Thursday, March 30, 2006

Walking the Aisles

What would you do with 41 extra hours?

Many people would devote the extra time to their family or friends. Others might catch up on e-mail, movies, or sleep.

Some would spend the entire time writing blog essays. Stay far away from those folks, they just aren’t right in the head.

But even those people seem smarter than Skyler Bartels of Des Moines, Iowa. Cow tipping must have gotten dull, because this sophomore at Drake University spent nearly two days of his spring break wandering the aisles of a nearby Wal-Mart.

Welcome to my vision of hell.

Here’s what he was going for: a week-long test of endurance that would inspire an article or book about the experience. But in between the video game playing, magazine reading, DVD watching, and snack eating, Bartels found himself so exhausted he started hallucinating.

And that’s despite the naps he took on deck chairs in the seasonal department and on toilets in the restroom.

Until the last hours, employees and other customers failed to notice he was the same guy who had been walking around for almost two days. When some of the helpful staff started looking at him oddly and asking him questions, Bartels decided that the hallucinations weren’t good enough to risk getting in trouble, so he finally exited the store.

He gave up after only 41 hours, which is still about 40 hours and 59 minutes longer than you’d find me in there.

But let's focus on the real issue behind this story.

Bartels was able to loiter for a day and a half without anyone noticing. With our public places manned by such crack security experts—or, more accurately, security experts on crack—I suspect some other things are escaping their attention:

Ambrose Bierce: America's most famous missing literary figure may have kept the mystery of his disappearance going by retiring to discount superstores across the land, where he keeps up on great literature, like Harry Potter and The Da Vinci Code, and challenges himself with SuDoku.

Guys named Ambrose just love SuDoku.

Matthew Perry: Nobody has seen or heard from the most forlorn of Friends in years. I suspect he's either cashiering at a retail store ... or loitering near one, looking to score some good stuff in the parking lot. He probably bides his time waiting for a producer to call and beg him to star in The Whole Eleven Yards.

Keep waiting, Matt.

Bin Ladin: Methinks Public Enemy Number One has been hiding in a Wal-Mart in Kentucky for about four years. He'd certainly appreciate their moral code; the chain refuses to sell the morning-after pill, magazines like Maxim and FHM, and CDs carrying a Parental Advisory label.

He'd also love their less righteous dark side: easy access to violent video games, rifles, and shotguns.

Oh yes, and guys named Usama just love SuDoku, too.


At March 30, 2006 8:18 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

Sorry...those SuDoku puzzles make my friggin' brain hurt.

And I'd heard about that kid living in a Wal-Mart. Yeah, like THAT book will be a best seller.....that's just sad!

P.S. - Should I be embarrassed that I actually LIKE Matthew Perry??? ;)

At March 30, 2006 8:25 AM, Blogger Dr. Cissa Fireheart replied to my musings ...

Sorry but I LOVE to wander around Wal-mart...maybe it's because Wal-mart usually is where I go to shop when I need a little time away from the's only 1/2 mile form my house, so I don't feel guilty leaving Hubby with the kids....

An interesting story, but I doubt I am going to get THAT book anytime soon. Even I burn out at wal-mart after about 2 hours....

At March 30, 2006 8:31 AM, Blogger Cari replied to my musings ...

The last I heard about
Matthew Perry is that he and one of the chicks from Sex & The City are hooking up

I am a rare chick indeed! I hate shopping for long hours!! Can't stand it!! I would of died of boredom.

At March 30, 2006 8:53 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

This is the "Supersize Me" fad. Now everybody is dreaming up idiotic ways to get attention and do a movie or a book.

Personally, I've never wondered if spending too much time at a Wal-Mart induced hallucinations...and if they do, to what degree?

What kind of hallucinations could you possibly have at a Wal-Mart? Visions of the yellow happy discount face flying about, knocking a dollar of here, 48 cents there???

At March 30, 2006 9:21 AM, Blogger OnMyWatch replied to my musings ...

The Phoenix beat me to the hallucination thought - hilarious! I'd have to be hallucinating in the first place to do something like that, though.

At March 30, 2006 9:43 AM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

This reminds me of the two part Married with children where the Bundy's had no air conditioning in their house. So they went and set up chairs in the frozen food aisle of their local grocery store so they could be cool and have plenty to eat.

At March 30, 2006 9:50 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

Maybe Amelia Earhart is working at a Walmart in the "swimming goods" section.

Word verification is appropriate: ewomn

At March 30, 2006 9:59 AM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

Wasn't Natalie Portman in a movie about loitering in a Walmart?
Of course he was hallucinating. Being in that store is almost surreal.

