I live in Leakey. If you don’t know where that is, good. We Leakey-locals kind of like being off the grid. Therefore, I don’t get many opportunities to experience the civilized world. I do see cool commercials on my satellite TV for nice restaurants, and unique attractions, but I’m not going to drive two hours to try them out. Recently, my family went to Georgetown over the weekend to watch my son’s football game at Southwestern University.

The kickoff wasn’t until late afternoon, and so I spent the day doing what good dads of college students are supposed to do - taking care of their kid’s vehicles.

You may ask, “Why don’t I make my kid take care of his own vehicle?” Indeed, I asked myself that very same thing the whole time I was sweating my labor of love for my kid.

However, if you have a college-age child, you already know the answer to that question - they don’t. I spent the whole morning cleaning out 50 lbs. of Whataburger leftovers, changing the oil, and checking the fluids.

On the way back to deliver the truck back to student parking, I noticed an IKEA home furnishings warehouse. Heck, I had a couple of hours to kill, and I’ve always wondered about the place, so I whipped into the parking lot and headed for the entrance. Little did I know what I had in store (no pun intended).

As I walked up to the ingress, I was immediately awestruck by the expanse of the structure growing before me. It reminded me of the Roman Colosseum, and entranced, I enthusiastically followed the crowd of visitors who were funneling like sheep into the gallery for living room décor.

The massive scale of engineering, including the use of space, product presentation and even the flat packaging was impressive. Everywhere I looked, my curiosity was tempted by every product imagined by the mind of man related to a living room. Sofas, recliners, ottomans, coffee tables, and entertainment centers stretched out as far as the eye could see.

Actually, the eye couldn’t see all that far, because false partition walls only allowed glimpses of what was coming up. I moved on - section after section, my attention drawn like a moth to a flame.

After walking what seemed like a bonified mile, I made it into the kitchen subdivision. The endcaps were shelved with every conceivable product made for food preparation - everything from sub-zero built-in refrigerators to salt shakers. I began to be overwhelmed by stuff, mountains - no, mountain ranges of just stuff.

I also started to realize that through bamboozled consumerism, I had become completely and totally lost. I had no idea where I was in relation to the building exit, and my only alternative was to follow a meandering blue line painted on the floor with the rest of the sheep. My blood pressure had ticked its way up into the danger zone. I walked a little faster, and my feet became sore and fatigued, having traveled at least 4 miles with no end in sight. Panic began to overwhelm me, but somehow, I resisted the urge to break into a full run. I felt like I was caught up in some warped dimension of time and space with names like “FLEMMAN VAG,” “SKANKA,” and my favorite - “DOMBASS” which described the way I felt about myself entirely.

Finally, an open area in the distance. Maybe I’d made it to the exit. My pace quickened at the sight of actual windows and real sunlight which shown like a beacon of warmth to my soul. I broke into the open, and my heart sank with despair and anguish - the food court. The survivors were guzzling down bottled water and Swedish meatballs. Yes, I was aware of alleged horse meat reports. I’d rather die than eat horsemeat, but death from starvation at this point in the ordeal was a very real perceived probability, and I ate like a horse (again - no pun intended). Don’t judge me, readers. If you had been there, you would be eating them too.

I could see, through the windows, the section of the parking lot where my son’s truck was located, and although I yearned to depart, I was trapped in a human maze with no exit in sight. I was forced to continue with the ordeal that I had brought upon myself. They say that some folks, lost in the wilderness, eventually die from shame, and vowing not to be counted among them, I tossed off the last of my peach-mango slushy, and toed the line… literally. Much the wiser, I completely ignored piles of home merchandise displayed before me.  I kept myself focused on escape rather than the time and distance I had covered - somewhere in the 20-mile range. I tried to occupy my mind with pleasant thoughts while blocking the bad ones; like watching my son run out on the field in uniform on a beautiful fall afternoon - if I ever got to see him again.

Stop it, John, of course you’ll get to see your family again. Some of the other sheep and I began to exchange our desperate ideas, and we devised a plan. I would cause a disturbance - distracting the guards (I mean staff) while the other guys punched through the fake walls.

Maybe we could gather other allies on the way and make our own legion of escapees. The only problem was that we still didn’t know where we were located relative to the actual exit, and fearing that we might end up back in the food court, we plodded along with the rest of the exhausted crowd - resigned to the fact that we were trapped in our own sullen destiny.

 Suddenly, a light up ahead. The sheep accelerated their stride, nearly knocking over a collection of “FYRKANTIG” in their blind and reckless state of mind. I was almost free. All I had to do was vault over the waist-high chain with the “Please Do Not Cross” sign hanging on it, and I was out of the gauntlet. 50 yards -  30 - 10 yards.

Whoa, hold on here - this section says, “Buy As Is,” and wonder of wonders, there’s one half of a pea-green sectional sofa on sale at $600 below retail. I know I don’t need a sectional sofa, and I hate the color green, but a deal like this?

 I bet it would fit in my son’s truck. I’ll ask the guard if he has a tape measure and check it out.

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