Lost and Not Found

“Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and cannot be found.” I learned that little prayer when I was a kid and mumble it whenever I lose something –which is often. The prayer usually works as I typically find whatever I’d lost except when my son, who is two, stole the remote control a week ago and put it somewhere in the house where I was unable to locate it.

I moved couches. I went through cushions and every toy box. I even looked in the microwave. Who knows? I ingeniously handed my son an old cell phone and followed him hoping that maybe he had a hideaway specifically for technologically advanced ‘Daddy things.’ He didn’t. He said hello a few times and dropped it.

So I piled the kids into the van and set out to the mall to buy a new remote. Malls are wonderfully American places. This particular mall is made to look like a little town center. There are trees inside, birds flying overhead, a fountain and a Merry-go-round. Every store you walk in you have people hurtling over each other to say, “Hello, Welcome to…Can I help you find anything?”

It’s all so American. It’s like a small town square but with a roof overhead so it can’t be closed for rain. Brilliant.

And inauthentic. You know what people think when they go in there? “Oh, this is made to look like a small town.” And then it gets you thinking how un-small town it all is. The pictures in the storefronts are not just scantily clad women; they are naked women. Sure they cover up with their hands or some stitch but still... So I guide my children to the other side of the mall as we go to throw pennies in the fountain.

I see two young girls (probably 11 years old) standing next to each other but each of them speaking to someone else on their headpiece phones. They’re dressed only slightly more than the models. I think to myself, “Who’s letting these girls dress like this?” I notice it all around. Kids as young as eight are dressing like…well…prosti-tots.

Will these girls ever know what it is to blush?

When we sat in the food court, a man two tables over sneezed. And nobody said, “Bless you.” Nothing. And I was too busy watching everyone else not say anything that I didn’t say it either. Something is off in our culture.

“Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and cannot be found.”

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