'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
GROCERY SHOPPING NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
For many years my wife did all the grocery shopping in our family. (My main job was to do most of the eating. The division of labor is a wonderful concept.) It had been so long since I was actually inside a supermarket, I had forgotten what they are like.
Once or twice each week my wife would pull into our garage, the trunk of her car stuffed with bags filled with food items. Have you ever seen those construction sites where a dump truck will drive to a certain spot, and then in a matter of seconds it will be filled up by a big scoopy machine (technical name: the Big Scoopy Machine—or possibly the Cuisinart), and then the full dump truck will drive away while another empty one pulls into its place? No, I haven’t seen those construction sites either.
But that’s kind of what I envisioned happened when my wife went grocery shopping. She’d drive to a certain spot, pop the latch on the car’s trunk, and then in a matter of seconds the trunk would be filled up with bags of food by a machine, or possibly by a supermarket employee named Big Scoopy.
When my wife would return home from the supermarket I never noticed how physically and emotionally exhausted she was. (I also never noticed that she had been gone for almost three hours rather than a few minutes.) I suppose I should have been able to tell she was tired by the fact that as soon as her car came to a stop in the garage, she often slumped forward in the driver’s seat, her forehead pressed against the steering wheel, which caused the car horn to blare a long, loud, endless tone. I always thought she hit the car horn as a triumphant signal to the rest of the family that said: “Hurrah! The food is here! Come on down and grab your favorite item and go off and eat it, and just leave all the bags for me to drag up the stairs! Hurrah!!”
Well, as you might have guessed, this was not a very good system. Things had to change. So I am now in the market for a new wife who doesn’t get tired so easily.
Ha ha! I’m only kidding! That’s just a joke, honey. I am not in the market for anything, especially not in the market to be pummeled to death with a package of frozen chicken. Obviously I was just making a little joke. Honey? What’s the matter? Why are you pressing your forehead against the steering wheel?
Anyway, the thing that changed in our home (besides me sleeping on the couch for a while) was that I volunteered to help out with the grocery shopping. And let me just say it has been a very interesting experience. (I am using, of course, the definition of the word “interesting” that means: the quality of making one want to pull a car into the garage and slump forward with one’s forehead pressed against the steering wheel, all-the-while being sure the garage door is closed and the car motor continues to run.)
No, it hasn’t been quite that bad, but initially it was rather intimidating. When I walked for the first time through the automatic sliding doors of our local Tons O’ Grub supermarket, I was pretty nervous.
Next week I’ll share some important lessons I’ve learned, including: if you’d rather not be pummeled to death with a package of frozen chicken, never say to a woman waiting at the deli counter, “Whataya mean, ‘Take a number’? I need some cheese, lady!”
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