The Shopping List

Though I resisted the urge to steal a grandma sweater from the Recently Deceased Old Woman's house at Ben & Jocelyn's wedding in Kentucky, if I'm being honest, I did steal something from the house.

My petty theft occurred from post-wedding reception at a boisterous after-party. I was chatting up a couple of new acquaintances and decided to make up a game: choose the funniest knickknack in the house. The parameters wound up being too large, so I narrowed the field to the very busy refrigerator. Someone picked a homely photo of a grandkid, another person chose a hokey printed-out email forward, and I chose a magnet that said, "A Woman's Place Is In The Mall." It made me laugh because, since you're in the kitchen, you assume the sentence will conclude with the word kitchen, but instead it takes a different sexist direction and makes a joke about women and shopping. Rich!

I amended my choice when I spotted a shopping list. It was as simple as this, but cracked me up:

I laughed so hard, I proceeded to steal it.

I forgot that I had pilfered that until I rediscovered it in my jacket pocket the next day. I read the three items on the list repeatedly, but couldn't figure out why I found it humorous, let alone why I enjoyed it enough to take it. Confused, I shared it with Michael to see if he could discern where the hilarity lies. He laughed - only it was directed at me and my absurdity, not the list - and made fun of me for a while, as is par for the course.

Geez, I pondered. I must have been crazy drunk and laughing at just about anything if I thought it was worth taking. I was pretty embarrassed by the whole thing. I had just met two people and thought we had shared some hysterical moment together over this shopping list, but in retrospect, they were probably just humoring my drunken raving and found me strange for pilfering a dead woman's shopping list.

By chance, I bumped into one of the new acquaintances at the airport. We small-talked for a little bit, and although I wanted to bring up the shopping list to sort of apologize for the incident, I couldn't bring myself to do it before ultimately leaving to find my gate.

Separately, about twenty minutes later, Michael also ran into this girl. Never missing an opportunity to make fun of me, he brought up the shopping list to her and talked about how ridiculous I must have been. And you know how she responded? She defended me! She insisted that the whole thing genuinely was funny. That there was this woman who kept a shopping list and needed to buy three items. She bought the salt and then died before she got to the eggs and bleach. Those eggs would never be purchased. It was a symbol of unfulfilled wishes and mortality.

I sort of get it. I bet it was really funny in the moment and in context. More than anything, I just like being vindicated and validated. An incomplete shopping list is, in fact, hilarious... for reasons uncertain.

At any rate, I'm still holding on to the list. Thanks for the souvenir, granny.

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