The most mentally healthy person I ever met lives entirely without regret. His thinking? He makes the best decision he can at the time with the information he has at that moment. He makes a choice and lives with it. No looking back.
This degree of personal evolution fills me with awe. My family is famous, or more correctly, infamous, for Simonizing. In the squeaky unsullied world of dry cleaning, I think Simonize was a trademark for some process that guaranteed not to shrink your clothes. My clothes do seem to shrink, but only after an over-indulgence in peanut M&Ms. Our clan’s particular brand of Simonizing has to do with being genetically unable to live at ease with any type of decision. So, coming from where I do, the impulse to second guess myself has been elevated to an art form. In sharp contrast to the above thinking, those to whom I am related decide on a course of action and spend the next three or four months questioning it. This is not restful. It is not restful to us who perpetrate it and it most assuredly is not restful to anyone remotely impacted by one of our proffered choices. Trying to get one of us to pick a restaurant is the stuff of high comedy and low productivity. What if the food isn’t good? What if the service is bad? What if there is a long wait? What if, what if, what if. There are days I think we invented what if. Although not entirely without risk, choosing the wrong restaurant rarely results in a fatality. Key word there is rarely. But what if this is one of those unlikely times when the stars of fate align and point straight at ptomaine poisoning? What if that happens and it’s all our fault? What if, what if, what if. Makes you want to scream, doesn’t it? And you’re not actually in the room with us. Those who are in immediate proximity don’t enjoy the luxury of folding the newspaper and walking away.
Which leads me, albeit in an extremely convoluted way, to the topic of those who have second thoughts while shopping. While I admittedly have a very low threshold for being amused, it interests me no end to see what people put into their carts only to re-think the advisability of walking out of the store with it. When doubt overtakes want, they remove the newly rejected item from their shopping carts and leave it. Do they leave it where they found it? No they do not. They leave it on the nearest shelf anywhere in the store, obviously and demonstrably changing their minds mid-shop. This is why we find bags of peanut M&Ms in the detergent aisle. And once again, I am awed. Anyone with the will power to remove a bag of M&Ms from their cart surely must have the will power to walk back to the candy aisle. Because saying no to peanut M&Ms is like denying your humanity. Chocolate and peanuts, fat and protein. All wrapped up in a hard shell coating. In different colors! That, my friends, is as good as it gets in the food department. But alas, no. This ambrosia is cast aside just like, just like, well, just like it was a Twizzler or some other inferior excuse for candy. This mid-merchant mind changing is also responsible for baby shoes in the bread aisle, silk flowers in the lamp aisle, and underwear in pet food. I once found donuts placed, apparently with all the gentle reverence they deserve, on top of paper towels. Again, the issue of will power comes into play. The penetrating aroma of deep-fried dough covered in sprinkles is very nearly irresistible. No one can be faulted for falling prey to what many of us consider to be the three basic food groups … fat, bread, and sugar. The larger question is, how does anyone have the gumption to dig those donuts out from beneath the Charmin and leave them bereft amongst the Bounty?
A special nod of recognition goes to those who get all the way to the check out line before perusing their prospective purchases and having not an ah-hah moment but an un-uh moment. At this point, of course, it’s too late to dump that package of batteries in with the blue jeans. The choices are slim. They consist of either passing the item on to the cashier with a very sheepish look and admitting you don’t want a DVD of Rock Hudson movies or stuffing rock’s greatest hits next to the mints and gum. Which explains why we so frequently find rock among the mints and gum. But not by anyone in my family. We would have gone ahead and bought it. And returned it a day later. Lots of looking back.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for Miami Valley Today.