Everyone Say “Cheese”
SOMETIMES IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ORDINARY DAY there can be a moment that makes all of the nonsense fade into the background. I had one of those moments yesterday- in the middle of the Dollar Store of all places.
It is a scientific fact that one of universal tasks of men worldwide is to go out and pick up that one item that got left off the shopping list during the trip to the supermarket. Yesterday that straggler was Parmesan Cheese. You know, that stuff that is called cheese, but that I think is really just flavored pencil shavings.
It was getting close to dinner time and the guests would be arriving soon and there is no way we can serve a big pot of spaghetti, sauce, and garlic bread without that plastic container of pencil shavings…er…Parmesan Cheese. That was my call to saddle up.
I didn’t relish the thought of having to drive back to the supermarket and deal with the horde of other husbands all wandering around from aisle to aisle looking for the one item that they have been sent out to fetch. I’ve done that before and it is like facing a terrified herd of reindeer sure that a pack of hungry wolves (All looking for some Parmesan Cheese) is coming up behind them. I knew that there had to be a better way to find the pencil shavings and get back home before the guests arrived and were thrown into wide-eyed panic because there was no Parmesan Cheese.
I sat behind the wheel unsure of what to do. Gird my loins and head back to the supermarket or drive into the light pole at the corner and eat hospital food? Neither option made me feel sufficiently masculine. There had to be a better way out. Then it popped into my brain like a ten year old boy who has just learned how to make fake fart noises with his arm pit: The Dollar Store!
The Dollar Store was much closer than the supermarket and they carry a wide range of food items beyond beef jerky and off-brand soft drinks. They could be my salvation. It’s where crazy people and desperate husbands shop.
When I pulled into the parking lot at the Dollar Store I had a bit of a scare when I saw one husband looking guy coming out with a one item plastic bag and another fellow, looking like a reindeer, going in. I had no choice. I had made my decision and I’d have to live with it. In I went.
Once inside the store I began to wander up and down each aisle in the food section. Nothing in Aisle One. Nothing in Aisle Two. I began to sweat. When I turned into Aisle Three I noticed that there was a smallish woman following close behind me. She had that reindeer look in her eyes. Must be a widow, I thought. I kept an eye on her as I moved through Aisles Four and Five with no pencil shavings in sight. The little lady was right on my tail.
Finally on Aisle Eight I spotted a promising sight: Boxes of Kraft (No Relation) Macaroni and Cheese. Just a few items farther down the aisle I saw what I’d been seeking – my El Dorado, my Holy Grail, my Cheese! I grabbed one of the plastic containers and turned to head for the checkout at the front of the store when I heard a voice.
“Oh, good. You found just what I’ve been looking for.”
It was the woman who had been shadowing my every move. She was looking for Parmesan Cheese too and was using me as her bloodhound. I guess I looked like I knew what I was doing – a Dollar Store Pro.
I had no choice. I handed the woman my plastic Parmesan. She thanked me and smiled. In an effort to make something positive out of this overall negative experience I responded to her “Thanks” with, “What time should I be there for dinner?” She gave me a look, turned, and scurried away pencil shavings in hand. I picked up another container, feeling very seduced and abandoned, and headed home.
Everyone was waiting when I arrived. They were really waiting for the Parmesan Cheese, not me. I told them the story of my adventure in Aisle Eight. They listened, nodded, and said, “Pass the Cheese.”