Superman, Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk all possess superpowers, but I enjoy supremacy even greater than x-ray vision, unlimited strength or the ability to fly. My capabilities come from grocery lists in my pocket and canned goods on aisle seven. It’s the power of food acquisition and I’ve assumed extreme control.
Those of us in the know know it doesn’t get any better than that.
Simply put, I do 97.376 percent of the grocery shopping for my family. Let the scope of that sink in for a moment. Pause and ponder like you might over the glazed donuts in the bakery section.
Victuals. Chow. Sustenance. Edibles. Nourishment. Cuisine. Food impacts the menu, mood, mind and mojo – and the person purchasing the food is in charge. Not even Superman with his flowing red cape and tight blue tights can top that.
It’s absolute power at its finest. If I want tacos for supper, we have tacos for supper. Yo quiero. Never mind they had tacos at school for lunch. To heck with that. Mom’s got a craving – for pizza or potato salad or potpie. It’s what’s for dinner.
Creamy or chunky, white or wheat, whole or skim, dill or sweet, apples or bananas, cool ranch or spicy hot, rocky road or Neapolitan, cheddar or pepper jack, mayo or the other stuff – it’s all my call.
It gets even better. I alone am in control of their entire cookie supply. Chocolate chip, frosted or oatmeal – I get to choose. Snack control is a commanding tool when in the hands of the skilled superhuman formerly known as mom.
For instance, three years ago I banished fruit snacks from the pantry, declaring them imposters – without membership in any food group. The young people living with me still beg for fruit snacks on occasion, but I’m holding fast. Power trips can be exhilarating.
Speaking of power trips, I took two today. There’s another perk of my supremacy – multiple trips to the grocery store on any given Tuesday. This phenomenon occurs when an essential item is forgotten during the initial outing. Even superheroes have memory lapses. Today I forgot dog treats and ice cream, which were egregious errors according to all four and two-legged inhabitants of my home. So I returned for round two of the hunger games. They are happy with me now. That isn’t always the case.
Like the time I went on a diet. They lost 12 pounds between them during the first week; I was up two. I finally caved and bought some white bread and processed cheese spread. It took a couple days, but they warmed up to me eventually. Such is the price of super-heroism.
Sometimes one of them attempts to accompany me to the store. They’ve even tried stowing away in the backseat, but I’m smarter than a fifth grader – plus I have eyes in the back of my head. Having a sidekick acts like kryptonite to my superpowers and causes us to return home with extra cereal and corn chips. There can be only one superhero in the family – except if you are Batman.
I am not a complete mom of steel. I allow them to make food requests, which I may or may not fulfill. They’ll just have to wait and see. Anticipation can encourage a person do super-uncharacteristic and super-helpful things – like make the bed, pick up dirty clothes off the floor, empty the dishwasher, throw in a load of laundry or mow the lawn without being asked. All completed in the time it takes your mom to do the grocery shopping.
The power to influence them like that is nothing short of super – and I’m not even wearing my cape today.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication." You can read more and follow her column on the Slices of Life page on Facebook.