Welcome to our world, Perry!
Not so long ago, the local Super Fresh Market began providing discounts on Tuesdays to a particular class of shoppers. You know who.
It is that class of shoppers commonly referred to by a particular word that I virulently despise and in fact eschew. But considering the discount, if the eschew fits, I decided to wear it. So I screwed up my courage, swallowed my pride, decided not to come up with a third sexually based metaphor, and went food shopping.
That is, food shopping on Tuesday at Super Fresh, to avail myself of The Discount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.
When I arrived, Super Fresh was already awash in polyester, plaid, and a profusion of gray and blue hair such as if a massive ballpoint pen had exploded in the skies over London. Everywhere I looked were members of the Greatest and slightly post Greatest Generation.
So naturally I began humming Sugar Magnolia by the Grateful Dead. You see, there’s nothing like humming 40 year old rock music to prove conclusively to one and all in a Super Fresh that:
“I AM YOUNG, GODAMMIT, I AM NOT LIKE YOU!”
I steered my carriage carefully through the Super Fresh aisles, checking prices, picking out the products I needed, and gradually shifting over into the Rolling Stones. In Aisle 8, I paused to ask a youngish store employee some directions.
“Gherkins? That’s Aisle 14, sir,” he said.
“Thank you very much,” I replied.
“And they’re on sale too," he added. "That plus the Extra Discount for being a Sen…”
“For being a what?!!!” I wheeled about, cutting him off.
“Sorry, sir, what I meant was …”
I didn't stay to listen. I hustled myself and rickety cart out of range fast as I could. Did he not hear what I was humming? Maybe I needed not to hum, but to actually sing the lyrics?
“… but if you try some time, you just might find, you just might find ….”
Well, what I just might find was myself next in Aisle 14, looking for the gherkins. But up ahead coming down the aisle in the opposite direction was a leathery looking gent whose posture was such it practically bade you stick a saddle on him and ride him to the nearest glue factory.
I looked away. I sang louder. It didn’t matter.
“Hello, friend, ” he greeted me cheerily. “Didja know you get an extra 5% off here at Super Fresh?"
Oh no! Did he view me as a new recruit? Did he mean to be taking me under his wing?
"You see," he went on, "you take this coupon they put in the newspaper ..."
What was he planning to do next --- baptize me into the ways of the Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute?
" ... and you hand it in when you check out your groceries. See, it says right here 'Discount for Seni ...."
I did me some wheelies and ran to the checkout counter fast as my wobbly cart would take me! Now I sang the lyrics almost as if I were in concert.
"Drivin' that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones…"
The checkout guy, about 25, eyed me suspiciously as he began to total up my items.
"That's $87. 58, sir," he said.
“Did you already give me The … umm … Discount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named?”
“The what? Oh, sure, don’t worry, sir. I put the Senior Citizen Discount right in.”
He said it. He had said it. It hurt bad.
“Don’t you want to ask me something?" I said to him. "Verify something? Assure yourself of something?”
"No, you’re good, sir."
“But shouldn't you card me? Make sure I’m the right age to get The- Discount-That-Must- Not-Be-Named?"
"That's hardly necessary, sir."
"Card me, you fool!! Please card me!!!”
Now I was no longer singing Casey Jones. Nor was I singing You Can't Always Get What You Want, Sugar Magnolia, or anything by the Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, or any other rock group at all.
I was singing:
“Strangers in the night, exchanging glances, wondering in the night …"
The Discount-That-Must-Not-Be-Named had won.