At March 30, 2006 10:12 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

I thought Bin Ladin had shaved his facial hair, dyed his hair blonde, and become a contestant on American Idol... however I think your explanation of his whereabouts is probably considerably more plausible.

At March 30, 2006 11:08 AM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

OMG you are so right! I would not be surprised if Bin Laden was in Wal Mart! He probably has a job there too!

At March 30, 2006 1:09 PM, Blogger Tai replied to my musings ...

They won't sell the morning-after pill, Maxim, or CDs carrying a Parental Advisory label.

But they carry shotguns and shells.


I suspect there's something to it, but my little brain is spinning from the paradox that is Wal-Mart enough as it is!

At March 30, 2006 1:15 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

I'm in Walmart once or twice a week, without fail.
The hallucinations aren't hallucinations at all; they are real. I've seen Tanya Harding, Queen Elizabeth, and Stephen Baldwin in my Walmart.

At March 30, 2006 2:18 PM, Blogger jay lassiter replied to my musings ...

Remember Elizabeth smart? that utah girl who was "abducted" and the object of a state-wide search all the while wandering the streets in their midst for like, what, 4 months?
Osama is probably working at Goldman Sachs or even better, at a gay bar in amsterdam. Who the hell would ever look there?
But i agree david, that our rigid "literal" thinking makes it diffficult to wax abstract.

At March 30, 2006 3:13 PM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

David ?

Was that last statement true ? Do Wal-mart really not stock FHM,Maxim and the morning after pill, but stock a range of weapons ?

It's not April 1st yet.

At March 30, 2006 3:21 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

Ben: I know it's true that Wal-Mart doesn't stock FHM, Maxim, or any of those other soft-core skin mags... they're trying to keep up with that whole "family friendly" image. I have no problem with them not stocking those magazines as I can just as easily get them elsewhere. They are a private corporation and thus have a right to stock or not stock items for whatever reasons they like-- just like I have a right to avoid shopping their like the plague.

At March 30, 2006 3:39 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Stacy: The answer is yes, you should be.

Cissa, Jamie: When you're hanging out at the Wal-Mart, do you see each other there ... like, all the time?

Phoenix, OnMyWatch: I just saw that Spurlock had to apologize after some offensive comments at a talk he gave to some college students. Maybe he is hallucinating visions of grandeur.

Mark: I did something similar during a long hot run last summer: I ducked into a Barnes & Noble, chugged from their drinking fountain, cooled off, and went back to my run.

Curare: My word verification for your comment: goodone

Angel: I think Natalie was tortured enough having to read George Lucas' dialogue for her, let's not add to her pain.

Perplexio, Mimi, Jay: Perhaps he is working at Wal-Mart. Of course, seeing him in an Amsterdam gar bar would be fun: "Hi there, big guy ... bomb here often?"

Tai, Ben: Yup, that's the truth. Apparently their motto is "Guns don't kill people; bikini-clad women do."

-- david

At March 30, 2006 4:11 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

David: Mayhaps the world is just an absinthe shot away from the end of militant Muslim extremism.

I once had an idea for a sitcom-- "Our Nanny the Tranny", if we find Osama in that Amsterdam gay bar, maybe he could do a guest cameo in the pilot of "Our Nanny the Tranny."

At March 30, 2006 4:15 PM, Blogger The Village Idiot replied to my musings ...

I tried loitering in a wal-mart in Branson MO. All I got were strange looks and a lot of

"You ain't from around here, are you?"

Questions...wonder why?

At March 30, 2006 5:14 PM, Blogger Allypooh replied to my musings ...

OMG...41 extra hours a day? Hire a nanny.
I despise Walmart. It reeks of redneckism. I'm a Target girl, myself...
Muslim Militia Meltdown? It has a beat you can dance to, but I wouldn't look good in a burqua.

At March 30, 2006 5:16 PM, Blogger dragonflyfilly replied to my musings ...

forty one extra hours? YIKES, the mind boggles, but i would probably blog myself silly and end up with a HUGE blogging hangover, like i heard someone say this morning "...a Quasi Moto ringing bells in my head", kinda hangover... or else some kind of mischief that has an R rating!!! *wink wink nudge nudge*

later baby,

p.s. California Girl playing on the radio now, wow, luv the old oldies!

At March 30, 2006 9:42 PM, Blogger Bar Bar A replied to my musings ...

I have vowed never to step into a Walmart again...I just can't deal with the employees, I got followed last time by a mentally disabled buy who was trying to pick up on me...No jokes please!

