Ain't I Social?

 11/19/1996:

You wouldn’t believe the truth. That’s why we’ve got to bedizen it with special effects, million dollar marketing campaigns, and celebrity endorsements.

Volcanoes are little more than the acne of the earth. When one erupts, it’s just God giving a good squeeze. Earthquakes happen when the world has a heart attack. That is unless they’re the result of sphere-fisted blackbelts whacking their hands against the sidewalk. Typhoons are earthly sneezes. An avalanche is a runny nose. A blizzard is a dandruff problem. A parking lot is a bald spot. A lake is water retention. It is. People are the lice of the planet, but lice with character.

(And, no, I don’t mind offending lice with that last remark. Methinks lice would appreciate the comparison. If you can provide evidence that one single louse feels differently, I will consider modifying my position.)

My room is so messy, it’s like a Toys “R” Us exploded.*

I toot the horn because it’s there. There needs be no motivation other than that. I own the horn, it’s mine to toot, so I toot with abandon. Folks take note and make way. Sans horn, they’d wouldn’t see me. That’s how unremarkable I am. I am so inconspicuous that I need a horn. But this can be an advantage—especially when you’re a spy. James Bond and Maxwell Smart and those of their ilk exist to draw attention away from the agents who do the real work of espionage. Women notice me when I toot. Typically, their expressions are sour, but a look at all is a step in the right direction. By tooting, I know that I am ticking people off. It’s nice to know that I can highjack or derail your emotions, albeit briefly, with the mere toot of a horn.

Please consider tooting your horn at your fellow grocery shoppers. Even better: Leave the horn at home and yell “TOOT!” or “HONK!” at them instead. Repeat, if they gape at you. Otherwise, they’ll clear the aisle faster than a kitchen full of skittish cockroaches. They’ll remember you, too (whether roaches or shoppers). And they’ll tell their friends:

“Today, in the cereal aisle, a strange man tooted at me. Not a whistle, nor a fart, but a literal toot.” And their friend might say, “Last week, in the laundromat, I was honked at. I stepped aside and, as the woman sped by, she screeched and made a vrooming sound.”

You’ll become the talk of the town, a local celebrity. That is, assuming it’s a small town and/or a sparsely populated locality. (Sync possibility with probability and you’ll always be happy.) Keep it up and they’ll start tooting back. You’ll be a trendsetter. And how good would that feel? Imagine: friends, relatives, neighbors, and strangers honking and tooting at banks, grocery stores, restaurants, and PTA meetings. (Have I yet mentioned that I started an on campus yo-yo trend? It was short-lived, but it happened.)

In the final analysis, it’s easier, more fun, and I daresay more cathartic to shout “TOOT!” or “HONK!” than it is to clear your throat and politely utter the words, “Excuse me.” Stick to manners if you want to remain or become invisible. Manners smooth the path to obscurity.

You can learn a lot about your fellow shoppers by the way they park and maneuver their grocery carts. Before I discovered the joys of tooting and honking, and somebody left their cart in the middle of an aisle, I wouldn’t clear my throat and appeal to their civility. I wouldn’t gently nudge their cart out of the way, either. No, I’d plow straight through. My aim: to teach a lesson. One they wouldn’t forget. They’ll learn nothing if you’re polite about it. But if you plow through with enough force to knock over their cart—brimming, hopefully, with cartons of eggs, jars of marmalade, glass bottles of fizzy sugar water, and maybe even a NASCAR birthday cake for somebody named Bartholomew—oh, they’ll remember. You can bet they’ll start cussing you out, too. That’s fine. That is A-Okay. You just honk loud and clear and watch them shut the hell up.

Speaking of antisocial behavior at the supermarket, my local Piggly-Wiggly is frequented by freaks (other than me). It’s a freak magnet. With the nuthouses and the big houses filled to capacity, the government is letting the nonviolent overflow roam the aisles of the local Piggly-Wiggly...but mostly on the days when I run out of milk or eggs or English muffins or marmalade or NASCAR cakes for folks with nifty names. It’s a government experiment (on me) and I think I’ll write a book. Working title: The Government Controls Your Life By Throwing Freaks At You At Your Local Piggly-Wiggly. Hey, you call a store “Piggly-Wiggly” and what kind of folk do you expect to attract? Ah, but they’re not really freaks. (That’s the twist of the book!) No, they’re actors posing as furloughed CIA agents (or vice versa). Why would furloughed CIA agents pose as actors (or vice versa)? Well…you’ll just have to read the book!

So, do you see now? Do you finally understand? There is no free will. There are only frequent flyer miles and free gas when you use your Clark Oil credit card. Oh, and there’s a free gift, too—but only if you order now.

*[4/18/21: Please accept my sincerest apologies. There should be more to this bit. No doubt I’ll muster the inspiration to flesh it out by the time I play Vegas. And when I do, please mention this postlude to the box office manager at the Mirage to receive a special discount on the show. Void where prohibited.]

[4/18/21: In sooth, I’ve only set foot inside a Piggly-Wiggly once. It was an uneventful experience. Nor was it locally situated. But in order to live up to the name, I hereby urge its corporate Board of Directors to set a pen of palsied piglets loose inside said stores daily. I ask you: What’s a Piggly-Wiggly without wiggly pigs?]

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