Wednesday, August 17, 2016

THE BIG QUESTION



There's one thing that really annoys me.
Well, actually there are thousands of things that annoy me, but for now let's concentrate on one.

I'm in the checkout line at Walmart. The unenthusiastic cashier glances at me and says "How are you?"

It's not a question of genuine concern. It's a generic nicety that isn't intended to generate a response.

"Fine," I answer. 

"Fine", in fact, is a drastically contrived abbreviation, utilized solely for the sake of brevity and courtesy.

My genuine answer would go something like this:

"How am I? Have you ever gone three consecutive nights without sleep, the result of which has rendered you disoriented, dysfunctional, and disassociated with every semblance of reality? And when you finally do doze off one night for three minutes at 4:00 a.m. a cat suddenly makes a flying leap for the bed and lands directly on your chest? And while you're trying desperately to at least partially recover from shock and chest pain, another storm suddenly blows in with thunder so loud and penetrating that the bed shakes and I'm miraculously and inexplicably remembering Bible quotes that I haven't recited since I was six.

"Despite not having sleep for 72 hours I crawled out of bed right after the storm abated, and was struck with such agonizingly crippling back pain that I was hobbling like a bad imitation of Quasimodo while the cats clung to my ankles in greedy anticipation of breakfast. The word agonizing isn't sufficient to describe the back spasms that stunned me as I valiantly tried to fill cat dishes with food and clean water.
And if you think that's bad, it's nothing compared to lifting two heavy litter boxes loaded with cat shit that I seemingly clean every half hour.

"Despite my unappealing morning I somehow managed to get dressed and drive into town. The harrowing mountain road was so unnerving that my legs are still wobbling like a leftover jello mold and - despite ingesting four or five beers - my hands are still cramped with rigor mortis rigidity from gripping the steering wheel.

"I have heart palpitations, neuralgia, insomnia, paranoia, inexplicable momentary episodes of impending doom, massive migraine headaches, and panic attacks that would baffle Freud - - and that's on a good day. I won't mention the times when I happen to look in a mirror and go into debilitating regions of shock when I realize that I'm not twenty anymore and am starting to turn into  a frighteningly reasonable facsimile of Baby Jane Hudson.

"But despite the ancient mental baggage that I carry like a millstone and the few minor  physical maladies, I'm still a fantastic kisser and damn good in bed if I'm with the right person. Are you doing anything Friday night?"



That was supposed to be funny, but I can see that I'm the only one laughing. 
Humor obviously isn't contagious.

It's not easy being funny - - and it's even more difficult conveying it in a blog when you're drunk.

I had more than a few beers today. Drove into town. It was unusually crowded and the shoppers annoyed the hell out of me. I didn't buy half of what I needed. It was hotter than Hades but a beautiful day.
I wanted to stop and see my cousin on the way home, but I had frozen food and the interior of my car was 850 degrees.

Massive thunderstorms last night. More are predicted for tomorrow. And the weekend.

Is there any significance for the dog photo on your header, Jon?

Nope. None at all.
Dog days of summer...... 

 

38 comments:

  1. the dog has lovely blue eyes.

    "That was supposed to be funny, but I can see that I'm the only one laughing." - NOT TRUE! LOL I tried to read this in a sarcastic voice.

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    1. Hey, I tried to WRITE it in a sarcastic voice.

      I love readers who have a sense of humor! Thanks!

      Delete
  2. I don't know why you wouldn't have replied that. Julia Sugarbaker sure would have!

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    1. Julia Sugarbaker would have delivered that diatribe with more flair than I ever could.
      Perhaps I should use a southern accent??

      Delete
  3. I was laughing too, not to downgrade the problems but you write about them in an entertaining way, and that has to be a good way to handle them.

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    1. Humor is one of the few things I have left - and it's often more effective than booze. I'm always delighted when I induce laughter.

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  4. Hummmmm.....850 degrees? WOW, how did you survive?

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    1. Well, it was probably only 450 degrees. All I know is that my frozen pizza was fully baked by the time I got home.

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  5. I double dog dare you to actually say that to the Walmart cashier, and her answer would be: "You call THAT bad? I WORK AT WALMART!!!!"

    tsk tsk Jon. Shame, shame. with love.

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    1. I doubt if I could ever work at Walmart sober. Having to deal with all the freaks who inhabit Walmart would turn Carrie Nation into an alcoholic.

      tsk tsk I love ya right back.

      Delete
    2. See, it's like this: it can always be worse. But with our luck, all we have to do is wait it out, and it will eventually BE worse. Glad you love me right back, sweetie. We both need a person in our lives who "gets it".

      Delete
  6. Jon
    I wish your days were better. We are vague connections via the internet, but I do hope the best for you, and you can, somehow, live with the limited amount of fun each day presents us.

    The best to you. Cheers, pal.
    Mike

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    1. Things are never quite as bad as I project them to be - but there is always a good deal of truth in my exaggerated rants. All we can do is try to make the best out of our miseries....

