Tuesday, January 02, 2018

COLUMN: Groceries

Well, I officially hate grocery shopping.

This was hard for me to come to terms with. I've always gotten a strange satisfaction from doing my own grocery shopping. As kids, we all had to wander from aisle to aisle with our parents while THEY decided what food we should eat. This was probably for the best, because if I had a say in the matter back then, we'd be wheeling out a cart full of Tombstone pizzas and little else.

But now I'm older and wiser and supposedly control my own destiny. And I'm proud to say that I usually exit the store with one, maybe two Tombstone pizzas at the most. Sometimes I even leave with things that are green and taste icky. When I'm at the grocery store, I legit feel like a responsible adult. Too bad I'm really lousy at adulting.

For a week straight, I had become addicted to eating Thanksgiving leftovers straight from the fridge. But like every year, there comes a point when you literally have to quit cold turkey. That's how I found myself once again navigating the aisles of my nearby grocery store, full of holiday spirit (or maybe just the last of the turkey) and maybe even a little spring in my otherwise wintery step. Nothing could stop this responsible do-gooder from adulting away.

And then I got to the second aisle. That's when I spotted a hapless woman in need of assistance. For me, spotting her was an achievement in and of itself. Usually when I'm wandering about on my own, my mind is Walter-Mitty'ed away in countless directions. Sometimes I'm writing this very column in my head. Sometimes I'm working on a new dance mix. Sometimes I'm trying to remember the ingredients for some random recipe. If life were a Youtube video, I'd be the clueless guy everyone yells at while the typhoon wave bears down behind me.

But it was clear this woman needed some help. She was a fairly short thing, and she was jumping in desperation to reach something on the top shelf. I'm a relatively useless human being, but at least I'm kinda sorta tall-ish. THIS I could handle.

"Hi," I said, all full of good deed warm fuzzies, "Can I reach something for you?"

That's when she turned to me... and shrieked. Note: It was NOT a shriek of adulation, thanks, or joy.

I'm a self-aware human being. By traditional standards of beauty, I'll probably never make it as a supermodel. But I never thought I was so ugly that the mere sight of my monstrous visage would elicit screams of terror and panic. Apparently I was wrong.

"GET AWAY!!!!!" she screamed insanely like an insane person suffering from insanity. "YOU SCARED ME! AAAAAAA! GET AWAY, [EXPLETIVE]!"

Trust me, I wanted nothing more than to get away from Screamy McCrazypants. But naturally by then, people were now RUNNING to the aid of this woman whom it sounded like I was murdering. All I could do was back off and sheepishly try to explain to a growing mob of townspeople that I was trying to help her reach her groceries. Of course, the only thing the news has taught us this month is that there's a better than average chance that every man you've ever known is secretly a deviant sex monster. So I left to another aisle and spent the rest of my shopping experience being glared at by strangers giving me sideeye while clutching their children tight as I passed by.

But they probably had good reason to. As it turns out, I might just be a deviant sex monster after all. I learned this on aisle 7, when music suddenly began blaring out of my crotch. I had made a shopping list on my phone, but I put the phone away before it had locked, and now I had just pocked-opened one of a dozen music apps.

My phone also does this nifty little trick where it completely freezes for up to five minutes without any buttons working -- which meant I couldn't shut it off.

As many of you know, I moonlight as a DJ, which means I need handy access to all the popular songs, including the current wave of vulgar mumble-rap that's dominating the charts. I wish I could tell you the words to the song that was screaming from my crotch, but that's a no-go in a family paper. Let's just say that the vocalist was expressing his immediate and urgent desire for physical intimacy -- by dropping the F-bomb some 26 times before I was able to run out of the store.

There are many lessons to be learned here. (1) In the future, should you require the aid of your fellow man and all you see approaching is Dispatch-Argus columnist Shane Brown, keep looking because he will NOT stop. You could be a screamer. (2) There is NO appropriate time for Post Malone to start playing out of your pants. I've tried. (3) I need a new phone. (4) Next time, I'm going straight for the Tombstone pizzas and leaving.

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