Seemingly small things can have huge impacts

As a little kid, I always liked this very obscure nursery
rhyme:

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the
horse was lost

– on and on. The rhyme details how the loss of a tiny nail
securing the horse shoe to a hoof caused an entire kingdom to fall.
Why? Because the horse misstepped and the battle was lost, and thus
the war was lost, etc.
The other day I thought of this, how the most negligible of
events can have huge repercussions, when I shopped at a store out
on Camino Arroyo.
As a little kid, I always liked this very obscure nursery rhyme: “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost” – on and on. The rhyme details how the loss of a tiny nail securing the horse shoe to a hoof caused an entire kingdom to fall. Why? Because the horse misstepped and the battle was lost, and thus the war was lost, etc.

The other day I thought of this, how the most negligible of events can have huge repercussions, when I shopped at a store out on Camino Arroyo. Now, I won’t name the store because nothing was its fault, but let’s just say if you were a deer and heard this store name, and possibly realized its circular logo was imprinted on your flank, you would be a frenzied tear through the underbrush.

Here’s what happened. One of my offspring was sick, so sick she’d been parked on the sofa for a week. Thus, we ventured out to buy, among a few other things, a DVD she really wanted. As she handled it reverently in the shopping cart, I did hear the crinkling sounds of loose shrinkwrap but thought nothing of it.

Yet once we were in the car and in outright possession of the thing, she tore into it only to find the disk itself was gone. Yes, some devious fiend had slit the sides of the shrinkwrap enough to slide the DVD right out. At least they could have then thrown the case into the shoe section or in with the frozen foods: some kind of indication that “huh, something’s wrong with this product.” But no, they just put it back on the shelf so that a harried mom could pay good money for it.

(Insert sound effect: the tears of an outraged, very sick little kid.)

So we wheeled around to return. May I here complain about the three lefthand lanes turning onto 10th Street, which need to be better marked or have rumble strips so that people don’t drift into each other’s lanes? Because yes, another car driven by a not very careful Chauffeur of Insouciance, came very, very, very, very, oh my god, very close to hitting us.

Bringing me back to the idea of the horseshoe nail. We might have been in a serious accident (at least it wasn’t SNOWING) just because some scofflaw didn’t want to pay for their kid’s movie.

(Tangent: do you love the word scofflaw as much as I do? I can almost forgive the creep since he or she gave me an opportunity to use it.”)

Back we went to the hunter’s store, where thankfully they believed my story and permitted me to return it. But of course the hijacked copy was the only one they had, and we had to get an inferior sequel in the trilogy, but my poor kid was very patient and accepted this sad truth.

Meanwhile the youngest let me know it was past her naptime with the kind of howls that make your skin crawl, and on top of it, I’d left my purse in the car in my aggravation and therefore wasn’t able to use my card that gave 10 percent off that day, and so in the paperwork shuffle I lost $2.

I know: what a tempest in a teapot, as they say.

I didn’t lose a kingdom, but I could have. I thought about other small things with huge ramifications here in our town, like:

For want of a URM loan, the store was lost. For want of a store, the block was lost. For want of a block, downtown was lost.

Or, if we revise history:

For want of two brothers, a bunny was lost. For want of a bunny, the burrow was lost. For want of a burrow, uh I’ve been working on this one for a while and can’t make it work. I know I need to use a carrot somehow. And a police officer.

Speaking of downtown, last week Mango Street Kids nearly tripled its space, spilling over into the Dollar Store that was next door. The store is roomy and filled with all the things kids and babies want. And what used to be a small play area to keep little ones occupied while parents shopped is now huge and sports a changing table and two nursing chairs. Rock on, owner Amber! You had a solid business plan and have succeeded in an economy where many have failed.

Also want to give a belated shout-out to Gilroy Health & Fitness for the new sunny upholstery (not the right word, but what is?) on the weight machines. I felt like I was in Beverly Hills as I effortlessly bench-pressed the weight of 280 garlic bulbs.

Erika Mailman is in a ‘roid rage at www.erikamailman.com. She teaches novel writing (and how to kick sand in the face of weaklings at the beach) at www.mediabistro.com.

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