Saturday, September 4, 2010

Foot in Mouth Disease

There has been many times in my life where I have put my foot in my mouth.  I cannot remember the first time it happened and and I, quite frankly, expect to do it again someday.  Not that I want to do it.  It is that I cannot help myself.  Here is one of the many stories of my Foot in Mouth disease.

A rather common occurrence.
While in high school I worked at a lovely department store called Shopko. If you are not familiar with this store it is one step above K-Mart and three steps below Target in the low price department store genre. What I remember most about Shopko is the fact that they used to require me to wear a dull orangey-rust colored smock that seriously hampered my ability to show the ladies the old Artie charm. But alas the ugly smock was no match for my acne speckled charm when I licked my index fingers and slicked down my sixteen year old mustache that consisted of exactly 37 hairs.

When puberty kicks in this thing is really going to take off.
While I was employed at Shopko I was a cashier. This was the best place to be because of the male to female ratio that was weighted heavily towards the female side and when a boy is at that age that is a very important fringe benefit. Another benefit of my position is that I would give breaks to different areas around the store that had cash registers. This also gave me a chance to branch out and sprinkle my charm in a larger area.

Pictured above is a perfect example of the male to
female ratio being skewed in the wrong direction.
One day I was walking to give a break to the cute girl in the layaway department when I turned the corner and noticed a line of disgruntled customers at the counter that stretched past the women’s activewear into the lingerie department where a mother was desperately trying to cover the eyes of her nine year old boy. As I neared the front of the queue I inquired about the employee’s whereabouts with the group and they all growled in one accord and pointed through double doors.  So off I went.

No one likes to wait in line.
I finally located the missing girl way in the back loading up tons of boxes for the mass of crabby people waiting for her. Wanting to show her my rapier wit I said, “If we don’t get those boxes down there in a hurry their going to hang us.” Then I flashed my suave and debonair grin.

Who's awesome?  You're awesome baby.
It was at that moment in time I discovered that I may not be as humorous as I think I was. Oh who am I kidding, I still haven’t learned that. Anyway, once I said those fateful words she broke down and started sobbing dropping a case of collectible Star Trek plates on the ground. Of course I did what any young man would do; with an expression of terror I put out one hand and patted her on the shoulder. Then I decided a little more of my flashy humor would be of assistance in this situation and I explained, “It’s okay, no one will get hung while I’m on duty!” She sobbed louder.

What did I say?!?
In between her sobs and her snorting the little bubble of snot that kept making an appearance in her right nostril back up she explained to me that the previous night her best friend had hung himself in his basement and she found him when she came over to visit. Oops.

It was all I could look at.
That day I learned to think before I speak and put extra thought into the words I use. Remember people’s feelings instead of making a flippant joke that could be insensitive or hurtful. Oh who am I kidding? No I didn't. Seriously who would have seen that coming? I mean really?

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