Poke My Eyes Out, Please!

26 01 2015

I was speaking at a global safety conference for a large employer in a small Nebraska town, when my laser pointer died right in the middle of my presentation. I had two more presentations the following day, so I really needed to replace my laser pointer. My plan was to get out that evening after dinner to find a new one. Everyone I asked told me the same thing… “Go to Radio Shack.” It was as if Radio Shack was the epicenter of society in Bugtussel, Nebraska- a place where the locals gather. I expected to walk into Radio Shack and find a cracker barrel, dry goods and a jar of dill pickles on the counter right between the batteries and laser pointers. Regardless, that evening after dinner, I went to Radio Shack. Now, I’m an early eater. I’m not shy about taking advantage of the early-bird special, or ordering from the seniors’  menu, so I was fed and pulling into the Radio Shack parking lot by 6:00 p.m. Closed! What?! What business closes by 6 o’clock on a Monday night? Well, I guess I should feel grateful because half the restaurants in town don’t even open up on Mondays. At least, I had been able to get a decent meal.


Okay, so what is plan B? Where might I find a new laser pointer? Then it hit me…Wal-Mart. Every town, large and small, has a Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart has everything there is to be had. Of course, everything in the store is made in China. But, if you want a left-handed, metric lug wrench, Wal-Mart is the place to go. You want diapers made from water repellant micro-fiber? Wal-Mart. Who wants water repellant diapers? Apparently, Chinese parents do. Or, how about a set of Bruce Lee salt and pepper shakers? I’d like to see you find those at Macy’s or Williams-Sonoma. But, the ultimate find is the Flip’n-Fry…a frying pan that automatically flips your egg out onto your plate when the egg is done. That’s one of the many inventions of Yong Cha Ching. Yong made his millions as a prolific inventor and huckster on Chinese television. Among his more successful inventions are the Nerf nun-chucks and the Jackie Chan Chia-Pet. He is considered by many to be the Ron Popeil of China.


That Just Ain’t Right!

Anyway, I digress. The real reason for this story was to tell you about what I saw, aside from the many shelves laden with yard sale fodder. As I was browsing in the electronics section, looking for a laser pointer, I glanced to my right and saw some guy with long hair that looked like he had washed it in Pennzoil 10W-30. He wore a cooking pot on his head like a helmet. He was about six feet tall and must have weighed 350 pounds. His hairy skin was bulging from every opening in his pink leotard which he wore with pink tights. Yes, a pink leotard and tights! Now, I honestly don’t care what people look like or how they dress. I couldn’t care less if you wore bib-overalls and brogans to a state dinner at the White House, or a Crock Pot helmet to Wal-Mart; but, a 350 pound man in a leotard and tights is offensive. He looked like a sock full of chicken wings. It’ll take years for me to erase that mental image. I’ll “see” him in my mind on stage at my granddaughters’ next dance recital.


Life is short and I believe we should enjoy it to the fullest. I also believe we should make allowances for those who make bad choices in their attire or grooming habits. But bad choices aside, there is a lot to be said for decorum and common decency. That doesn’t necessarily mean Allen Harper creased jeans and a Polo shirt. But 350 pounds in a leotard is like stuffing two gallons of biscuit dough into a one-gallon plastic bag. It violates the laws of nature and just ain’t right. Or, I guess, I could just stay away from Wal-Mart.




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