At March 30, 2006 11:18 PM, Blogger phlegmfatale replied to my musings ...

I LOVE Ambrose Bierce, if only he WERE contributing from far afield...

At March 31, 2006 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

methinks it would be great - i have much higher powers of concentration and focus than a college boy. As long as i had a tent in camping section, a place to eat, and a few books - i'd be fine! Not wal-mart though, we don't have them here.

At March 31, 2006 5:58 AM, Blogger Bad Girl replied to my musings ...

You all obviously don't have enough free time on your hands, such as myself, so lemme fill you in on a couple of things:

Matthew Perry is getting drunk in the VIP (apparently any VIP section, and doesn't he have a substance abuse problem? I love how substance abuse somehow doesn't cover alcohol)

And bin Ladin is hiding out in the back of Rocky's sister's car.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend good, quality college Spring Break hallucination time at a theme park or a music festival or something.

At March 31, 2006 8:07 AM, Blogger Dr. Cissa Fireheart replied to my musings ...

David --

I don't think I see Jaime there, but who knows? LOL ...keepin mind I am a military wife on a budget. It's the cheapest place in town, frankly, and so, for my lifestyle and Hubby's income, it's a neccessity...

At March 31, 2006 9:02 AM, Blogger siren replied to my musings ...

I am obssessed with Sudoku...does that mean I'm going to disappear? Or live in Wal-Mart? I'm scared.

At March 31, 2006 10:07 AM, Blogger Kitty replied to my musings ...

If you want to see some totally hilarious entertainment, check out the following places at 2 a.m.:

* Wal-Mart to see the Dawn of the Dead walking around the store in bedroom slippers, pajamas, hair rollers, doing the "Lithium or Thorozine shuffle"

* Waffle House to see people that their family tree doesn't have any branches (a straight trunk), very few teeth, eyes just a little too close together, and you'll hear the funniest conversations ever!

We're talking CHEAP entertainment -- I know!, I know! - cruel amusement at the expense of others - but, at 2 a.m., no one remembers by the time the sun comes up anyway!

Maybe Skyler Bartels should get his book ideas at one of these two places instead of doing a 'first-person' piece!


At March 31, 2006 12:47 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

I kind of thought that Bierce had gone into hiding with J.D. Salinger.

At March 31, 2006 2:12 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

Yes, I've seen Cissa there too.

At March 31, 2006 3:06 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Kitty: One might ask why you are so familiar with such sketchy places at 2 a.m.

If one were so inclined.

-- david

At April 01, 2006 7:28 AM, Blogger FredCQ replied to my musings ...

I have trouble killing an hour in Walmart while I'm waiting for my oil change. I would probably end 41 hours of wandering around Walmart by stepping off a bridge. Not to mention that they have a shitty music selection..all of the good stuff in edited too.

At April 01, 2006 4:15 PM, Blogger Rocky replied to my musings ...

Luckily, this kid wasn't wearing a sports jersey that said 88 or the Wal-Mart Smiley Face would have come along and slashed the number down to 36, thinking the number on the shirt was a price tag. It could have been a deadly meeting.

At April 01, 2006 4:21 PM, Blogger CT replied to my musings ...


At April 01, 2006 8:12 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

Is he going to write the book anyway?

Because it sounds like the most riveting page turner since, "Watching the Denim Dry," by I.M. Yawning.

An Walmart doesn't sell the morning after pill? I didn't know that--sounds really hypocritical. For instance, I would bet they sell KY Warming Gel. So in other words, they will help create the problem, but won't sell the solution. Probably want to get you buying those overpriced Pampers and Gerber jars.

At April 01, 2006 8:13 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

Is he going to write the book anyway?

Because it sounds like the most riveting page turner since, "Watching the Denim Dry," by I.M. Yawning.

An Walmart doesn't sell the morning after pill? I didn't know that--sounds really hypocritical. For instance, I would bet they sell KY Warming Gel. So in other words, they will help create the problem, but won't sell the solution. Probably want to get you buying those overpriced Pampers and Gerber jars.

At April 02, 2006 9:38 AM, Blogger Amy replied to my musings ...

I break out in hives when I go into Wal-Mart. In fact – just reading an article that suggests that anybody – let alone me – might want to go there for 41 hours straight… has put me in very real danger of going into anaphylactic shock.

At April 02, 2006 11:02 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Congratulations, Amy--you are the first commenter in nine months here to employ the phrase "anaphylactic shock."

There's no prize; I'm just sayin'.

-- david

At May 04, 2006 5:23 PM, Blogger shearer92 replied to my musings ...

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