I've always suspected that if there is a hell, there is a sense of humor and a sense of justice in the whole thing. Hell isn't just an inferno of cages, we're not all just thrown in a pit where the devil comes to periodically visit with serpents and there is constant wailing of suffering 24 hours per day. I think it's customized, our own personal hell, if you will. Until today, I pictured mine as being stuck for eternity in a small, windowless cave with John Mayer, Kendra Wilkinson and perhaps a Kardashian sister (doesn't matter which one). Dire Straits music would be piped in 23 hours per day. John Mayer would sing live the remaining hour.
That was until last week. Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Kohl's Children Museum in Glenview, Illinois. Friends with pre-schoolers have told me great things about this museum, and I plan to use this as an excuse to break off all contact with them. Because truth be told I don't really like any of my friends with kids anyway.
Apparently the city officials of Glenview don't believe in limiting the number of humans a facility can pack into a certain amount of square footage. Perhaps my first tip-off would have been the fact there was only one space left (two minutes after the place opened) in a parking lot that was the size of 100 football fields.
The high-pitched, frenetic screaming that greeted us as we entered might have been the next tip-off. But I'm not one to take hints. Instead, as a mob of sweaty, ill-behaved children surrounded us like hungry wolves, I paid my $21 and decided to head upstairs where surely it was more quiet. Except there's not an upstairs. So we headed into a fake grocery store that made the Jewel on Ashland on a Sunday night feel like the library. I don't like REAL grocery stores, filled mainly with adults, so I certainly don't like fake ones, jam-packed with toddlers stealing items out of each other's carts and then screaming bloody murder.
A kid about four whose name I later learned was Thomas (pronounced TOW-MAH, which I think is the fancy French pronunciation but his mother spoke native Chicago), roughly grabbed a plastic tomato right out of one of the girls' hands while the mother looked on and continued to text her boyfriend (her eyes were gleaming and she was giggling -- she was NOT texting her husband or work). I grabbed said vegetable (or is a tomato a fruit?) back and told him not to do it again. He cowered and she gave me a dirty look, but soon went back to facebooking or tweeting or whatever it is about 80 percent of the adults were doing when they should have been watching their kids maul unsuspecting victims. (Prediction: a new psychological disorder will present itself in teenagers in about 10 years -- it will be directly linked to a sense of inferiority because their parents pay more attention to their iPhones than to them.)
Ironically, at this hellish museum that day, there was a Smokey the Bear exhibit (isn't that the fire prevention animal?), and I thought it would make a good headline in the newspaper: Scores of Families Die During Smokey the Bear Exhibit in Fire Code Violation at Children's Museum.
I didn't want to be a statistic so I got us the out of there before we all smothered. So if God is reading my blog (and why wouldn't He?) and is looking for a suitable punishment for me in the hereafter, now He knows: Me. 4 million toddlers. Inattentive caregivers. A Smokey the Bear exhibit. A faux shopping environment. A threat of spontaneous combustion. Glenview, Illinois.
Someone else will have to listen to Kendra cackle as John Mayer talks about Jessica Simpson's boobs while sitting next to a signature Kardashian caboose with Money for Nothing in the background.
PS -- Below is the girls after the debacle -- I wanted a survival photo as I'm pretty sure we were four extra toddlers away from death. I put them in their new tutu bathing suits (Old Navy, $10), gave them lollipops as rewards for surviving the ordeal and went to the water park. Where a new set of children and parents continued to annoy me.
I am building a list of grievances we've suffered at the park for another post. It is lengthy, including an incident where a kid came at the girls WITH A SHARP STICK and the mother soothingly said, "No stick, honey, no stick." And when the kid wouldn't drop the stick she said, "Ooohh, honey, be gentle with the stick" AS HE CONTINUED TO WAVE IT IN MY GIRLS' FACES. Be gentle! With a stick! I grabbed the stick, broke it in half and tossed in on the ground while the mother watched in horror.
PSS -- I've been writing a bit over at the blog that surprisingly pays me about Joran Van Der Sloot and whether his mother might have seen signs that he had psychological problems when he was a child. Scarily, right after I wrote that, one of the girls left me this present (?) before nap time. And I wondered if this is a sign akin to torturing small animals:
It's one of those nose plunger things with a half-eaten lollipop stuck inside. She left it right on the tv stand where I couldn't miss it after telling me she "doesn't HAVE TO nap!!!" It looks like a sinister gesture to me... Like she hasn't learned how to give the finger yet but this is pretty darn close. I'm slightly worried...
PSSS -- Last one, sorry. Does anyone know who designed the Kohls Children's Museum logo? Because might I suggest he or she add about 3,999,999 more hands to the design to give a more accurate feel to the place's ambiance?