The Watermelon

Well, watermelons were two bucks at "MegaMarket" so we hopped in and tooled over.

I told my wife & kids that, "I'd just run in, buy the melon and be out PDQ".
As I came upon the watermelon display, which consisted of large decapitated cardboard crates bulging with watermelons of all shapes sizes and descriptions I realized I was in over my head.

I muttered something to the effect, "how do you know if it is a good one or not?". A black fellow to my left chimed in, "Ain't you never crawled in the melon patch to get you a water melon?" I replied that, "my experience with watermelons is quite limited actually", and nervously began to imitate a fellow shopper by thumping several melons in my vicinity which is something akin to kicking the tires on a used car.

The part of my hearing spectrum that was not blown out by teenage rock and roll concerts appears to be quite useful for "sounding" melons. One not very handsome melon had a particularly musical thump and I figured it was either very good or very bad and that this would be a good data point to add to my very limited set. The fellow said, "you must be a city boy" which could have been a bad omen. Perhaps he had heard the thump, perhaps his ear was telling him I was about to procure bad melon. Unsure I headed to the registers with a remark that I was, "hopelessly city-fied", like a "hot-house tomato". A number of people around the watermelon crates were smiling, like they knew something.

As I choose which line to land in I noticed that unused cash registers still had there "come over here" lights on, which seemed a little sloppy to me. Sometimes my eye for obscure details can be unhealthy.

I chose the "12 items or less line", which may as well have been the "5 grocery carts or less line". A new fellow came up between our line and a regular grocery line and said out loud, "I wonder which line is faster". I started to make some quip about Murphy's Law of Lines but muzzled myself. Then a woman came up behind me with a container of sour cream. Obviously in the middle of dinner preparation she complained about the length of our line. She said, "There ought to be a line for ONE item or less" which brought a laugh from everyone except for the lady ahead of us who had at least thirteen. I replied, "You ought to be able to drive through and pick up you item, NO you ought to be able to fax in your order and just yell Smith in the drive-up window, NO you ought to be able to stand at your home phone dripping wet with a bar-code scanner and say, "Bring me one of these NOW". The Murphy's Law guy says, "They don't even have that in Star Trek!" I said dryly, yeah, I know, I'm from California. Everybody turned and looked at me, hugging my melon like I'd just gotten off the UFO. The whipped cream lady said, "What are you doing in Arkansas?" I said, "I often ask myself that". Then I quickly added, "But Arkansas has its redeeming features". The Murphy's Law guy said, "Like what?". I said, "Like watermelon" and it was my turn to pay.

- Van