August 17, 2008

Grocery Punch Line

So back in college, when I lived in my own place, I began grocery shopping for myself and my roomies. It was a new experience, to plan and shop for meals and buy large loads all at once but I enjoyed it. One day, though, I had an odd experience. I was used to odd experiences, we lived in a big town with a Big Ten school. There were plenty of odd experiences to write home about, or not, but this one took the cake.

I was standing in line at my favorite store. I had a rather small load, just milk and cereal and a few other things. I was standing there perusing the magazines behind two other shoppers, when the man in front of me with a full cart began chatting with me. "You won't believe this," he said turning around with a grave look on his face, "but you look so much like my daughter." I smiled, looking up from some beauty magazine, "Oh really?" "Yes, it's quite remarkable." He seemed to get a little quiet and stood staring at the belt going by. Then he turned back. "She died 9 years ago. Can I ask your name?" I told him. "The resemblance is really something. She had long, dark hair, dark eyes, even the glasses..."

It was his turn then and I happened to see a friend of mine walking behind me. We chatted for a moment, then I turned to put my stuff on the belt as the man in front of me was leaving. "Okay, bye Jen," he said casually, "I'll see you later on." I looked up at him strangely, I'm sure, and waved bye.

Ringing up my order, the cashier told me my total: $187! I said she must be mistaken, I only got a handful of items. "But your dad," she said, pointing to the parking lot, "he said you were paying for his order too." Stunned and upset, I instinctively ran out the front doors and made a beeline to the man, who was hurrying to put his last bags into his truck. As I ran up to him, he opened his door trying to jump inside, but I grabbed his boot and began pulling his leg...just like I'm pulling yours.

Gosh, I'm sorry about that. If you feel bad, just think how my parents felt when I wrote this story in a letter home. They were totally freaked out, as was my grandmother who they promptly called and told. She even wrote me a letter saying how awful that story was and how she couldn't stop thinking about it. I think I changed it a bit. In the first story, I think the guy actually asked me to call him "Dad" but that doesn't sound believable, does it. This wasn't my story, this was something passed around the dorm. I'm sure lots of parents heard it.


rosemary said...

Good thing you were in college....

Mom said...

You got me. Good story.

Paul Nichols said...

Orneriness is a gift. Good one.