Longing for Gray


I raise money for a living.  I work at a large YMCA in the development office.  Currently we are working on a $117,000,000 campaign which will allows us to build five new YMCAs, renovate several existing Ys and camps, send tens of thousands of children to programs who otherwise could not afford to attend and grow our endowment.  Most people don’t like to ask folks for money.  I got over that about a decade ago.  I just really believe in the work that we do.

I often drive prospective donors around in my car to take them to programs or show them construction sites.  I drive a 2007 Acura MDX.  It’s a nice car that I’ve kept well maintained.  But it is old.  Each time I have an appointment, I try to remember to tidy up my vehicle wanting to make a good impression.

Recently, I pulled up to our downtown Y facility to pick up a couple I had never met.  They were older, a bit reserved.  I had forgotten to tidy.

I opened the car door for the wife and as she climbed in the back of my car, I noticed a number of tampons, in very colorful wrapping, dispersed across the seat and floor.

I dived in before her explaining my situation: “I am a widower and have three teenage daughters…” who apparently want me to get fired!

It used to be Cherrios I’d find strewn about my vehicle.  My how times change.

I don’t get this.  Do they just grab a handful and dash out of the house as if they’re taking mints from the checkout counter at Denny’s?  What good are they to them in the car floor?  Why not in a backpack or purse?

Why are they packaged in the most vivid colors available?  Neon green, yellow and pink.  You can’t miss them.  They glow in the dark.

On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked to hold a stash in my pocket at an event.  I’ve reached for my keys before and had a tampon explosion – dropping them on the floor and having to scurry around to clean up my mess.  At least they’re easy to find.



I wish women had pockets.  I wish cars had built in hygiene storage compartments.  I wish tampons came in plain, gray packages.

The Daddy Errand

On my way out the door last night to help a friend clean his father’s house out, I got a call from upstairs, “Dad, I need some femine products.  Can you pick some up at the store on your way home?”

Geeeze.  I hate that.  Why do I have to be the Tampon Taxi?  We were all at Target last weekend, right near that department, and no one mentioned a shortage.  Why weren’t we proactive?  Someone should have mentioned the shortage!

It’s one thing to buy that stuff with a cart full of other items.  But going in just for that?  Man.

That night, I discovered that there are six hundred options on the female aisle.  One of them can even make you fly!  Seriously, it has wings.  I started to buy a pack of those for myself, thought I’d tape them to my back and jump off the porch. I bet that’s what Peter Pan used.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough cash.

There were the “all night longers”, the “breezy while you workers” and I think I saw a “start your day at schooler”.  They came in the shape of a U, an L, a T and a B.  I challenged the woman next to me to a game of Scrabble.  She didn’t take me up on it.  She could probably sense my affinity for words.

There were liners and pads and full on insulation.  I think it’s the same stuff that’s lining the walls of my attic – they call it Tyvek.

A couple had aloe and one had vitamin E.  Who needs a multi-vitamin with those in the house?

I could have started a band:  one clicked, another snapped – there was one with a toot and a pad-da-pat-pat.

Some came in “bold colorful styles” …


The reason I’m so educated on this subject is because I read each of the names and several of the labels when I phoned home for product clarification. It took three conversations to complete this daddy errand.

At least I’ve passed the point of embarrassment at purchasing these items.  I just tossed them on the counter, asked if they happen to be on sale, and smiled at the lady like all four boxes were for me.

Indeed they were buy one box get the second half price.  Now you’re speaking my language.

(P.S. – I specifically asked my daughters if I could write about this adventure.  The general sentiment seemed to be: We don’t care.  You were the dork walking through the drug store, not us.)

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