Murphy’s Law

Mark it down: On Aug. 20, 2012, Harris Teeter, our local grocery store, ran out of cheese samples.

That makes Aug. 20, 2012, the WORST DAY of Monster’s life.

There are two entrances to the store. We usually go in the entrance by the deli, where we are promptly greeted by a display of domestic Swiss or provolone or – blech – American cheese (not to sound unpatriotic, but American cheese is the worst cheese).

Typically, we walk through that door and I load a toothpick with about as many samples as you can get – about seven pieces, on average.

However, that day, Monster and I walked into the other entrance – the one by produce. As we approached the door, the baby started whining and reaching for the other door.

How in the world does a 21-month-old know that we are going in the wrong door? And more importantly, if he is smart enough to remember that cheese samples are through door No. 1, shouldn’t he be smart enough to know that we’re walking into the same place, just through a different door?

I assured him that we would make our way over to the cheese eventually.

“Cheese? Cheeeeeeeeese?” he asked over and over again as we shopped.

When we started heading toward the deli, I could feel Monster’s excitement growing. As his eyes fell on the cheese sample holder, he yelled, “Cheeeese!” at the top of his lungs and started laughing wildly – almost a frightening, evil-genius-type laugh.


I saw it before he did. A few random toothpicks, some teeny crumbs. For a split second, I thought, “This is what it must feel like when you know you have to tell your kids their dog died.”

I stopped in my tracks and said, “Buddy, let’s just go home and eat.”

“Nooo! Noo!!” he screamed, lunging for the inevitable disappointment.

So I took a breath, said, “OK, baby, this isn’t going to be easy, but I’m right here, and it’s going to be OK.”

I squeezed him tightly, and then, I showed him the empty case.

Oh. Sweet. Lord.

Remember the scene in “The Exorcist” where the little girl’s head turns all the way around and she spews pea green soup all over the priest? That would have been preferable to what Monster did.

I have no idea how I made it through checkout or how I eventually held his flailing body down long enough to strap him into the car seat. I have no idea where the shoes he had been wearing went.

He had streaks of tears running down his face, drenching his shirt with the loss and hurt that only an empty cheese sample bin can cause. He was crying so hard he was doing that crying-coughing-choking thing babies do.

On Aug. 20, 2012, I was helpless as my child threw a 30-minute long fit, his bellowing screams punctuated with shouts of “Cheese! Momma, pleeease, cheeeee-eee-eeee-eeese.”

Monster is abandoned at day care by his mother five days a week. He has had throat ulcers so bad he couldn’t swallow. He has had doctors glue his face back together in the ER. Let me reiterate that – Monster busted open a half-inch hole between his eyes, and a doctor had to strap him down and literally glue his face back together.

But no – none of that compares to the day that Harris Teeter ran out of cheese samples. Nothing will ever be as bad as that.

Seriously, loves cheese. Shown here admiring Target’s selection.

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