My septuagenarian friend and I were sitting under a massive live oak during the hottest Floridian August on record. We were into our second six pack from the olde Coca Cola ice chest when he finishes his fourth or fifth beer, leans forward on his over tanned knees and whispers, “Do you believe in God?”
I sat back in my camp chair and took a nice slow draw on my long neck Bud while I decided whether to answer his rather rude question or tell him to “fuck off!” I don’t know whether it was the heat or the beer, but I decided to answer him and tell him the truth.
It was quite a few years ago; about the time I went from knowing everything to realizing I knew nothing. I decided that it was time God and I had a sit down, a meeting of the minds, a discussion.
My friend looked at me hard, grabbed another Corona from the cooler and sat back in his lawn chair. I grabbed myself another beer and continued:
“God,” I said, “I am well aware of all you have to deal with. You’re dealing with wars, famine, genocide and all. In addition, I cannot even imagine what is like having all those people whining, and begging and praying to you for favors. I’d have blown somebody’s head off by now.
I don’t know if you exist or not. I don’t think what I believes matters. It seems to me that what matters is whether you believe in me. Here’s what i suggest. I’m not going to bother you with prayers or adoration. Your psyche is certainly not so fragile that you need my or anyone’s adoration or sniveling prayers. You, for your part do your thing; and I won’t complain and will try to do what is right.
Do I believe in God? I never decided. He did what he thought was best; I did my best. He never asked if I believed in Him, and I never asked if He believed in me.”
My septuagenarian friend looked at the untouched sweating beer in his hand, looked me hard in the eye, chugged his beer and said, “Bullshit!”
I chugged my beer, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Well, maybe it was more of a soliloquy.”
As promised in “The Chair” I would address shopping with the love of your life. First, you need to understand that the verb “to shop ” has two definitions, a male definition and a female definition.
For the male, “to shop” is to go to a store to obtain a specific item, and once he has that item to return home.
For the female, “to shop” is an end in itself. If you ask what the object is for which she is shopping she will give you an answer. But, be aware that the answer has absolutely no relationship to her shopping. It is best that you not attend these shopping expeditions with her. Sadly, this is not a choice you will be offered explicitly or implicitly. To survive you must not question any of her actions or answer any of her questions for to do so would prove to her that you were an insensitive ignoramus.
Please accompany me on what would be a typical shopping expedition. Being a good male companion you have determined she is a size 8 and presume since she is in the skirt department she is shopping for a skirt. The racks are arranged by size and by items on sale. Where does she go but to the rack that has sizes 2 to 6. ( I once asked why she was looking for a size 8 on a rack that started with size 12. To which she responded “ they might have a style I like.”)
Next we went to the “sale” racks. We went right past the size 8’s through the rest of the rack including items tailored by Columbus Tent and Awning. Finally after looking through all the skirt racks, the dress racks and the slack racks she found a skirt she liked. My heart leapt with joy as I prepared to leave.
Alas, there was more shopping to do. It was explained to me that she now needed:
Adding insult to injury, as an act of chivalry, I was expected to carry all the packages back to the car. Exhausted I schlumped along completely confused and in a shopping daze.
I’m exhausted just relating this to you. I caution that this is the way it goes whether it is shopping for a skirt or a car. The only salvation for this situation is to follow the guidance put forth in “The Chair”. Good luck, until next blog when I address questions posed by your loved one for you to answer.
If you have the good fortune to have a girlfriend or wife or significant other, or think you may ever someday be lucky enough to be in that situation, you need to know about the “chair”.
Being with a lady, the time will eventually come where she will invite you to go shopping with her. You will ask her what she is shopping for. She will give you a look like you have two heads and will mumble something about a skirt or blouse or something. Listen up; women don’t shop for something. For them shopping is the end in itself. If you had known that, you would have used whatever excuse you could to avoid “going shopping”.
Well, you didn’t know, and you said “yes”, and now you are in a department store, You are in the ladies department. The nice young clerk has escorted you to “the comfortable chair”. You sit down. You will be there for hours.
You must never, never, never ever sit in the chair. Once you are in the “chair” you are at the mercy of the clerk and your shopper. Side note, if she gets a skirt, she will need a blouse, and a belt, and shoes, and purse, and jewelry, etc. You’ll wish you had packed a lunch and brought an iPad so you could watch a movie. But you didn’t, and so you will sit, and sit, and sit. What to say when she asks what you think of an article of clothing will be another blog. For now, pretend you are choking and wave her back to the changing room.
Avoiding the Chair
First of all, you really don’t have a choice about going shopping with your significant other unless you want to end your relationship. So, what to do?
The first thing you must is avoid the chair. Why she wants to know. You want to help you say. Ask you your lady what she is shopping for specifically. This will be very important later.
Next you want to know what size she needs. (Don’t ever act surprised about the size or ask her to repeat it unless you want the silent treatment or you’re willing to try and answer the question: “Just what did you mean by that”?)
