Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Got This Gift

It all comes around to me. And while placing my carefully picked grocery items on the belt, I notice that I seem to be partial to grocery items colored yellow, orange, and red. Egg Bagels. Home Pride Bread. Nacho Cheese Doritos. Single-Size Celeste Pizza. Safeway Cola. Carl Buddig Ham. Bud Light. All yellow, orange, and red like a fire marching slowly down the beltway. This makes me think, I wish I would start seeing the smoke before the fire, because I owe the IRS 1,000 dollars and I owe the state of Maryland 600 dollars and I owe GEICO 240 dollars and I owe my car 1,800 dollars (well, 250 dollars deductible anyway) and just to put life into the recently deployed air bag alone will cost 600 dollars. I am dazed by the fire but am shaken from my thoughts because I now owe the lady 28 dollars and 39 cents for placing my yellow, orange, and red into blue plastic bags. It all makes sense to me as everything marches down the beltway and comes around to this. I only wish that I’d start seeing the smoke before the fire so I can avoid the blues in my future. I give the woman I owe 28 dollars and 39 cents to, an even 34 dollars. She takes it and gives me a puzzled look and I just nod at her and think, “Just punch it in there honey and you’ll see what a four-year college education made me capable of calculating.” She reluctantly punches it in. And then she understands as she gives me one five and some change. I pick up my blues and walk away, alone. Just me and my blues. And my ability to calculate change. (Excerpted from my book, Loser Makes Good, available here.)

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