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Ode to a C-store

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If you don’t think C-stores inspire serious poetry, you haven’t been paying attention.

A few weeks ago we blogged about great scenes from movies with gas stations and got a healthy response from readers. One suggested we do a similar article for TV series.

We’ll undoubtedly do that at some time in the future, but we wondered where else gas stations and C-stores might appear in pop culture or, for that matter, culture culture. It didn’t take long to find out, thanks to the convenience of the Internet, or as it’s sometimes known around here, Research for Dummies™.

As if acting in response to a dare, we started with the most high-falutin’ connection we could make: poetry and C-stores. It’s not an association that immediately jumps to mind. Gas stations maybe—around a lot longer and seem more ingrained in the U. S. mindscape—but not C-stores.

Turns out we were wrong. C-stores do lend themselves to poetry, and don’t mean questionable limericks or children’s nursery rhymes. We’re talking the real deal.

Take the “Patron Saint of the Convenience Store” by Charlotte Matthews, published in no less a prestigious journal than the American Poetry Review. It reminded us of the picture we ran a few weeks back about the Dalai Lama visiting a C-store, but runs much deeper than that.

Another serious poem dedicated to the C-store is by Jeffrey Harrison, known simply as “Convenience Store” . We found it on the Poetry Foundation website and its themes include how being in a certain place (guess where?) at a certain time can touch off recollections that unlock insights into our thoughts and feelings.

We always joke about the lighter side of the C-store scene and this blog will prominently feature that aspect of the industry because it’s so much fun, but it’s hard to deny how deeply the C-store is woven into the consciousness of Americans no matter what their personal makeup. It’s becoming a universal symbol, and being part of an iconic industry is certainly exciting.

By the way, if you think we’ve lost our sense of humor and are going to turn this blog into a literary journal, don’t worry, we aren’t. To prove it, we’ll sign off with a joke that takes place in a C-store.

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