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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another victory, When will they learn?

Recently we had bacon, lettuce and tomato (BLT's, at our house) sandwiches.  There were many home grown tomatoes waiting to be used, and there was a feeling of joyous anticipation in the air.  But, tension was high as we went through our pre-meal production inventory.
  • Potato chips, check
  • Mayo, check.
  • Bacon, check
  • Bread, check,
  • Tomatoes, check,
  • Lettuce, fail, no go, abort meal preparation, we are out of lettuce.
A fine mess, no doubt, we were crushed, what would we do!

My wife, thinking quickly, though, said "I will start the bacon and slice the tomatoes, you go to the store and get some lettuce."

Go to the store, by myself, like a responsible adult, HELL YEAH!  Got to play it cool, though.  "Sure, I guess I could do that,"  I said, taking a sip of my coffee, or whatever I was drinking, who could remember in all that excitement.  

I rushed into the bedroom, and was going through the closet, trying to find the right clothes, while the theme song from Mission Impossible played in my head.

"You're just going to get lettuce, don't make a big production out of it!"  I heard my delicate little angel holler from the kitchen.  "And put that fedora back in the box, it makes you look silly.

Dang it, note to self check; closet for hidden cameras.

Arriving safely at the store I walk through miles of Halloween, displays, slowly being eaten by Thanksgiving items, which were being pursued by the ravenous hounds of Christmas things.  Stores amaze me, they are the perfect machine, there is so little wasted motion, out with the new, and in with the newer.  It is the perfect example of natural selection and atrophy.  As one holiday withers and perishes, another grows in its place, feeding on, and supplying the same consumers and needs, it is a symbiosis in all its beauty.  And the cycle repeats, from New Years through Christmas.

No time for that, though, off to find my quarry, lettuce, in its natural habitat, the Produce Department, which was huge, well stocked and thoroughly staffed.

Upon entering I was met by a man, dressed in an expensive looking suit.

"Good day, sir I am Maurice, your Produce Concierge, which wonderful fruit, or vegetable can I direct you towards today?"  He asked, dusting off my shirt with a whisk broom and handing me a recycled paper cup filled with coffee.

"I was looking for some lettuce, Maurice.  This coffee is fantastic."  I said.

With an almost imperceptible motion he summoned a young, well dressed, neatly manicured man, while saying, "it is fresh roasted over an open pit, and ground by hand, using a stone mortar and pestle handed down through generations of Produce Managers.  The cup is made from paper recycled through an all natural process by the inhabitants of various small villages scattered around the world.  This is James, our primary lettuce facilitator, he will be happy to assist you.  Enjoy your day, and your coffee, sir."

"Hello, sir.  It is alright if I call you sir?"  James asked, politely.

"Sure. but you could just point me toward the lettuce, and I'll be on my way."

"Let's start here, shall we?"  James asked, stopping in front of a display (the first of several in the lettuce annex) filled with loose green leafs wrapped in a silky, shiny looking material.  "Here we have a Romaine lettuce, actually grown in Romania, hand picked by a family that has been growing and exporting lettuce for hundreds of years.  It is flown in fresh every morning, if you listen closely you can hear the soft sound of a small stream being played gently in the background.  It helps the lettuce relax and feel at home.  This maintains freshness, comfort, and the wonderful striation that delicately decorates each leaf.  Organic, delicious, and superb, yes this is the lettuce for you, sir."

In an amazingly understated ballet of grace and precision James pulled a razor sharp knife from his belt sheath, and sliced a small bit of lettuce from a leaf and held it to my nose.  "You can smell the delicate taste, and wonderful, savory bouquet of flavor waiting in each hand wrapped leaf, can't you?"  James asked hopefully, as the knife disappeared, smoothly, quickly and silently.

It was a very pleasant scent, and it was probably very good lettuce, but at $17.00 a pound ($5.98 with a Penny Pincher Club Card) it was a little more than I wanted to spend.  Good lettuce is important in the successful construction of a BLT but, not that crucial.

"James, I am sure that is wonderful, but what I am looking for is a mostly green, sort of round little ball of lettuce.  It comes wrapped so tightly and taped so well that sometimes you need an electric appliance to open one."  I explained, not wanting to waste any more of his time.

"Oh" he said with disdain.  Opening a drawer, he grabbed a head of lettuce with his left hand, and shoved it in my chest.  As I was trying to keep balance, James performed a frighteningly coordinated, terrifyingly complex motion with his right hand, grabbing his exceedingly sharp lettuce knife from his belt sheath, he swung the blade quickly and accurately, cutting off the bottom, back side of my coffee cup, so it spilled all over my pants and shoes.

Security came and escorted me and my .99 cent lettuce to the back of the store where I paid the crankiest cashier they have.  On the way to my car I found a dollar, so the lettuce was free, take that produce department snobs.

The sandwiches were wonderful, and my wife was happy that I didn't have to call her for anything.

Next week I am going to go get some milk, those dairy department guys don't know the trouble they face.