Big Tipper

I give $11 in change to a customer. She throws the dollar back on the counter and says,

“Go get yourself something nice.” I pick up the dollar and say,

“Finally! I can go to the dollar store and get that plastic palm tree cup I’ve had my eye on.”

Motherly Embarrassment 

When I was a kid my Mother used to like embarrassing me in public. Mainly she’d say things she’d assume a normal kid would be embarrassed by. And it did. For a while. But once you’ve heard your mother loudly call,

“Chris, do you have enough prune juice for the day?”

A few times you sort of harden.

The last time she ever did it we were in a crowded drug store. I was at one end of the aisle, she at the other with four or five people between us and many others milling about. She calls down the aisle,

“Chris, should I see if the druggist has those condoms you like?”

People in the aisle stop and look at me. In my head everyone in the store stopped. I just smile and say,

“Is it my turn for date night again, Ma?”

New Insults

I was in a room with a group of people. Also known as a bar. As often happens in places like that with groups of people is someone is being loud. Everyone can hear each utterance from every lunkhead at the table.

Have you ever noticed it’s never someone being loud in a room screaming, “I’ve found a cure for cancer!”

It’s always some numb nut  who shouldn’t be giving anyone his opinion even if his life depended on it. On second thought, especially then.

The gist of his rant is of the general quality for chaps such as these. Of course there’s the leader of the pack. He’s not saying anything different than anyone else, just louder.

He, the dick in question, is of the Caucasian persuasion who blames everyone not of his ilk for all the horrendous events that have ever happened in the world even if that race, creed or gender wasn’t anywhere near that disaster at the time.

But logic is not a strong suit for guys (and why is it mostly guys you hear with this? Come on, gals! Take off those aprons! Stop breastfeeding that baby – or toddler if there are separation issues! Get on your soapbox – have a man flip it over for you so you don’t get splinters – and let us hear you roar!) like this. Whatever is wrong in the world, his real world invented for him by one of the many trusted news reporters and calm, reasoned radio broadcasters he mindlessly follows, could never, has never nor will be the fault of his kind.

I don’t think it was the mouthful of colorful phrases dribbling out of his spittle caked quivering lips that bothered the gentleman ten feet from me. I think he was pissed off at the length and all inclusiveness of the diatribe. His quiet was being disturbed.

I could tell he was going to say something. You’ve seen that moment before someone sitting there quietly while a maelstrom is winding around him is about to erupt. He was getting to it. But I could see his dilemma. Acting out would only reinforce this idiots views. I could see the battle behind his eyes.

Then, under his breath, as if he’s trying it out, he mumbles, “Fucking racists.”

“What did you say?”

How the fuck did he hear him? I barely heard him and I’m the closest person to him. I think folks like him are super tuned in to  those they rail against.

I see the guy also wondering how he heard him. Now he doesn’t know how to continue. Fighting verbal fire with fire with people like this never works. They won’t listen so all it ends up being is two sputtering idiots. And that’s exactly what he wants. To bring those he is prejudice against down to his level.

The guy looks at me. I smile. I lean over to him. He leans toward me.

“Don’t call them racists. That’s like a badge of honor. Call him what he really is.”

“What’s that?”

“Tighty whities.”

The guy laughs, sits back and laughs. Then he bellows loud enough to be heard across the street.

“I didn’t say anything to  you, you tighty whitey.” He keeps laughing while the guy doesn’t know what to do. He can defend racist, bigot and misogynistl. He’s got those loaded in his peashooter. But tighty whitey?

That’s a game changer.

A woman is talking to me. . .

“I grew up in the fourth largest city in North Dakota.”

“Do you know how boring that must have been?” She looks at me as if I’ve insulted her and she’s probably right.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because you know that fact.”

Have you ever. . .

. . .met someone so obnoxious from the first minute you’re introduced you’re planning on which body part of yours to gnaw off to hasten your escape?

Yeah, me too.

I was introduced to this guy and you would have thought he was writing my bio. Where where you born? What were your parents names? What schools did  you go to? Just useless rapid-fire questions. I don’t know about you, but, when I meet someone the last thing I care about is what school they went to.

Unless they’re my doctor or plumber.

I know it’s hard to believe but I’m trying to be rude but I’m also trying not to answer his questions to specifically. So I can tell he thinks I’m being rude.

“Where were you born?”

“Massachusetts.”

“Where’d you grow up?”

“Massachusetts.”

“Where do you live?”

“Massachusetts.”

But you’d think he was a DA who was trying to break me on the stand because he just kept coming. I know the entire interrogation took less time  than it’s taking me to write it but it seemed as if I aged seventy-two hours in that time.

“Why won’t you answer my questions?”

“Massa. . .I am answering your questions.”

“Not really.”

“No, I am. Just not the way you want.”

“Can you at least tell me what you do for work?”

With that question I think I found my escape. The moment he asked that question the perfect answer popped into my head. I love when that happens. It’s an answer that will force him to recoil in horror. He’ll have to stop asking questions because, once the answer is out there, it can only get worse for Question Boy.

“I own a string of used porn magazine stores.”

He blinks disbelievingly. I can see him have to process if I really said that; if that had a shred of truth; if, indeed such a business exists. And in that time I made my escape.

All my extremities intact but another human beings soul was cracked. A perfect outcome.

From across the. . .

. . .twenty foot divide he looked like an epileptic mime. He may have been trying to communicate but his big boy words wouldn’t work. Once again, forgoing personal safety, I move closer. He watched my tentative approach never ceasing his rapid shuddering. For the third time I asked him what his issue was. But he never spoke. He just kept writhing.

I stood in front of him, silently, both of us, for a good fifteen to twenty seconds. His movements becoming somewhat less frenetic but they continued unabated. I marveled at his endurance. Flailing like a wind chime being battered by a breeze must be tiring.

Finally, the spasmotics ceased. He blinked a few times. I could sense a desire to communicate.

“Itch.” He croaked.

“Have you ever heard of scratching?” I questioned before turning back to what has sadly become the sanity of my world.

The best part of waking up. . .

. . .is going back to bed.

My first thought this morning at 5:30AM.