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  7. Jon, I'm just returned from my yearly and my BP was 97/64, which is lower than it was in high school and I got scared! Panic attacks? Yes, I get them --usually in the evening-- and drink wine. Alcohol is a wonder-drug. Migraines, I get when the weather changes abruptly --low pressure to high pressure and vice versa. Look for Joan Didion's essay, "In Bed". Beyond that I can only suggest something it took me 66 years to learn and I'm still not good at it: Do yourself some kindness, even a small kindness, every day.

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    1. Wow - that's great news about your BP. I once had a doctor tell me that my BP was so high he was alarmed and wanted to do extensive tests. I never went back.

      Ironically, almost all of my panic attacks occur in the evening, too. Stress is the main thing that induces my migraines. But I have also gotten them after taking hot baths - - or eating chocolate.

      I never heard of Joan Didion, but I Googled and saw that she's a California writer. I'll definitely look into her works.

      Kindness is extremely important - to others, but especially to ourselves.

      Delete
  8. You need a houseboy and drugs. You could probably find a houseboy at WalMart (Isle 4, Sporting Goods).

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    1. Heck, I've had a few houseboys - which eventually drove me to drugs (*smile*).

      I have admittedly seen several real "cuties" here in the Tennessee Walmart.

      Delete
  9. Ah Jon, you could make a root canal funny! You did touch on a huge pet-peeve ... the unenthusiastic, script-centered "customer service" associate.
    ...and when they ask, "Did you find everything you were looking for?" my DH delights in a resounding, "No!" Seriously, they don't know how to respond. It's not in the script.
    I'm not just pointing fingers at cashiers ... our front desk associates have a script as well: Among them, "Must use guest's name 3 times (convey empathy), point out 2 recreational amenities (convey empathy), etc., ad nauseum."

    Whatever happened to spur-of-the-moment customer connections? Yeah, yeah ... that went out with the Taft administration. (To borrow a phrase ...)

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  10. YES!!!! That's another scripted quote that drives me crazy: "Have you found everything you were looking for?"
    I'm always tempted to say - "No, I couldn't find any extra-large condoms."
    or
    "Where are the Tampons?"

    Sorry for being crude. I learned crudeness from my father - who wasn't afraid to say ANYTHING to ANYBODY. He was crazy but I admired him for his bluntness.

    I smiled when you mentioned the Taft administration. You're so alert that it sometimes scares me....(*smile*)

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    1. Did I hear extra large condoms?!?!?! And you said good kisser and good in bed. *runs to check date book for Friday*

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    2. I knew that would grab your attention.

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    3. Sorry, Jon, wandering around pre-prandial this evening. Were I the clerk in the store where the question was asked in the first sentence, I might have replied "Why would you ask, sir?"
      Just in fun....

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  11. FINE:
    Fucked up
    Insecure
    Neurotic
    Emotional

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    1. I can vaguely identify with that.

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  12. The niceties can be annoying when you're suffering. I have been known to SHOCK them with, " I'm not fine. Then give 'em the reader's digest version of why, like it or not." After which I say "Have a nice day" to them as I turn tail and leave. Their mouth is always hanging on the floor or they say, "God Bless." NOW... more pressing is your apt point about LITTER. It is HEAVIER than HELL. And back breaking whether you buy clay or that clumping stuff that I deem totally worthless. As for finding what you are looking for... did your pickup line work? Got plans Friday night? I know I know a gentleman never tells.

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    1. When they ask "How are you?" I usually reply "Surviving", which is closest to the truth.

      My ten year old cat Scratch is always very neat and tidy with her litter box. Bosco and Scruffy are completely insane and unbelievably messy. I'm tempted to get one of those enclosed litter boxes, but I think Bosco would tear it apart.
      I always buy the cheapest litter. It's no different than the expensive ones.

      Friday night...I'll spend it alone.

      Delete
  13. Self check out Jon.....self check out ....it's the only way to go...!!

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  14. Jon,
    Of course you know that when most people ask "How are you?" they really don't want to know. The few times I've told people how I really am, their reaction was often one of askance. I've learned to say "Just fine" and let it go at that.
    Ron

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    1. Perhaps the cashiers should say what they REALLY think.
      "You look like death warmed over. Have you tried any of our vitamins? They're on sale, aisle 10."

      Delete
  15. You have to keep laughing. (Better than crying.) I swear that a good sense of humor (sarcasm will suffice) will get you through life. Even when we live longer than expected--LOL! ;)

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    1. Humor is just about the only thing we can rely on to get us through this chaotic catastrophe called life. Sarcasm makes it even better!

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  16. "How are you?"

    "Better than I look."

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    1. "How are you?"

      "Come on over to my place. We'll have a few bottles of moonshine..and find out..."

      Delete
  17. The one thing I like about living in Europe is that, when people ask how you are, they genuinely WANT to know the answer.

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    1. It's refreshing to know that there are people who genuinely care. Of course, they don't work at Walmart (*smile*)

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  18. Since most cashiers are schooled in what to say to customers, in a canned caricature of the store's warped idea of "customer service," I don't mind when they ask me how I am. But if I haven't said something to make them smile or laugh out loud before I leave that store, I count it as a failed mission.

    Your sarcastic sense of humor always hits the mark. Maybe you could use it on the cashiers. :)

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