July 28, 2007
Sorrow and sweet old ladies
Originally published February 18, 2002
Sweet Jesus! I LOST IT in Wal-Mart today and really don't know why.
The cupboard was getting a little bare, so I went shopping this morning. I picked up the sundries I needed and cruised over to Sporting Goods, where I found a basketball goal and a Rawlings ball that I thought my son would enjoy. I threw the ball in the buggy and wrestled the heavy box with the goal and backboard off the rack and into the buggy, too. Then, for no good reason at all, I started to cry. And I COULD NOT STOP.
The sight of a 50-year old man leaning on a Wal-Mart shopping cart and weeping uncontrollably in the Sporting Goods section of the store is probaby unusual, even in the back woods of southeast Georgia where I live. A couple of silver-haired women came over, patted me on the forearm and asked, "Honey, are you all right?" I wanted to throw my head back and scream at the top of my lungs, "HELL NO, I'M NOT ALL RIGHT! WHY DO YOU THINK I'M STANDING HERE IN SPORTING GOODS CRYING LIKE A BABY? IF I WAS ALL RIGHT, I WOULDN'T DO THAT!"
But I didn't. I told them that I was just fine and simply had a really sad thought all of a sudden. They nodded understandingly, as if that babble made perfect sense to them. Then I asked them where I could find the little Clorox tablets that you drop down the back of your commode to keep your toilet water fresh as a daisy and they gladly led me right to the spot. I threw two twin packs into the buggy and thanked them profusely. They went away and I cried some more among the plungers, toilet-wipers and Clorox tablets.
I was warned ahead of time that my prostate surgery would carry some pretty heavy emotional aftereffects, but that was four months ago and I believe I should be over the worst of it by now. Either I'm not, or I'm about to snap like a dry twig and go stark, raving crazy. I don't know.
But isn't it great to live down South, where silver-haired women will come to see what's wrong when they see you crying in Wal-Mart? Isn't it great that when you ask where the Clorox tablets are, they take you by the hand and walk you right to them?
Yes, it is.
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