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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Monday
Nov132006

In other words, the kids are alright.

[I actually wrote this last year, and chose not to post it. My standards back then were much higher.]

Yesterday [IF YESTERDAY WERE IN THE YEAR 2005--ed.] at the local Barnes and Noble: an extremely old woman in a wheelchair, unhappy about most everything and letting everyone know it. When I first heard her she was planted by the magazines, grousing about the placement of a bench. “Why is this bench here when it wasn’t here yesterday?” she growled to all the readers who were avoiding her coke-bottle-glassed glare. “How do you expect me to get by when this bench is right here with all these people on it?” This seemed sensible. How could she pass through matter when she herself is composed of matter? Do they take her for a neutrino?

While thinking this I looked away, and when I heard her again she had somehow whipped her wheelchair around so that she was reversing herself down the narrow space between the reading benches and the magazine stand, purposely backing into a group of schoolchildren who were reading “Tiger Beat” or whatever kids read. “Beep beep beep!” she yelled. “Wheelchair, backing up! Wheelchair! Backing up!” The schoolchildren were frightened. Some of them scrambled out of the way, while others stared in horror at the wheels about to crush them. “You’re not allowed to sit there! Move it! Move it! You’re disgusting!” she yelled. At last an employee intervened, gently stating, “Ma’am, stop abusing the customers. The children are allowed to sit there. The children are not disgusting.”

Reader Comments (34)

Well, judging by the quality of the boy bands kids listen to these days, they probably were disgusting little blisters. I mean, take Kevin Federline for instance. That's a scab if I've ever seen one.

And Tiger Beat, HAH! Kids in modern times are probably reading How To manuals on sex and bomb making.

God, would you listen to me. What am I, a hundred and five? When I was young we didn't have shoes!!!
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJemima
Oh crap. I have seen the future me, and it ain't pretty.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSuebob
The post was great, but honestly, Suebob. Your comment made it 100 times better.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjonniker
Tiger Beat! OH MY GOD! I'm convulsing just thinking about the junior high version of myself who used to rip out pictures of the stars of Home Improvement and tape them in her locker. Those kids might not be, but I definitely AM disgusting.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura D.
I do this every evening in our family room, verbatim. I see now that I need WHEELS to achieve the desired response. Were they motorized or manual? Maybe I should get a John Deere.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKyran
You'd think she'd have better manners, since they were part of the school curriculum when she was young.

Has anyone else noticed that Young Miss became Young and Modern at some point? Which I suppose is still better than a teen mag called Heroin Chic.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie
Ah, for the 7th Avenue Barnes and Noble. I'm weeping here in suburbia.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterElena
Heh. Old ladies are funny.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermom on a wire
I have this mental picture of the old wheelchair lady in Waking Ned Devine. I'm laughing tears. "The children are not disgusting." Pffffft!
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSonja
Suebob's comment made me pee a little. *snort*
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSonia (DDM)
I think this bitter old lady would be helpful to have around next time I go to Whole Foods in NY.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterteresa
I love this so much.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNew Jan Brady
Yikes! I can't decide who I like more...
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBethiclaus
I had something to say, but then I read Suebob's comment and I can't stop laughing.
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMir
There's something kind of amazing about how matter of fact that employee was. Customer service as oppositional fact statements.

"No, your computer is NOT broken."

"Yes, your coffee IS hot."

"No, we did NOT spit in your food."

Who could possibly continue to fight in the face of such confidence?
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMeg
Oh my God where do you live- I know this woman! Hmmm or maybe there is more than one...
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterElisa
Suebob's comment was the perfect response to this post.

Crabby old ladies: You can't love them, you can't hate them. All you can do is throw laptops on them.

(okay. that was lame.)
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchirky
Argh! No wonder old people get stereotyped. If I make it that old, someone stop me before I complete forget I ever had a childhood.
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJonathon
You know what that is - it's a page right out of Roald Dahl.
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbubandpie
If that was written a year ago, then I totally know this woman - it's got to be the same one. She's a sweetheart, isn't she?
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBrooklyn Mama
Tiger Beat...that brings back memories. Just to date myself, let me tell you who I used to cut out of Tiger Beat and put up on my wall with scotch tape: Bobby Sherman!!!



November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMauigirl52
I was a Shaun Cassidy girl myself. I liked my teen idols completely asexual.
November 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVelma
Suebob's comment cracked me up.
November 15, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjaleh Teymourian
I love your snarly description of the old codger. "Beep beep!" Love that.
November 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRuth Dynamite
Tiger Beat rocked my prepubescent world. The following centerfolds were removed from said magazine and taped to my wall:

Kevin Bacon (with Footloose hair)Rob LoweJohn Taylor with fedoraJohn Taylor without fedoraJohn Taylor with different fedoraJohn Taylor with yet another fedora

And Alice, I love your posts by the way. Can I have a poster of you to put on my wall?
November 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEva

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