Sunday, May 4, 2014

No Check Please.

It may, or may not be true, but I think I saw in a movie where Dian Fossey had her appendix removed before she went to Africa so it wouldn’t be a bother to her while she studied gorillas. I’m thinking about doing some research myself so an operation might be in order. But I’m thinking about studying shoppers; I may have to have my brain removed in order to blend in with them more effectively.
Usually, I park as far away from the door as I can at any grocery store. Stupidity is like radioactivity; the closer to the source the stronger it gets. I’ve got some theories on why shopping makes people even more stupid than they are on a regular basis. The first is people usually have to drive to get to a grocery store. You can take a person who taught Neil deGrasse Tyson everything he ever knew, put that person behind the wheel of a car in traffic and that person’s head will tilt to one side, drool will start coming out of their mouth, you can hear their IQ dropping, and they will have the sudden urge to text, “OMG r u going 2 d store? LOL!” while driving seventy-five miles an hour through a school zone.

So, it’s actually no surprise once they arrive there is already a certain degree of brain damage. But let’s also look at what’s being sold in grocery stores. Once upon a time there was this small section, usually close to the front, where you’d find soft drinks and snacks. Now both species of High Fructose Corn Syrup Derivatives have their own aisles. Sugar makes a human being hyper and stupid. That’s what you want when you are selling anything; hyper-stupid customers.

And they have certainly got them.

I remember when there were two, count them, two kinds of potato chips. Now there are a few dozen including Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Covered Pickles and Sea Salt Beets Chips that taste exactly like the ice cream that flavored after the potato chip of the same name. All of this has the nutritional value of Plutonium 462.

I cannot help but wonder if we’re slowly poisoning ourselves out of existence. I see people in the grocery stores with buggies loaded down with nothing but junk. The produce aisle is a place they frequent as often as they do a bookstore. I see people with kids and they’ve loaded down with High Carbs, Sugar, Sodium by the pound, High Fructose Poison and damn little else. The human body cannot build what it’s supposed to build with these materials so what will it build instead? Justina Beaver Fans?

Oh, by the way, I’m there for a bottle of red wine. In moderation, which one bottle split between two people can be considered and it’s good for your heart.

So there I am, bottle of wine and I’m blocked in by three people who are totally mystified by the helium canister which suddenly isn’t blowing up balloons anymore. They’re twisting the valve open and closed and they’re pressing the button on the valve but it doesn’t occurring to them they’re blocking an aisle. These same people will stop in the middle of the road, right next to a turn lane, to turn, and not use a blinker. Their heads tilt to one side, drool begins…

I go around them.

Ten Items or Fewer; is this hard to understand? Really, you don’t even have to take your shoes off for this one. Ten:   One more than nine, twice as five, one less than eleven, two eggs short of a dozen, half of twenty, or all fingers including your thumbs. I learned ten a very long time ago, truly, I did. Yet here’s this woman with more stuff piled up on the ten or fewer aisle than the Walton’s ate in a week. The poor cashier, a child of no more than twenty or so, looks overwhelmed, but she’s nearly through with the Marines’ First Division’s supplies so I get in line. Ever have one of those days when you do something seemingly harmless but it turns into something else before you realize you’ve done it? I put the wine bottle on the belt and when the girl starts the belt the bottle tips over. No big deal. I’m not going to stand it up again because it might fall. Without thinking about it I spin the bottle and as my mind catches up with what I’ve just done my hand stops the bottle and it points at the cashier. She looks at the bottle, we both look at one another, and she turns much redder than the wine. Do people still play that? I had no idea. I thought that was something indigenous to my youth. But now I feel awkward and self-conscious.


The woman buying a year’s supply of Ten or Fewer asks if she can use a check to pay for her preparations for the Apocalypse.  The cashier, who likely at this point, thinks I’m a depraved old man, tells the woman she can, and the woman digs around in her Biggest Bag Ever for a checkbook. Why not have it out already? WHY? So the woman begins to write the check, stops, and asks if she can write it over the amount. Yes, yes of course, the cashier pleads with her, just write. Okay, how much over can I write it? Twenty. All I need is ten. Ten will be fine. Thank you. Then her pen dies. The cashier, who is still blood red, gives her another pen.  Oh, I have to put this in my register or I’ll forget it. The woman fills out the check for the wrong amount. I can’t stand it. I have to flee and I go across the store to the office counter with one bottle of wine and a really odd feeling that that young woman really thinks I’m a pervert.

Back in the parking lot I pray for a quick escape. It is not to be. There’s a bright young man with a bright white shirt on and he’s wearing black pants and has literature. Ah, there’s nothing like a zealot to make the day seem a little more surreal. Before he can say anything I point and exclaim, “Look! It’s the Pope!” and duck into my truck.

The first contact with my subjects of study has been interesting. I’ve managed to keep my appendix and barely escaped with my dignity. Next week, I’m going in again!

Take Care,



  1. "The woman buying a year’s supply of Ten or Fewer asks if she can use a check to pay for her preparations for the Apocalypse."
    Now what?

    1. I live for that day.

      Moreover, I also live for the day some cashier tells someone to take a hike if they show up with eleventy billion items in the ten or fewer lines.

    2. Exactly. One more in the long list of signs that, for some reason, certain people think do not apply to them.

    3. I have not been able to understand why, Rod. Really.