Monday, November 11, 2013

If It Weren't For Bad Judgment, We'd Have No Judgement At All

When we last convened, I was telling tales inside the educational facility. How Hick and my mom had been all set to chow down on some chicken and dumplings from the basketball team fundraiser, but were force-fed chili instead. 

We went our separate ways. Hick drove T-Hoe back to the Walmart lot to pick up his car to go auctioning. The Pony and I did a rare Saturday-night shop. He almost forgot the two-dollar bribe that I give him for the game room. I guess there were more checkers on duty on a Saturday night, because the lines moved quickly. My gal was ignorant in the ways of bagging like-shaped and like-temperatured items together, but she was fast. I was done before The Pony had finished his first race. I parked my cart beside his machine to watch.

"I still have a dollar left!" He put it in. Chose his track. Some kind of southern California road, with palm trees and ocean views. It did not help that he reared his red car back in a wheelie at the start, burning rubber and showing off, immediately placing himself in 6th. To paraphrase Rooster Cogburn speaking of his stepson, Horace, who must have broke forty cup...I'll just say that a recklesser driver I've never seen than The Pony. That boy must have destroyed forty light poles. Who knew that a car could drive right through buildings? Though we all know that flowers raining down like...well...rain after a trip through the middle of a roundabout does not portend well for a first-place finish. The Pony was lucky to escape with 3rd, and without a summons. "All done."

"Here's the keys!" I handed them over under the grimace of a woman who had been sitting in one of those vibrating recliners, watching the race play out. The absurdity of the situation hit me. "Is this irony?"

The Pony looked sheepish. "Maybe." It's not as if I was giving him the keys to drive T-Hoe. He gets there quicker to click the clicker and start readying T-Hoe's rear to receive our load.

That's our routine. He hands me back the keys so they don't get lost, piles in the groceries, covers the cold stuff with my winter coat, and takes back the cart. I get in and write down the debit amount in my checkbook, then give The Pony and myself a squirt of green apple Germ-X that I carry in my purse. Can't be too careful when touching objects the masses have pawed all day.

I opened up my driver's door. There, on the black leather seat, was a mark. I don't know what it was. Maybe Hick had some type of chili remnant on his pants, a smashed bean, perhaps, wiped from his man-hands. Maybe he had scooted across the seat like a dog dragging its butt, and a rivet on his jeans left a scratch. I licked my finger and rubbed. I'd like to be able to tell you that the blemish wiped away. But I can't. Because I don't remember.


It was all I could do not to go Charlie-Brown Lucy, and scream for disinfectant. After all, my lips have touched dog-nose. My tongue, too. So I dialed the horror down a notch. But that didn't keep me from screaming at The Pony, "I can't believe I just licked my finger that has been on a Walmart cart! I'm going to wake up with hepatitis!" He chuckled. So supportive. We know he doesn't really have any desire to help people, after that ACT interest inventory. Still. I was shocked at his lack of concern.

When we got home, The Pony trotted into the living room to put his phone on the windowsill for an unlimited internet boost. He cradled a package of Jet-Puffed mini-marshmallows like a baby. "I think I'll have a snack on my marshmallows. Mmm. Smell them. They smell like marshmallows." I humored him.

"Yes. What were they supposed to smell like?"

"I just meant that I haven't opened them yet. And even through the package, they smell like marshmallows." He leaned his head over and LICKED THE PLASTIC!

"What are you doing? You know that's been laying around in Walmart, with people pawing at it all day, right? And now, you're LICKING it? I'm going to wake up with hepatitis, and you're going to wake up with hoof-and-mouth disease!"

Sometimes, we do not use good sense. Next thing you know, we'll be tasting Auction Meat.


  1. If you die from the germs you exposed yourself to, I will continue to trumpet about your talents.

    And I will have a book signing--with YOUR books--and will do my best to keep your spirit alive. I'll make big bowls of Chex Mix, I'll find a motherly-type to wear a pair of sweat pants with a hole in them, and I'll toss out obscure Seinfeld tidbits. I'll be the lesser-Val, for sure, a second-class substitute like the chocolate babka, but I will do my best...

    It was nice knowin' ya...

  2. Yes, you'll all be prepared for that delicious auction meat! Yum!

  3. Oh I know what you mean. I work with preschoolers and you KNOW what they do with their sleeves. I refuse to touch them, and if I do so accidentally, my skin crawls and I rush for the Germ X. I admit it, if one those little buggers sneezes in my face, I roro rooter my nostrils and smear my lipstick with a palm full of "magic soap."

  4. I'm thinking the Val immune system would just laugh at Walmart germs. After all you spend hours and hours in a public school.

    I'm just glad you licked then wiped, and not in the reverse order of that brown smear on the seat.

  5. Sioux,
    Ack...ack...I grow weak. Yet I am comforted by the thought of you as Sal, my counterpart in the Bizarro World, who drinks 33 oz. Diet Pepsi, chows down on gas station fish, and has a very special cat named Bruno. Sell those books, Madam! I can't take them with me.

    I look at this experience as training for that Auction Meat eating. Much like Kobayashi trained for Nathan's wienerfest.

    I have been known to hold my breath in the hall, and duck into my classroom to inhale after a sprayer passes by.

    Yes, I do have a steel constitution. Knock, knock, knock on wood. My seat (or should I say T-Hoe's) has now been wiped clean by many butts, so it is safe for licking.