“For everything we do, we know you do so much more.” Really, Susan Sarandon? How dare you and the condescending advertisers at Tylenol assume I need you to compliment my parenting. In fact, your patronizing flattery negates any other fact-based praise I’ve accumulated on a given day, as if I’m one of millions of exhausted and undervalued automatons who are just waiting for a tender nugget like this commercial to render them into blubbering piles of catharsis, weeping tears of gratitude at this overdue appreciation from the makers of an innocuous little pain reducer that kills just under 1000 customers each year.
Come to my house and clean a tiny bathroom used by five people at the end of each day, and you’ll have a better idea of the “so much more.” Deal with the ominous dark shadow in the middle of the suddenly abandoned indoor rice “sand box” as the world’s most emotionally needy cat averts eye-contact in spite of his smug post-movement victory swagger, and you’ll start to get a picture of “so much more.” Maintain a soupcon of composure while a six-year-old yells at you, “don’t clean my boogie wall!”, restart a bath for two after one proudly announces “I peed!”, even though you gave her the international sign for “don’t tell,” then cook a nice healthy dinner for your trash can, and I won’t become so terribly homicidal when you deign to understand “so much more.”
I’m one week into the detox, and I don’t have a lot of extra sympathy, empathy, or filter just now. The five pounds I’ve lost appear to be where I was keeping my cheer, and I’ve been falling asleep the past few nights to the most heart-breaking of pastry dreams. In last night’s semblance of a narrative, France had just banned the chocolate croissant, concluding it’s the culprit behind the general shunning of anti-smoking legislature.
While I’m looking more forward than not to the Cabernet-marinated roast in the oven from this morning’s trip to Trader Joe’s, I can hardly bring myself to expel the effort of boiling a big pot of water for the slated brown rice spaghetti. I assume if I chuck in a bunch of sautéed vegetables and some sunflower seeds, I might get a few bites down before excusing myself to the kitchen for a decompressing round of dishes Frisbee.
Now I’m off to transfer the guinea pig out of his playpen, against which the previously mentioned cat is nonchalantly leaning, pushing one end further and further toward the other, in what I assume is an attempt to make a piggy waffle tartar, but first I’ll mention a barely relevant lesson I learned this morning. Billy the Kid, now six and with a vigilant eye on everyone’s business, told me he wants me to go back to normal eating. I asked him why, and he responded that watching me drink my shakes makes him think about what it would be like, and he doesn’t want to think about what it would be like. There you have it. Empathy might pass as an altruistic emotion, but from the mouths of babes, and as Johnson & Johnson reminds us, it’s really just a marketing tactic.