart runneth over. I have copious amounts of things that for a moment, my mind told me was a necessity. I have 10 times more Easter candy than anybody could ever need, toothpaste, razors, and three boxes of Teddy Grahams. Yet, I still have not found what I came here for. The antifreeze and horseradish have escaped me as I wander the maze of foreign products awash in florescent lighting.

There’s another diabolical smiley face. Don’t let it see me! Price drop, my derriere. Intelligence drop, I could swallow that, but price is negotiable, and convenience is paramount. So onward through the land of flagitious giants I tumble.

I exit through the payment portal with all my wares. I roll to my vehicle and let her partake of the precious juice she has been jonesin' for. The battle is over and the spoils go to a suit-and-tie guy in a faraway land paved with the dreams of my fellow Americans. With fear and loathing, I depart the retail world. Savages, I say.

In my brash attempt to escape their clutches, I neglected to even get my horseradish. I've been foiled. Back to the front, soldier, and this time you might as well splurge on the flip-flops, shotgun shells, and chapstick.

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