I went to the grocery yesterday after church. I was in the pasta aisle trying unsuccessfully to find roasted red pepper sauce, when a lady near me asked, “Honey, do you know what durum wheat is?”

I clued her in, and she shook her head. “I’m 80 years old. You’d think I’d be able to buy noodles.”
“There are too many choices,” I suggested.

And indeed, the grocery store was ready for the holidays, with special products in merchandisers in the aisles and cheery boxes of weird stuff. For example, you can now buy Ritz crackers dipped in dark chocolate, and I am not making that up. I was looking for Rye-Krisp, or Ak-Mak or something healthy like that, without success, but I could have had chocolate-covered crackers.

These are also the people who brought you Mock Apple Pie. 6 Ritz crackers, I’m told, are the caloric equivalent of a brownie, so maybe they’re on the right track.

They didn’t have Orowheat bread, either, though they had myriad squishy loaves. Nor plain lemon yogurt, though they had Trix yogurt and yogurt with special stomachic properties and yogurt pretending to be dessert.

But you could I guess go into the grocery store every week and marvel at the sheer range of options. I felt more as though I was having to look through lots and lots of nearly identical things in order to learn that they didn’t have what I wanted (no dried fruit bits, either, though they did have cherry-essence-infused prunes and yogurt-candy-covered raisins).

And I’m not even 80.