Cashier: These little t-shirts are cute! Who are they for?

Me: Oh, uh . . . my . . . uh . . . my baby. They're for my baby.

Cashier: Boy or girl?

Me: Boy.

Cashier: Wonderful! And how old is he?

Me: He's fou--uh . . . [looks at tag on shirt] he's eight to ten months.

Cashier: Hard to keep track, isn't it! Especially when you aren't getting much sleep!

Me: He actually sleeps through the night pretty well.

Cashier: Terrific! How's his appetite? At that age they can become so finnicky.

Me: Fine. He's pretty much eats the same thing for every meal.

Cashier: Is he crawling yet?

Me: He never really crawled. Just went straight to walking. Running, really.

Cashier: What?

Me: I mean, maybe he crawled at some point. I bought him from a lady between aisles at a store and he was already a few months old by then.

Cashier: You . . . excuse me?

Me: Yup. Rescued him from an abusive situation on a horse farm. He smelled like horse shit. Had to bathe him five times to get the stench off!

Cashier: I . . . uh . . .

Me: I can't do this anymore. These are for my dog. I'm buying these clothes for my dog. I'm going to turn this white t-shirt into a ghost costume for Halloween. The rest of these are for lounging around the house.

Cashier: Thank God.

Me: I didn't want to have to admit that this was the reason I was in a baby clothing boutique store on a Sunday morning at 10:30. I mean, who the hell have I become? This is pathetic, right? I'm pathetic. I need an intervention. I have spent literally hundreds of dollars on clothes for an 18-pound poodle mix. And he doesn't even like them. Because he's a dog. Am I being abusive by continuing to buy this crap for him and dress him up? Should he be rescued from me? You probably want to call the animal abuse people at this point. And I don't blame you. Here you are, in the middle of a pandemic, showing up for your job where you expected to just help desperate people in need and here I am, a mildly attractive 36 year old man, buying a pile of clothes for a dog who doesn't even want to wear them.

Cashier: . . .

Me: . . .

Cashier: . . .

Me: . . .

Cashier: Could you text me pictures of the ghost costume when it's don--

Me: Absolutely.

And now, please enjoy a truly incredible story about an eastern European surgery in 2003.

This time in Strangerville, the entire government has covid, Meg and Eli recall Eastern European superstitions, and a woman recounts the gripping tale of being awake for an emergency appendectomy in Latvia in 2003.

~It Just Gets Stranger