March 13, 2013
A Kansas City woman exhibited unimaginable courage and creativity this morning by buying groceries at Walmart. Jessica Clark, 34, took the proverbial bull by the horns today and brought home multiple bags, sending shockwaves through her home and surrounding neighborhoods.
"It was a pretty normal morning," said Clark, a well known Facebook status-updater and mother of 4 medium sized children. "I was having some toast in my bed, you know, holding it up high so the baby couldn't reach it, catching up on some TV, and it hits me: we are totally out of milk." It's a scenario we've all feared, a dilemma that strikes at the very core of every human. These are the moments that define us, will we rise to the challenge or fall by it?
"If there is no milk," says Nobel Prize winner and renowned molecular biologist Hazi Neutenberger, "then what is there? Is there cereal? Dry cereal? Is there anything? There is nothing. Without milk, the people will die." Clark was not unaware of the risks. "I can't say I thought about it for long. The choices were no milk or, you know, putting on real pants and going to get some more." She tells the story in a self-effacing manner, downplaying the agony of struggling into her medium-fat jeans and dressing the baby, moments that any of us would recognize as overwhelming. No one would have blamed her, says an anonymous neighbor, if she had just let it go. "We watched her, from, like, the window. She was just walking out there like it was, like, nothing, just putting the baby in the car and pulling out like, like, well, like a hero," the neighbor says, breaking into tears at the retelling. "I don't know what I would do, I don't know if I have that."
Clark, seeing no way around it, drove her minivan to Walmart and bought not just milk, but extra baby wipes and a frozen pizza. "I seen her," says the cashier, "I seen her standing in line, feeding the baby them colored Goldfish and I thought, my God, what a woman."
Was it easy? She says it wasn't. "The waistband of these pants is starting to really dig in, you know? And it's just... parking is not easy. It's not, we all know that. And it's like 11 in the morning, so I'm breakfast hungry but McDonald's is already on the lunch menu, and I don't, you know, want a cheeseburger for breakfast..." Eyewitnesses watched her load the sacks into her Toyota Sienna, wincing in the cold wind. When we asked her about her achievements despite the odds, she answers with a chuckle, "Listen: I'm no hero. I just did what anybody would do," she says, humble even in the face of staggering accomplishment. "I don't want to answer to my kids someday, say, well, it was hard, so I didn't do it, I didn't get the milk. Now I can say, you know, eat your cereal."
It's a lesson for all of us, a day to eat our cereal and to be our better selves. Thank you, Jessica Clark. Thank you.