Sunday, September 11, 2016

338. Shopping

People ask me how I manage an unearthly creature with a strange sense of humor. I tell them it isn’t easy. For example, I made the mistake of taking him to Big Mart yesterday. Never again.

He had assumed the form, usually one of his least troublesome, of Sanford the Senior Citizen. He wore shorts that stopped just above his knobby knees and a bright shirt with “Been There. Done That” printed across the top. A sporty hat of straw completed the look.

He usually converses in a plain and honest fashion when shaped up as Sanford. Honesty works at home, but not so well byond I found out to my dismay.

We did fine until we reached the vegetable section. Actually, it was the first place we reached as we began going counter-clockwise around the store. He stopped me there and demanded that we go clockwise. I patiently explained to him that one did not go clockwise through Big Mart, and he began to yell that he was much more knowledgeable about how to go through stores than I. A man behind us asked politely if we might take our argument elsewhere. We moved over and allowed him to pass. I heard C.W., Sanford, whoever, say, “Up yours sonny,” to him as he passed. I pretended to examine the cabbage.

We moved a few feet and were, ourselves, stopped by a woman talking on a cell phone. She spoke loud enough to be heard a block away, but C.W. eased up directly behind her, leaned in, and cupped a hand to his ear. I picked up a package of carrots and studied them.

The lady seemed to be talking to a friend about her husband, or boyfriend, one or the other, for she listened a moment and announced, “I told him he ain’t getting’ that stuff no more ‘til he straightens out. No sir.”

C.W. turned to me and pointed at her with a lewd grin. She listened to the phone, then spoke again. “I told him I didn’t know where that thang had been, so he could just keep it to hisself.”

At that point, C.W. took a large cucumber from a stack and offered it to her. “Tell him you done found a replacement for him anyway,” he said to her.

A large crowd and an assistant manager later, we moved over to the meat section. Another woman blocked our way, Words fail me in describing her. C.W. called her “the circle woman,” pointing out that her height and width radii were equal. She was wearing a short pullover and, evidently, nothing else. Did I mention that it was short?

A voice rang through the store. “Look at them hams,” I reversed direction and pretended I had never seen the speaker. I managed to avoid him until I turned into an aisle in the health goods section. There he was, maybe thirty feet away. He formed his hands into a megaphone and yelled at the top of his voice, “Hey, Big Dope. Here’s them Tampons you wanted.” Every head within hearing distance turned toward me.

I rushed over and pulled him aside. “This is not the place for jokes,” I said.

“That’s what Mrs. Big Dope said when I came with her,” he said. Then he grew serious, pointed toward the main aisle, and said, “If this is not the pace for jokes, explain that.”
I don't understand it. Big Dope doesn't cook, but
always heads for the cookware section. - C.W.

He pointed toward the sporting goods section at a man with a three-day growth of beard, and who had a Jim Beam hat perched back on his head. A dirty shirt with the sleeves cut out revealed half his midsection behind meaty arms. He wore cutoff jeans and high-top tennis shows that hung loose and untied. An enormous stomach protruded a good foot beyond the waistband of his jeans. The arm nearest us sported a tattoo of an unrecognizable creature of some sort with, barely readable below it, the words “Kiss me. I’m Irish.” He must have gotten the work done when he was a much thinner man.

“You’ve got a point,” I said to C.W. “Now let’s get out of here.”

“Wait one,” he said. “I’ve a marketing idea I want to pass on to this guy.” The same assistant manager we had met before walked over when C.W. beckoned.

“This is a college town, right?” C.W. asked.

“Why yes sir, it is,” the man said.

“Have you considered,” C.W. said, “the potential increase in sales if you were to stock the Raman Noodles and condoms side by side?”

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