I have a friend who would rather drink cheap wine, walk through an abandoned house at midnight, and step on a rusty nail (which he did, in high school, but that’s another story) than wear or own anything marked by a monogram.
“Well, that’s just downright silly.” You might say. “How will he know which silk bathrobe is his?” Fair question.
Thing is, down here, we stitch our initials on everything. You don’t have to live or be from The South to enjoy an interlocking circular script embroidered on your beach tote, but let’s just agree that we Southerners are the ones that made it a finer thing in life*. And the rest of ya’ll just stole our idea*. From pacifiers to dining chair upholstery to tackle boxes, if it has a surface, we’ll find a way to put our initials on it. You see a simple linen table runner, we see a grand opportunity. Oh, yes. We will monogram the shit out of that.
I visited a local gift shop today, one that embroiders monograms on just about anything. It was suggested to me by a friend. The owner knows my friend and we talked about how our mutual friend is so lovely while my two sons pretended to beat each other up in the pretty-smelling soap section. And this new lovely lady and I pretended that I didn’t have sons, that those two turkeys in the other room must belong to some other uncivilized woman hiding behind the spring-colored Corkcicle tumblers. I was enjoying my conversation about thread color and letter position and font and how “sweet” the gifts I was buying are and how nice they will look once they are monogrammed. She wrote down my selections and I glanced over to those children who actually are my children and told them with my eyes, “YOU WILL DIE IF YOU MAKE A SCENE IN THIS LOVELY WOMAN’S STORE. I AM DOING LOVELY LADY THINGS AND BOTH OF YOU ARE BOY MONSTERS WITH LOTS OF ARMS AND LEGS. CONTROL YOURSELVES.” But they did not heed my stare. They acted like fools on parade holding up compact mirrors and singing about how beautiful they are, yelling at me from the children’s corner (that was, of course, so divinely decorated as if children are as precious as the things in the corner and not the hogs rolling in refuse that I know them to truly be with the exception of one particular child – maybe) about how they want this THING. And can I add this THING to their list? They ask because I will not buy them things willy-nilly in every store we go in. I’m supposed to keep lists for birthdays and Christmas. I do not actually keep lists for either of them. I might feel bad about that one day. Probably not.
I wanted to stay and pick out stationery. I wanted to sit and thumb through the hand-painted notes. I stood by the scented lotions. I paused to admire the zen-like sayings printed on a display of cards: “You are capable of greatness”, “Mind over matter”, “Remember to let go of the small things.” I forced myself to check on my children. My four-year-old is straddling an umbrella making farting noises and my six-year-old is telling me about the special jewels in a bracelet, their powers, which somehow lead him to the topic of death.
And I think, “What if the small things are all I can hold?”
So, I call my boys and they slip their hands in mine and we say goodbye to our new friend.
*I have no evidence of this.
**This, I also cannot prove.