Itâ€™s Spring Break. Not that youâ€™d know it with the gray clouds, peals of thunder, and muddy puddle of a front yard we have here at the River Office in Lotus. Am I sitting on a beach in Cancun? Sipping a mini umbrella drink? Working on a tan and reading trashy magazines? No, no, and no. Iâ€™m sitting at my desk. Staring at a pile of t-shirt catalogs, trying to decide which ones will end up in our “store” this summer. (And by store, I mean a collection of tupperware bins sitting in the back of an A-O truck.)
I have a problem this time of year: Iâ€™m torn between capitalism and idealism. See, the way I figure it, I have an opportunity when Iâ€™m stocking our store for the year to make a small difference, save the world and all that. How? By buying organic cotton and hemp shirts, supporting local, family-run businesses andâ€”letâ€™s get down to brass tacks here peopleâ€”forgoing profit in the name of doing the right thing. Granola versus Hamburger Helper.
But the problem is that saving the world requires creativity and costs more. Lots more. And sometimes I just want to show a profit, you know? Show Scott A that this year I did more than break even. So I start looking at the catalogs with their shiny graphics, endless colour choices, and “proven best sellers.” I call up a rep and ask what sheâ€™d recommend. She points me to the “Naked” series. You know, “Raft Naked: It makes your cheeks pink.” Um, I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s really what weâ€™re after, I tell her. Maybe the shirt that says “10 reasons why a life jacket is better than your girlfriend?” Run away! Run away!
Since we canâ€™t actually raft naked, as the shirt suggests, and we have to wear something, why not have it made in the USA, and grown in non-polluted soil? It doesnâ€™t really seem that hard on the face of it. Back to the drawing board. Maybe if I put on a Beach Boys record, find a toothpick with one of those crinkley pineapples on it, and pretend Iâ€™m diving in Fiji with Mama Bear Pamela Iâ€™ll get the creative spark I need. Oh, except Iâ€™m not sporty and I donâ€™t like the Beach Boys. . .but pineapplesâ€”I like those!