Little girls spend countless hours fantasizing over every detail of their future Cinderella wedding. Little boys, I’ve decided, spend most of their time fantasizing about getting to use the scanner gun at Wal-Mart.
This seems to be the case for every engaged couple I’ve talked to recently. And there is no shortage of engaged couples on Tabor’s campus. You can’t throw a 3/4 carat total weight rock without hitting an engaged couple around here.
A few Saturdays back, fiancée Hanna and I made the trip to Wichita to create bridal registries for our June wedding. Certain overachieving family members were inquiring. So we figured it was about time to download “The Very Complex Inventory of Every Essential Home Item That You Will Ever Need or Else You Will Die” from the Internet and contribute to the colossal empire that is the wedding industry.
Hanna saw this as an opportunity to take one step closer to the wedding.
Same for me, except I also saw it as an opportunity to play with the scanner gun.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for working on the actual wedding. I could spend hours discussing flowers and tuxedos and colors and music and cake flavors and those little flora-shaped cream cheese mints that come in various shades of pastel.
But there is something inherently manly about marching through a labyrinth of merchandise-laden hedges and shooting a red laser beam at hundreds of bar codes and the occasional unsuspecting customer.
At least I got a kick out of it.
The Wal-Mart registry process went smoothly. It wasn’t until we went to Bed Bath & Be Materialistic that things got really fun.
Apparently the Saturday we picked to register was also the Saturday every other engaged couple within a 60-mile radius picked to register at that store. There were so many couples, for a second I thought I was on Tabor’s campus! (Rimshot.)
This proved to be a problem, because the store’s small, nicely decorated bridal registry room was already occupied by a young woman urgently explaining to her fiancé why a certain brand of china was more desirable, while the guy was urgently explaining why he didn’t understand why it mattered so much, as long as he didn’t have to eat off the ground.
Bed Bath & Beyond apparently has an entire department devoted to its bridal registries. Unfortunately, every single one of those salespeople was busy with some couple, explaining the differences between non-stick cookware sets and stainless steel cookware sets.
(We got this shpeel a little later, and from what I can surmise the main difference is the first of the three digits in the price.)
Instead, we got the head bridal registry honcho: a blond hummingbird-of-a-woman named Sam, who took us to her upstairs office with huge windows overlooking the entire store.
“I walk fast for a short person,” she said as Hanna and I tried keep her pace up the steps.
After Sam explained how the registry process worked, she stole the scanner gun from the china-chattering couple in the registry room and sent us on our way.
The basic rule that Hanna and I laid down for the day was that we should only register for things that were completely necessary, and not burden our guests with getting less-important items. Such as a barbecue grill.
Between the two of us, Hanna is the more sensible one.
After all, she did make me watch Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” in which a cast of about 20 women spend their days in upscale country living bawling because they need men or because they don’t need men. I think it was both.
Hanna and I spent the better portion of the afternoon scanning barcodes for sensible items such as spatulas, measuring cups and apple slicers. She made her mistake, however, by taking a break and leaving me with the scanner gun right next to a stack Sodastreams.
The Sodastream is a “fountain jet home soda maker” that turns ordinary tap water into carbonated tap water, which you can then mix syrups into from a wide selection of popular flavors.
We had already decided the Sodastream was not one of those “necessary” items. But there I was: alone, wanting a Sodastream and holding the scanner gun.
I scanned it.
Hanna is slowly coming around to seeing the usefulness of the Sodastream. And who knows, maybe that guy finally understood the importance of fine china.
But when it comes to what’s really necessary for two people spending their lives together, sometimes things just don’t need to register.