I don’t know about the rest of you, but I never use to have any problem making decisions. I was the kind of guy people came to when they needed an opinion or someone to make a difficult decision, but now I can’t make up my mind about even the simplest of things. Why? Too many choices, that’s why! When I was a kid, there were choices, but they were limited to two per situation. Playing was either inside or out and when you made that decision, by God you weren’t allowed to change your mind. Dinner was either eat or starve and when the news came on TV, I could choose to either shut up or shut the hell up. Things were much more simple, when I was young.
I went to the hardware store the other day to get some paint for my bathroom. The first choice I had to make was to which hardware store I should go. That’s an easy one. Nobody at any chain hardware store knows anything about hardware, so I just chose the one closest to my house. I walked up to the clerk and said that I wanted to paint my bathroom walls gray with dark red trim. “What color gray?” he said with a combination of confusion and arrogance in his voice. I asked him how many different grays they had and he pulled out a book that made War and Peace look like a pamphlet on the early warning signs of sexually transmitted diseases (not that I’ve ever seen such a pamphlet). I wanted to narrow it down, so I said light gray and he gave me a choice of seventeen light grays, all with ridiculous names! Seventeen?! There was Storm Cloud, City Sidewalk, Slate, Steel, Gloomy Day and there was even one called Rebel Uniform. After what seemed like an eternity I just asked the clerk to match the paint color to the gray hair that I had developed while he was explaining the nuances of each color palette. Once I got my gray paint, then he asked me which one of the thirty four reds I wanted. The final colors of my bathroom are Distinguished Gentleman on the walls with Murder Scene of a Hardware Store Clerk trim.
You can’t even find a simple selection of candles anymore. Everyone loves a nice smelling candle, be it to set the mood of the season, fill your house with the scent of food that you can’t possibly recreate by cooking or possibly to get that special lady in a romantic mood (for me, that smell is called MasterCard Gold). As I’m perusing through the endless aisles of candles, I begin to get overwhelmed by how many options from which there are to choose. What the hell does Midnight Shadow smell like and why does Calypso Sands smell exactly like Ocean Breeze?! I think they’re just trying to confuse us with scents that can’t be identified. The only way I’ll ever know what Evening Sky smells like is when I jump off a six story building at night, after realizing that I wasted my Saturday trying to find a candle whose scent was the exact same thing that I could get if I opened my windows. My last words before I hit the pavement will be, “I wonder if the Evening Sky smells different than Bloodstained Sidewalk?”
I think the worst offender of this overabundance of options is baby names. There are so many names from which to pick that it takes longer to choose the name than it does to settle the lawsuit you filed against the condom company. When I was in school, I knew two Roberts, four Mikes, three Kims and six Terries (two girls and four boys) and that’s the way I liked it! I didn’t have to take extra time to remember fifty different names and if I yelled a name across the hall, I knew I could get at least three responses. Now, I hear parents naming their kids all sorts of crazy things. My friends are having a girl in a few months and they have narrowed it down to Aubrey, Essence or Jaidyn. I told them to choose Essence. That way, when she turns eighteen, she’ll have a steady income of dollar bills stuck in her G-String by drunken guys named Alden, Cullen and Squire.
All I ask is to narrow down my options a little. I’m too old to spend four hours trying to figure out which style of jeans to buy or what brand of toothpaste will whiten and brighten, all while preventing gum disease. The only time I need too many options is with sports channels and strip clubs.
About: Ted Snyder
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