Smuggery and Consumption


Local mushrooms


As the busiest shopping day of the year approaches, I take a deep breath.

I’m as guilty as any shopper.

If I can get an item delivered to my door in 24 hours, I’ve saved time and pennies.

I’m smug.

Spending a few months out of the country has been therapeutic.

I’m unable to order a book or shampoo at cut-rate prices and have them arrive with lightening speed.

Instead, when I order-by-computer, I pay local taxes and federal taxes plus delivery charges—there are no bargains—and items take weeks to arrive.

That means I check the Library for books instead, and borrow my husband’s dandruff shampoo.

That also means a warehouse of worker-bees gets to spend time with families instead of sorting boxes in the mailroom.

As my smugness wanes I scan the New York Times for articles that are uplifting and guide me toward self-betterment.

I find an article on how to brighten your winter and lift your spirits.

Great news: the sun here doesn’t rise until about 7, and sets about 4:30.

And while I get up earlier than the roosters, I feel dead tired before supper.

Hoping to lift the seasonal veil, I dig into the story.

Every article of advice comes wrapped in a product-for-sale.

Want to chase the winter blues?

Buy a bright light.

Want to eat better?

Get a new-fangled blender.

Want to sleep better?

Invest in a sleep mask.

Each chunk of advice has a link to a product you can buy to improve your life.

The articles leaves me dispirited at the linkages of happiness to purchases.

My cure is a walk through the woods behind out house.

In the woods you can breathe and hear birds, and traipse over moss and mushrooms.

Sure: I’m still a little smug. But the smugness comes from the company of the forest, not from the mall.


And maybe we’ll see some deer on our walk

29 November 2019

Vancouver Island

National Native Heritage Month USA
















About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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