Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Trip to the Supermarket or How I Almost Met Ringo Starr


I bounded into the local supermarket with unbridled joy. Work was done for the day and it was time for pie. Apple to be exact. I was on the hunt for a Tastykake apple pie. I sniffed the air. To the back of the store! That’s where I would find my quarry.

I walked briskly down to aisle 9 making a sharp right turn. My prize would be at the end of the row. Excitement rose in my blood as I thought of my first bite of apple pie goodness. I reached the display but before I could look for my confectionary Taj Mahal I saw something unusual out of the corner of my eye. Entering the paper goods aisle, it was Ringo Starr!

One of the Fab Four; a real, true mop top was in my lowly local grocery store. I ran pell-mell to aisle 7 and almost barreled right into the world’s luckiest drummer. Being an idiot I spewed words out at the man without thinking. “What was John really like? What the hell does Yellow Submarine actually mean? What do you consider your greatest triumph; playing Shea stadium or marrying Barbara Bach?” I had grabbed a stock boy and torn his apron off for Mr. Starr to autograph when a harsh realization hit me like a punch to the stomach right after eating 3 helpings of four-cheese lasagna.

The man in front of me was not Ringo Starr: Just an ordinary man with an in-cred-ib-ly BAD haircut. Wow. I made my exit with as much dignity as I could, running down the aisle mumbling “How do you walk around like that in 2012 and NOT be Ringo Starr? Who wears their hair like that?”

With that distraction out of the way I went to snag my pie. The disappointment of not meeting a former Beatle still hung on me like summer-time humidity when I saw . . . there were no apple pies. Before me stood a tower of cherry, a tower of lemon, a tower of peach and a messy pile of ├ęclair, but not one apple. Was I to be spared no indignity in this market?

Glumly I shuffled around the store, completely lost in my despair. I questioned why God even invented apple pie if I was to be denied in my time of desperation. My internal whining was close to critical mass when inspiration took me out at the knees with a cross body check. Little Debbie makes apple pies! They’re a little sugary for my taste, the glaze on the crust making my heart beat like a humming bird, but they’re good in a pinch.

I raised my head again, proud and cock-sure, marching to the Little Debbie display with spring-loaded steps. I reached for my pie . . . and there were no apple, only 2 cherry and about 20 blackberry.

Dear Little Debbie Corporate Offices,

No one likes your blackberry pies.

Sincerely,

An irritated customer who wanted an apple pie

Before a major depressive episode set in, my broken and malfunctioning brain reminded me that the store sold its own brand of individual pies up front. The taste was less than a Tastykake pie but greater than a raw apple wrapped in a piece of shoe leather.

Having been bitten twice by the mosquito of disappointment I walked timidly to the front of the store to find the display of 10 for $10 pies. The large box that held the individual smaller boxes sat almost empty save for 4 cherry pies. No apple. In the entire store there was not 1 apple pie.

Defeated, I went back to the Tastykake display and selected a different pie: A baked 2nd place medal that I would choke down with reserved joy. The store dealt me a final blow when I ran into Not Ringo Starr one more time. He handed the stock boy’s apron which he had signed. I looked at it. It read Dilbert MacGuffin or Dan Milton or maybe Cyrano de Bergerac, who knows? I thanked him out of learned civility, paid for my not apple pie and left the store.

I walked to my car humming “With a Little Help from My Friends” and dreaming of a world that never runs out of apple pie.

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