How to pick out a good souvenir

Gift shops are treasure troves. I don’t see paperweights, tchotchkes, t-shirts for fat people. I see objects to remember my life by. I see ways to burn money in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I see myself holding this object, a shark fetus, in my hands, considering the $14.99 price tag, and thinking, that’s not a bad price. My heart races. I may or may not have been coveting one all summer.

Are these things real? Are there really that many fetuses found? I won’t google it. I want to keep the mystery alive.

I love the gift shop. It’s usually my favorite part of an attraction. For me, it’s like the back cover of the book. It sums the experience up. And where else would you find astronaut ice cream besides a gift shop? This is really my first rule for gift shops — if they sell astronaut ice cream, buy it. Don’t pass by the few opportunities in life to eat freeze dried neopolitan. In outer space, salt and pepper comes in liquid form to prevent the little specks from flying around and clogging the joint up.

There are some of the souvenirs I have picked out in the last year:

1. Ocean City Md
a shark tooth necklace. I settled on this instead of the fetus.

2. Air and Space Museum, DC
a rocket ship piggy bank. I know. I’m five years old. And the slot isn’t big enough for quarters.

3. Maryland Zoo, Baltimore
light up monkey keychain. It’s a monkey. With a light in his mouth. What else is there to say?

4. Somewhere in Philadelphia, to get out of the rain
an American Revolution paddle ball.

5. Centennial Park Snack Shop and Paddleboat Rental
a small plastic snake.

I have some general guidelines to go by when I pick out a souvenir:

1. Your heart has to “feel” it. It has to say…Yes.

2. Inside all of us is an old, crotchety person who says, “that’s a waste of money.” And inside each of us, there is a young child who sings “I want, I want” to the 7 Dwarfs’ tune of “Hi Ho, Hi Ho.”

3. Ignore the girlfriend when she says “you wonder where all your money goes,” or asks, “what the hell are you going to do with that?” Tell her you’re on a divine mission in life to get all the toys.  Because he who has the most toys…wins.

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