Buy American

Support our economy. Buy American. Hang out in socks.


My parents grew up in an era when Americans still produced the majority of products we used. Our town was noted for steel and ladies’ under garments. The community stood behind these products with pride, especially the brassieres.

Today, the last of the mill buildings were torn down. A UPS store that the local methadone lab used to ship its product replaced the garment factory.

I graduated with a class of 412 students. Years later, local schools cancelled their football programs because they lacked the students needed to fill a roster.

When my alma mater became the office of employment security, my parents returned to their roots and vowed to purchase only products made in the USA.

The shoe industry would experience gigantic losses this year.

Growing up Mom had one pair of shoes. Chances were your feet grew before the shoes wore out. Mom didn’t have many brand new shoes. This fact set off a psychological imbalance in Mom. The jokes about women who owned a garage full of shoes could be traced to my mother as the source. I couldn’t imagine Mom giving up her obsession.

“You’re really giving up buying shoes?” I questioned on a recent visit.

“If they’re not made here, I’m not buying. The last foreign pair fell apart.”

“Yeah, we’re not buying crap that goes straight to the landfill after using it three times. You pay people lousy wages you get what you pay for.” Dad said.

My parents had a point. The last shirt I bought disintegrated in less than six washings.

“And people here need better paying jobs,” Dad said.

That comment was aimed at me. Buy American. Ensure your kid won’t move back home with you. No chance for employment at the local meth lab, Dad would kick my ass on top of being homeless.

“I won’t exploit another person’s dignity to be able to buy cheap shoes and clothes. You should think about the conditions overseas workers endure for their measly paychecks. You can’t be okay with the unemployment numbers here either.”

I commiserated with the measly paycheck part and did a mental inventory of stuff in my home. In support of my fellow Americans, I came up with shampoo and cleaning products, but nothing which cleaned my conscience. I’d sold my soul for a set of plastic cups shaped like tikki dudes.

Thanks Mom, the Jiminy Cricket in my life. “What type of American made products did you find?”

Mom recited a list: cars, rocking chairs, glassware, wine, American flags (one would hope so), socks, and cigarette lighters that still came with a lifetime guarantee. The lighter sounded great, but my parents didn’t smoke. But I added cigarettes to the list too which then could ensure more domestically produced cancer drugs.

I was disturbed by the absence of clothing.

“What happened when your clothes wore out?” I asked.

“That should take about two weeks.” Dad said.

“We won’t replace our clothing with an item not produced in the USA.”

Mom wasn’t the knit or crochet kind of woman. I could imagine the phone call from my parents’ neighbor, Bob. “Hey, you might want to do something about your parents. They’re sitting in rocking chairs around a campfire, sipping glasses of wine, and waving American flags.”

I wouldn’t see the problem with this. I’d probably grab a pack of hot dogs and join them. Until Bob told me that my parents were wearing socks, only socks.

Naked parents, just the thing to return our country to domestically produced goods and a booming economy.

Published in Funny Times- July 2015

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