So, you now know what item she is looking for and the size. When she has found an item that she likes, you suggest she try it on in the changing room. She will look lovingly at you for being such a helpmate. As soon as she disappears into the changing room, you head for the clothes racks which contain the item she was looking for. Once there, you pick three items from the rack in her size and proceed to the changing room. As soon as she comes out of the changing room tell her how nice the garment looks on her and, announce that you have found similar items which she may be interested and and give her your three items to try on. What can she say after all you’re trying to help. Continue this process until she gets tired.
Then, being a supportive help mate, you suggest you head for the nearest sports bar and gets some lunch and recuperate.
You have been a good helpmate, avoided the chair, enjoyed lunch and a drink at a sports bar and can get home in time to catch football, basketball or baseball orwhatever.
A native of northern Ohio now living in Florida, I am enjoying freshly grown tomatoes now. I have already eaten this guy’s ripe brother. This tomato, a Brandywine, is a heritage variety which means it has NOT been hybridized to be picked early, stand up to machine picking, and long storage times. I grow it because I can remember what a tomato tastes like. I also know that it’s flavor contributes more than a red color to a salad, a burger or a BLT.
Every time I bite into the Brandywine tomato I am transferred back to the time in which I learned to appreciate the taste of a freshly picked, ripe tomato.
I had lived in northern Ohio where tomatoes were grown for processing and canning. Baskets of these bright red tomatoes were loaded and stacked five baskets high on trailers hauled by tractors from the fields where they had been picked by hand and driven through town to the canning factory.
When the first tractor, pulling the first trailer, loaded with those ripe tomatoes entered town, word spread like wildfire through the town’s kids. Any child tall enough to reach a tomato basket on the trailer headed for Patterson Street where the tractor driver would have to slow to a craw so as to and not lose his load of tomatoes while making the turn headed to Stevenson Street.
Here the game, a tradition for decades, began.
The object was simple: the children were to grab a tomato to eat; the tractor driver was to make them pay a price two fold. Unbeknownst to the rookie children in this game, the tractor driver had a basket of rotting tomatoes hidden between his legs on the tractor. As the children attacked, he threw these tomatoes at them with incredible accuracy. If you were hit, the rotting tomato would smush all over you and your clothes. If he missed, you’d grab your tomato, retreat to the shade of a tree and devour its deliciousness. The proper technique was to gently pierce the skin with your teeth and suck the juice out of it. In that way you could enjoy the fruits of your victory without leaving telltale tomato juice on your clothes.
Remember that I said the tractor driver would make them pay two fold? Yes, if you got hit it would be embarrassing, but it also would be very messy. You would be literally be covered in smushed tomato and tomato juice. And your parents would notice and demand an explanation of how this happened. I have never heard of a satisfactory explanation that would be accepted. I have heard “the tomato fell on me from the trailer, I fell on the tomatoe, I was carrying groceries for a little old lady and the tomatoes mushed”. And yet, I cannot remember a single incidence of a child being punished for this pilfering tomatoes. I have heard of them being punished for lying about how they got covered in tomato juice, but not for participating in what had become a tradition.
In today’s world, there would be police, investigations into whether the child stole the tomato, investigations into whether the tractor driver had committed a crime by throwing a rotting tomato at a child, investigations into whether the canning company and/or the farmer was liable for the stained clothes. There would be crime scene tape around the tractor and the tomato laden trailer. There would be media coverage including interviews with anyone who needed their time in the spotlight. There would be police chiefs, mayors, governors, state and federal legislators from both parties, religious leaders, non religious leaders, shopkeepers, psychologists and neighbors. While all this is going on, the tomatoes would rot in the sun. And, no one would have the taste of a real tomato to remember.
So, here I sit under the shade of a palm tree with my bright red heritage tomato in my hand, the juice sucked out, preparing to take a delicious bite having my heritage thoughts.
It seems to me that if we trust in God, we wouldn’t need or want the police to intervene in our lives.
Which brings up another question. Does God have a bumper sticker that says, “IN PEOPLE I TRUST.”?
And, if God did have that bumper sticker, would you trust Him?
There will come a time in your life when your significant other will ask you to go shopping with her. Do not bring up the game you wanted to watch or mowing the lawn. You are not being offered a choice.
You will eventually end up in the woman’s section of a department store. Once there a clerk will kindly offer a chair to enjoy while your partner shops. Quietly, but firmly decline because if you sit, you will be in the department for hours on end while the clerk helps the shopper.
Instead, ask your significant other what she is looking for, size, color, etc. she will look at you with new respect and love for being so interested and helpful. Once she has selected something she will want to take it to the changing room to try it on.
Once she is in the fitting room, go to the clothing racks and select three other items in her size. When she comes out to show you how the article looks on her, she will ask your opinion. say something safe like “it’s a nice color for you.” or “it looks good on you.” Then say “I thought you might like to try on these three.”
Repeat until she is so tired from trying on clothes that she offers to take you for a drink. There is also a chance that it will be the last time you are invited to go shopping.
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