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The last time I was this depressed I was listening to the score for the Ken Burns documentary, The Vietnam War. Maybe I was thinking about the war itself, how terrible it was, and how so many that came home never really left it behind, because how could they? It’s not for me to say, but for some reason the music that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross composed, at the behest of Ken Burns, sure put me in some kind of mood.

But that was the last time I was this depressed, and this time, I was at the supermarket. Searching for tomato soup and saltines. Hoping for a good deal on Dr. Pepper & Cream Soda Zero. No deal on the soda, and I ended up with chicken noodle and oyster crackers. Kind of like a time, almost thirty years ago, when my brother gave my dad ten bucks for a frozen pizza and a 12-pack of Coke, but they ended up eating Salisbury steak TV dinners and drinking tomato juice. What a sadness, a particular depression, my brother must have felt as tomato juice cascaded down his throat, when all he wanted was a Coke. But I digress…

I was getting soup and crackers, sure, but what I saw were husbands and wives, daughters and sons, picking out food together. Parents saying no, others saying yes, and most trying to ignore the constant desires of their hungry children. My three kids also suffer from incessant “I want” syndrome, but this week they’re with their mother, and I was at the supermarket, alone, wondering how to shop for one, and would I ever have the occasion to cook a Cornish game hen? Then the sadness set in. Was it depression? How long do you have to be sad, to then be depressed? I don’t know, but as I walked the aisles I regretted not getting a basket. I’m no Donald Trump, but my hands aren’t all that big, and the 4-pack of chicken noodle was barely hanging onto my index finger (at that point, I had also grabbed baking powder and a small tub of strawberry icing). I kept going, wondering if I should get Little Debbie snack cakes that could stand in for my feelings, when I would inevitably devour the entire box. I decided against it, walked to the self-checkout, and as quickly as the sadness set in, I thought to myself: Hey, dumbass. You’re going to see your kids in, like, three days. What the fuck? Sometimes it’s not worth eating a whole box of Little Debbie’s.