The sheets of shame

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A couple of months ago, I mentioned that Mrs Tall and I are going to be parents. The day of the baby's coming is drawing nigh, and we're getting a little jumpy. We've been accumulating baby clothes, bottles, puke-absorbent rags, and so on. We even bought diapers the other day.

All this is fine but -- even as I predicted -- my brains are being ravaged by baby-expectant chemicals. Here's an example.

This past Sunday was Mother's Day, so I dutifully accompanied Mrs Tall and her mother to the Metro City shopping mall in Tseung Kwan O. There we encountered several hundred thousand other mothers being taken out for a bit of shopping by their families.

This festive consumerist bump-and-grind (the mall was really crowded) was bad enough, but my day reached rock bottom when I overloaded my self-respect-maintenance systems in a dry goods shop.

We had stopped to look at baby pillows. Mrs Tall and Mother-in-law were carefully analysing the features of a baby pillow stuffed with tea leaves. (Who knew such things existed?) In the meantime, I wandered off to the children's bedsheets section.

Before I could get hold of myself, the following scene ensued. Warning: what follows may be deeply disturbing to some of you, especially you men:

Mr Tall, to himself: Look at these cool sheets! Okay, we've got Snoopy and Woodstock . . . here's a set with all the Peanuts characters . . . Wow! Perfect! Here's a set with Snoopy as a golfer. I must show my wife!

[Mr Tall breaks into Mrs Tall/Mother-in-law's pillow talk] : Look, Honey! Snoopy golfer sheets!

[Mrs Tall offers the indulgent smile one bestows upon incontinent puppies, and replies] : They're too expensive.

[Mr Tall sulks, and goes back to his sheets. His eye falls upon some Winnie the Pooh models (featuring classic Pooh, no less).]

Mr Tall, to himself again, mercifully: Why, these are even better. They're cheaper, and they're all cotton, and with that pale green background, they're just darling . . . .

At this point, I came to my senses at last. I turned my back on the sheets of shame, and I scratched myself.

But it was a close thing, and I don't know how much longer I can hold out . . . .