It’s only a few bags. One on each shoulder, one on each elbow, two in my left hand, two in my right, and… one more bag of Twinkies in the backseat. No problem—I’ll pick it up with my teeth.

Multiple trips? No way. I’m not leaving anything to take in “next.” There is no “next.” There is only “bringing everything inside at once and dislocating both shoulders from the weight of seven cases of on-sale SpaghettiOs.”

Multiple trips?! Can you imagine? I’d have to drop off the first load in the kitchen, then go all the way back to my driveway. And open my car door again. And walk up to the house again. And open the front door again. Such a time suck—that’s two minutes I could use to struggle to bring in all the food at once, walking twice as slowly and probably tripping a few times.

Besides, taking one trip is part of my workout plan. My arms will get absolutely ripped from lifting the weekly groceries for my family of eight. A second trip would take me an entire ten steps to the car and back, but leg day was yesterday—when I wandered around Home Depot for two hours looking for a toilet brush instead of asking for help.

I don’t need help now, either. When the neighbors see me struggling to close the car door with my foot while balancing four dozen eggs on my head, and then trudging at a snail’s pace, legs buckling under a month’s supply of Lunchables, they’ll think I’m so strong. I can’t let Carol from next door judge me for not taking in ten gallons of milk in one go, or, God forbid, letting my wife carry some things.

Tell me, did the Apollo 11 spacecraft take Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the historic moon landing in separate trips? Did the pioneers on the Oregon Trail make two cross-country journeys to bring all their provisions to the new land because they had too much? Did our ancient ancestors spear the mighty mammoth and bring the spoils to their caves in multiple trips because it was too heavy? Of course not! Well, I’m pretty sure. Don’t quote me on that.

And tell me, if I can’t take in twenty buckets of ice cream at once, am I really a man? My parents didn’t raise me to be a Two-Trip Tommy. When I was a young boy, my dad always made me carry the groceries inside without any help. If I left even a single tin of Altoids to take in later, he’d shake his head, oozing disappointment like the fifteen bottles of maple syrup I was clutching in my tiny hand. “Again!” he’d say. “One trip or nothing! Again!” Dozens of trips, each worse than the last. “Multiple trips aren’t so nice, are they? Again! AGAIN!”

It builds character. The handles of forty plastic bags slice deep into my forearms, cutting off my circulation and creating fresh tiger-stripe wounds after each journey from Kroger. I am a warrior, and I wear these scars proudly. A single middle finger turns white and screams in agony as it hooks a bag of Lean Cuisines, a subtle “eff you” to anyone who doubts me.

But time is running out. Handles start to snap. A bag filled with hot dogs and Spam splits open at the bottom. I stagger up to the front door, where I do my traditional dance of trying to get my key from my pocket without dropping anything. I will not set any bags on the ground. I WILL NOT!

Someday, I aspire to bring in all my groceries with zero trips. That is true enlightenment.

But for now, I will settle for one trip. One strong, efficient, flawless trip. Well, flawless aside from the smashed pickle jars, squished bread loaves, and raw ground beef package that somehow exploded all over one of the bags.

Looks like I’ll need to go back to the store. But it’ll just be a quick trip, and I’m only getting ten or fifteen things. I’ll carry them all in my hands—baskets are for wimps.