Today whilst the children napped I ducked out of the house to go to the newly redesigned and reopened Sports Chalet, hoping to find suitable t-shirts for exercising. I'm convinced, you see, that the primary barriers to my exercising regularly are wardrobe-related. If my sartorial challenges are met, no doubt I will be doing cardio like clockwork, and the pounds will melt off.
Anyway, the new Sports Chalet is vast, and the line of post-Christmas bargain-hunters was long. When I finally made my way to the counter with my purchases, I found myself near their new USC-gear center. It's a garage-sized corner of the store festooned with USC sports garments of every description, a noisy jungle of red and gold that looks like a room overdecorated for some new religious holiday centered around militaristic bands, vanity license plates, cultural inbreeding, and drinking until you heave.
The teen running the cash register saw me looking at the spectacle, mistook my inability to avert my eyes for interest, and chirped brightly "You're an alum, right? Can I interest you in some of our new USC sports gear?"
My head snapped back towards her, my mouth dropped open like a gun-turret door, and an array of appropriate responses scrolled down the screen in my head, ready for firing:
- "How dare you. Like any decent person, I hate USC like I hate Hitler, the Yankees, and crotch rot."
- "I'm sorry. Was I drooling?"
- "There was a better time in this great nation of ours when I could have my second call upon your second for that, and tomorrow morning I'd be putting a musket ball through your liver in some dewy meadow someplace."
- "I understand that in the course of the Christmas season you've grown justifiably to hate customers, but if you wanted me to feel badly about myself, couldn't you have just spit at me or pointed at me and laughed or something?"
But some better angel of my nature, awakened from post-Christmas stupor, grabbed me by the collar and hauled me back from the precipice, and so I said nothing, shutting my mouth with a snap and uttering something between a grunt and a gulp. I recovered, however, rather too late for the comfort of the poor salesgirl, who licked her lips nervously and darted her hand under the counter towards some unseen panic button they probably use when the violent homeless people come in, unnerved by my gaping mouth and the rat-quick flash of Blagojevichesque raw hatred in my eyes.
The rest of the transaction was somewhat awkward.
On the brighter side, it was not necessary to explain that no, I did not want to open a store account today.
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