Monday, December 31, 2007

The Flashback

#340 The Flashback

It happens every year at this time, this time being the period between Christmas and New Year's eve.

The flashback.

In the supermarket parking lot on the Sunday before the New Year, and there's this 20-something guy and he's collecting empty shopping carts and getting ready to move them back inside.

And he's whistling. And he's not whistling loud enough nor working close enough to be sure. But the wind catches some of the notes, and the suspicion is that it's "Jingle Bells." Jingle Bells. We haven't heard enough by now? And from a 20-something guy who, if he whistles at all, is much more likely to be whistling something by Megadeth. (That may be a stretch. No Megadeth tune has an actual melody, but you get the picture. This is not a generation that whistles at all, let along whistles tunes by either Megadeth OR John Pierpont.)

This has to stop!

"Hey, tell me I'm wrong, but are you whistling "Jingle Bells?"

"Yeah, I'm afraid so," he replies, redding and putting on that sheepish puppy look that only someone that age can muster convincingly.

"Why? For cryin' out loud, haven't you had enough of that?"

"Well, you know, I've been working 40 or 60 hours a week inside the store for the last month or so and that's all they'd play on the loudspeaker."

"Well, you know, they have proven therapy for that condition."

He sheepishes his way around the parking lot, hunting up empty carts and lines up a long string of them and starts pushing them toward the store.

This is not some ORDINARY supermarket. This is FancyMan's, the fanciest supermarket in this -- and possibly any other town. And they have strict procedures about the way everything is done. Everything. From stocking the shelves, to greeting customers at the register and actually listening to their answer to "how are you?"

And one of these ten or 12 thousand rules is no one pushes more than seven carts at a time, lest there be injury to pusher or pedestrian or driver.

FancyMan's knows the population around here. Like the average driver, who doesn't know where the turn signal in his car is. So it pays to protect emplees from these drivers and these drivers from runaway carts.

But this kid has like 15 or 20 carts and he's pushing them toward the building.

Probably should report him. But after 60 hours of continuous jingle bells and the accompanying post-holiday flashback, he might become dangerous -- even while sporting a convincing sheepish-puppy look.

You'd probably hear him mutter "you don't get it unless you've been there." Or "is that your car, over there, the one with the huge, shopping-cart-shaped dent in the left door?"

Better to be diplomatic and say nothing.

Plus, you turn in a guy for an infraction like this and he's likely to lead the rest of his life as a petty criminal or low level street hood. (Ever hear anyone described as a "high level street hood?")

This is being typed about eight hours after the fact.

But jingle bells lives on in my head, somewhere it never would lodge had it not been for that shopping cart criminal.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®

©2007 WJR

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