I don’t know if it’s because she was depressed when I left for college that fall or because of a mid-life crisis, but when Beanie Babies (BB) burst on to the retail scene in the final months of 1993, Mom went cray cray for them. And I’m talking CRAY CRAY!

At the time she had a full-time job, but somehow seemed to hit every store opening when a new BB was introduced. She once woke up at 2am to drive three hours just to wait in line for three more hours to buy one because its name reminded her of an old fling from high school. Another time she actually got into a tug-of-war contest with an equally enthusiastic BB collector over the coveted Princess Diana collectible that Mom planned to give Uncle Robin. But my all-time favorite Mom BB story was when she was waiting in line in the bitter cold for a BB that her only granddaughter at the time had been coveting for months. Again, after driving for hours, Mom waited in line for the store doors to open when it hit her…the gallons of coffee she had been consuming to stay awake kicked in and she needed a bathroom, STAT. But she wasn’t going to let something as trivial as a teenie-weenie bladder get in the way of her and that BB.

What did she do?

She excused herself from the line explaining that she was diabetic and needed an insulin shot. That, of course, was a lie. Instead, she hurried back to her car, found an empty coffee can (why she had that in her car I don’t know), popped a squat and relieved herself right there in the parking lot. She returned to the line, made it in the store and, according to her snatched up not only the bear my niece wanted, but also the rare and elusive Jake The Duck BB.

Whenever someone asked Mom why she was snatching up every BB in a tri-county area, she told them she was building up a college fund for her granddaughter. As such, she covered the BB tags with the plastic cover ups and even kept her most prized BBs in plastic boxes, not allowing them to be touched or handled by anyone.

Cut to twenty years later when BBs aren’t worth the cloth they were made from and Mom is stuck with hundreds of useless plush dolls that are used more for chew toys for my brother’s dog than they are for a college fund.

Although she has some colorful stories to share, Mom is always a bit embarrassed when she talks about her BB obsession.

I think the same will ring true in another two decades when the subject of Honey Boo Boo (HBB) comes up.

Granted, I don’t know that much about HBB, but I know enough. BF and I don’t have cable, but on a recent work trip I stumbled upon a HBB marathon and decide to see what all the hype was about.

Well, in the first ten minutes of the episode, HBB and her family played a game of “Whose breath is that?”, and HBB and her two sisters, one of whom wasn’t wearing shoes, spent a couples hours at the convenience store adjacent to their home (I use to term loosely) where they purchased sodas, chips, candy bars and a couple of pair of sunglasses. After HBB’s pregnant sister peed on the couch, and after the mom wiped her finger on it and smelled it without washing her hands, and after no one seemed as if they were going to clean it up, I turned off the television, wanting the last few minutes of my life back.

I understand that there are programs that we watch because they make us feel better about ourselves (Intervention) and others because they are just total train wrecks (Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire), but I just don’t see the pull of HBB.

And poor HBB…in twenty years when she’s popped out three illegitimate children, is on welfare and only has the memories of drinking Red Bull infused with Mountain Dew to numb the pathetic-ness of her life, do you think anyone will want to tune in? She’s like those sad jocks from high school whose lives stopped at age eighteen, except that her life is going to end at age…whatever age she is.

My advice to HBB: Take whatever money you’re making from your reality show and sink it into a college fund that can’t be touched until you’re eighteen and can only be spent on furthering your education…and cosmetology school doesn’t count.

My advice to everyone else: Stop watching this show and making uneducated people think they can make a living out of being unintelligent.

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