When I was a boy of seven or eight, my mother discovered that I was good for something other than a target for taking out her frustrations with life on a daily basis. It slowly dawned on her that I had developed basic cognitive skills and motor function and could, therefore, be sent to do errands that she either had no time to do or just plain didn't want to do.
So, I was sent off to the local grocery store, an IGA, which sat about a mile from our house on the other side of one of the busiest intersections in our small city. Not only did I get lessons in thrifty shopping and money handling, but real life experience on how to avoid death by automobile.
Most of the time, these trips were to gather basics such as eggs or milk. Sometimes I was given a toughie thrown in the mix, like canning lids or Playtex gloves. I usually never minded these shopping excursions. I liked the atmosphere of the grocery store and always stopped to look at things in that one toy aisle that every grocery store has, or at the magazine rack to see if they had any new comic books.
However, there were trips that I did mind. And those were the once monthly treks for the Big Box 'O Kotex.
I will admit that I was never really sure of this stuff's exact purpose. I knew it was for women. I knew it was used somewhere on the body of women. And I knew that it probably didn't have anything to do with pee or poop. You would have thought that if I was going to have to buy this shit in the economy size carton, that she would have given me a little crash course on it's purpose of being on the grocery shelf. But that wasn't her style.
It didn't really matter though, because it was for girls. And because of that, I didn't like buying it from the very start. It just didn't look right for a guy to be plopping this stuff down on the belt all by it's lonesome, and this was usually bore out by the cashiers reaction. Sometimes, they'd try to act like a little boy buying a box of women's rags was nothing unusual at all. But I saw right through that shit. Other times they'd smile at me, or worse yet, tell me that I was such a nice young man ... picking up things for my mother when she didn't feel well. What the fuck? "Didn't feel well"? She seemed okay to me ... a little crabbier than usual, but not sick. But it didn't matter, regardless of what they did or didn't say. My skin crawled no matter what.
After about a year of this, I'd had it up to my neck with the continued humiliation, real or imagined. I told my mother that my days aiding and abetting her Kotex jones were over. She'd just go have to buy them for herself. At first she tried to bribe me with extra money to buy comic books, but even the temptation of a Batman double quarterly special couldn't convince me to whore out anymore.
This was the first time that I had really stood up to my mother. And to my great relief, she didn't beat me half to death. She said nothing more about it ... and I was free of that particular humiliation.
Fast forward 15 years.
And there I am again. In the grocery store. Placing the single box of "Stayfree Mini-Pads with Wings!" (a.k.a. ... KOTEX) on the conveyor belt. For my wife.
Just when I thought I was out of it. They sucked me back in again.