Important research. The outcome of my research may stop global warming, the Israelis and Palestinians might join forces in whacking a pinata, and the NFL may go the whole season without a concussion, player being arrested, or suspended for taking performance enhancing drugs.
No, my research is not funded by any PAC, It is not funded by the government (any government). I am self-funding my research. How much am I spending on my research, you ask? It’s a personal thing. Let’s just say I’ll still be able to drink my Coke Zero at night, munch on hot air popcorn, fill my car with gas, and go frequently to Starbucks.
“Enough, Ray. Cut to the chase. Read the last paragraph. Wake me when you start summarizing.”
I said, “Whoa, the last comment was particularly nasty. You sound like some of my former students. Have a little faith I’m talking important stuff.”
Here is my question: How many days a week do you go to the grocery store?
When Babe and I were raising 5 daughters we went one day a week. There were seven of us, not counting animals, friends, and relatives dropping (note relatives are not necessarily friends. In case my relatives are reading, of course, I always consider you a friend. Do you think they fell for it?).
Now, I go to the grocery every day. I live alone. I cook for one. I’m not meals on wheels and bringing my gourmet concoctions to the neighbors. I know every counter clerk on a first names basis. Think of the things I have to deal with when I go grocery shopping.
Linda the clerk says, “Is that it, Ray. One jalapeno? Eight cents? You’re paying with your Mastercard?”
I said, “I needed a jalapeno for my taco.”
Next day. I get Linda’s checkout line. She says, “I can’t sell you the bulk ginger, Ray.”
Linda said, “You didn’t put enough ginger in the plastic baggie to register a weight.”
I said, “Do I get it for free?”
Linda rolls her eyes, and casually glances at the number for security, “Sorry, Ray.”
That afternoon, I’m back at the grocery. I’m in the mood for a frittata. All I need are two eggs. I don’t want a frittata tomorrow or next week, only tonight. I hear a voice, “Ray, can I help you?” I turn and look. It is a guy with the name tag, Joe. I don’t know Joe. Joe knows me.
“How do you know my name, Joe?”
“Everyone here knows you, Ray.”
Am I considered dangerous? Am I on the grocery store watch list? Am I being tracked by an unknown grocery GPS they slipped into my credit card? Or, am I paranoid? I not sure of the right answer.
Joe speaks, “Let me guess, Ray. You don’t want a dozen eggs. You don’t want a half dozen eggs. You want two eggs.”
Am I that predictable? “Can you help me, Joe?”
“Fraid not. Your best bet is to the buy the liquid eggs. They’ll be good for five years, don’t think about the expiration date. We only put that on there to make people toss them out and buy fresh. Don’t tell anyone our secret”
“It’s in the vault.”
I take my liquid eggs to the checkout stations. The only one with a short line is Linda. She’s waving at me. I enter her line.
“Long time no see, Ray. It’s been three hours. You get everything you need?”
“How about a life, Linda?”
“Let me see. Did you check aisle four?”
I’m grateful I have a store, HEB, where everyone knows me. And, I can get what I need when I need it. Grateful for large and small things in life. Life is good and so is my frittata.