My wife wanted some Campari. She likes the stuff. On the rocks, tonic, dash of lemon: it’s her springtime refresher. The store I usually frequent was out. Next door was Traders Joes, which usually has the lurid red ichor, so I walked over - ahhh, no. There was a line. They were restricting access, because the TJ store is cramped.

Since the Duration began I’ve not been to TJ’s, because of the line. I asked the masked representative of the Trader Joe Corporation if this was also the line for the spirits store; he said it was. One line for all. I could see in the spirits section: there was one person.

“People go in there, then they go into the main store,” he said. That defeated the entire purpose of the line.

“But I wouldn’t do that,” I said. He shrugged. Doesn’t matter.

I looked at the line. It went to the corner of the building. I walked to the end of the line, and realized it extended around the corner and back many yards. There were twenty people, all masked, all staring down at their phones, waiting for permission.

This was ridiculous. I felt the same tired surge of Soviet-flavored bile I get every time I go shopping these days. I get a hot tangy flare when I see that the store has a shipment of hand soap in - I know we probably have enough at home, for a while, but when something that wasn’t in stock shows up, you notice it. Oh there’s been a breakthrough on the Eurasian front, they captured the soap-making district, and now this previously bounteous consumer good, which disappeared, is available again. I’d best move on it.

Never in my life did I think I’d come back from a shopping trip and say “no ground beef again, but look at this! Soap!”

I knew there was another spirits store a few miles away, because they advertise in our paper and I should support them for that. Ridiculous name: LIQUOR BOY. Not two words you expect to see together; it’s like HEROIN LAD or ALCOHOL BABY. The drive took me through a nice retail area where we used to go for movies, a dinner out. It’s where my dentist’s office is located. An upscale commercial node. I don’t think I’ve been there since this began.

The movie marquee was empty.

I’d say half the storefronts were empty. Not closed for the duration, but signage down and FOR RENT signs up. This is one of of the most prosperous shopping districts in town.

LIQUOR BOY was located in a shopping area that had Permitted Commerce - Target, Home Depot. There was a large furniture store that was open, and practicing distance, the signs assured us. The lots were jammed. You’d never know anything had changed.

LIQUOR BOY, as it turned out, was smaller than I expected. They had Campari. The clerk wasn’t wearing a mask. No plexiglass shields. But they were essential, as opposed to all the small shops I’d passed on the way.

Drove back the same way, looked up at my dentist’s office as I passed, and wondered if he’d be back. He had a nice practice. Loyal patients. His daughter grew up to be a dentist, and was going to take over the business, but well, you know, #stayhome now.

The simplest journeys outside the house these days produces a struggle between anger and sadness, and I feel so damned tired when I get in the garage and turn off the car.

I am so done with this, I say.

No, I am told. No, you are not.

 

 

 

 

It's 1933.

I may have made the point somewhere that the 30s represented the apotheosis of the advertising craft. Was I right?

Well, I’m not wrong.

Let’s look at this a bit closer:

I mean, 1933 wasn’t the best year, but at least there was happy butter delivered by merry cows who wore a necklace of live smiling flowerheads.

You know what? No, you’re not.

There’s a lot of things you can say about this stuff, but flavor isn’t it. At least it’s better than Grape-Nuts Proper, and makes you wonder - if I could have this in flake form, why would I have it in the original hard-gravel form?

You’ve got a lot of time on your hands, don’t you

Here’s a good indication of what TP was like. Pucker up:

He can’t see it, because he was disfigured in the war by shrapnel.

The little girl would be in her mid 90s now.

Everyone agrees it is an excellent FOOD DRINK.

Wait a minute - isn’t that chocolate syrup?

“Doctors recognize the blood-regenerating properties of Bosco.” Sure they did.

Nurse, this man is anemic and he’s hemorraging! Apply some Bosco topically, stat!

It’s not a perfect design - the bottom right’s a bit crunched. But look at the colors!

They might have had a depression, but the world of magazines was a world of beauty.

Remember that going forward, as you judge the world to come.

 

That'll do; better mood tomorrow, I swear.

 

 

 
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