Even a Fish Wouldn’t Get Caught . . .


Photo 136       My wife has a mission in life- To stop my size sixteen foot from going into my mouth. She doesn’t always succeed. An example- Our recent trip to the Supermarket.

I usually shop by myself. I figure, in the old days, men would go forth with muskets and bring home the food. The brave hunter would throw a dead deer on the table and say, “Woman! I have provided.” So I do the same. I slam a pack of burger and a Purdue chicken on the table and say, “Woman! I have provided.” The response is usually, “You got thighs. You were supposed to get drumsticks.”

There are times when my wife shops with me, though. I mention this only so I can blame her for the foot-in-mouth event that happened.

I have a tendency to be an impatient shopper. If someone leaves their cart in my way, to walk a couple of aisles away for a can of spinach, they may find the cart missing when they return. Hey! There are Supermarket rules, you know!

Sometimes, I make comments I shouldn’t. Out of anger, little sharp barbs fly out. This bothers my wife, who, by the way, has the superhuman ability to hold her tongue, no matter what offense is thrown her way. So today, I was going to be on my best behavior.

We’d gathered up our items and got in the checkout line. That’s when the temptation to throw some barbs happened. The woman in front of us was causing a bit of a hold up. It figures. There can be ten lines open and I always pick the wrong one.

But, I had vowed to hold my tongue, and so I would. No outbursts. No rude comments. An occasional eye roll was shared with the cashier, who returned a “sorry about this” look; but that’s it.

The woman went through a whole series of holding-up-the-line activities. One would have thought she practiced these at home, in front of her mirror.

First, she had trouble paying. Her gift card didn’t have enough money on it. She explained that she’d recently gone shopping at Wal-mart. “That must be where the money went.”

Then, she shared with the cashier some of the items she’d bought on that particular shopping spree.

Finally, she paid with a check. When the cashier handed her a receipt, she explained that the girl hadn’t handled the transaction properly, going into details of proper procedure.

And still the woman remained in the check out line, like a brick wall, blocking me; carefully folding her receipt, as if it was a valuable treasure map. Then she checked her bags, probably making sure none of her items had jumped out, trying to escape her insanity.

Through all of this, I remained relatively calm, remembering my vow. But Wait! Light at the end of the tunnel. She moved forward.

Three times, she began moving, only to stop, because she’d thought of something else to check, or of some other witty thing she had to share with the cashier or the bagger. Three times, I began pushing my cart, only to pull up short. Three times, the cart behind me whacked against my rear end.

Finally, after a short conversation with the bagger, she moved enough for me to inch up.

“Success,” I thought. “I didn’t mumble any rude comments!”

As she wheeled away, I leaned over and smirked at the cashier. “You handled that really well.” She smiled and began to ring up my order.

“Sorry about the wait,” the bagger (A young lady) said.

“No big deal,” I answered, my graciousness shining forth, as I gave myself a mental pat on the back for showing my Christ-like attitude. “The poor cashier had to deal with a slightly crazy lady. Happens all the time.” I gave a forgiving laugh.

“Pardon Me,” the bagger said, her smile fading. “I didn’t quite get that.” I repeated my little joke. The girl’s face turned stone serious. “That crazy lady was my mother.”

. . . O boy. . .

The next few minutes were very uncomfortable, quiet, and long. . . Very long. Leaving the store, I proceeded to remove my foot from my mouth.

James 3:5 “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!”

Special Note #1- Though I’d truly like to blame my wife, I’m the one who needs to watch his tongue.

Special Note #2- Even words shared in jest can be hurtful.

Special Note #3- Be careful what you say. You never know who’s listening.


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