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A gallon of milk, baggy pants and 'Crazy Cable'

April 28, 2010
I probably shouldn't have said anything. Maybe the devil made me do it. But as many of you who know me are aware, I've never been real good at keeping my mouth shut. Sometimes you just have to say what's on your mind.

I was in a store recently, standing in line to pay for my gallon of milk, and a young guy who looked to be about 18 or 19 was in front of me, cashing in some scratch-off lottery tickets. I wasn't paying a lot of attention to what was happening; I was off in la-la land as usual, looking at all the trinkets and junk on the counter — put there to catch everyone's eye in hopes of getting them or their children to spend their last dime. But after a little while, I noticed that there was some controversy between the young girl behind the counter and the guy with the scratch-offs.

Evidently, when the clerk paid him $16 for his "winners," he thought he had another $2 coming and was rudely telling her so. She stood her ground, insisting that $16 was all he had coming. He grabbed the tickets, shuffled through them, then threw them back on the counter and said in a loud, threatening voice, "There, now give me my other $2, #@!^&."

Well, he shouldn't have said that, especially with "Crazy Cable" standing right behind him. I raised daughters who worked hard at such jobs to help me put them through college, and I can't stand to see kids like that abused in any way.

I took a closer look at him, sizing up the situation. I wasn't going to jump in on the argument, because I knew he'd only come back later and give the girl a hard time if I took her side. So, I decided to use a different angle.

I noticed he had baggy pants on … or sort of on … that instead of being up around his waist were hanging down almost to his knees with the crack of the moon showing as if he was trying to advertise the fact that he had one. He was wearing one of those wife-beater T-shirts and had tattoos all over his arms, a pack of cigarettes sticking out of his back pocket (which must have been hard to reach) and a smirk on his face as if there was something brown under his nose and the smell was getting to him.

I looked at that crack again and then at my gallon of milk, thinking it would probably be a good fit, but decided to be a bit more diplomatic.

"What cha been up to today?" I asked him.

He turned toward me, studied me a second and probably figured I was just a friendly, harmless older guy who likes to talk to young punks.

"Not much," he answered after a short pause.

"That's what I figured," I said. "As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure you don't even have a job. You certainly couldn't work, wearing a wardrobe like that. Heck, you can barely walk unless you take little baby steps. And I'll bet you're not in school because your vocabulary suggests you've spent very little time there. And you have at least $2,000 worth of bad art tattooed all over you. I wonder how you paid for that? And who is paying for those scratch-off tickets and that pack of cigarettes in your back pocket? As a matter of fact, I'll bet you're living off some woman, either your momma or some young girl on food stamps and welfare. You know, you've got white trash written all over you."

He puffed up like a hot air balloon.

"How long has it been since somebody kicked your #!%, old man?" he asked.

"Well, it's been a while," I admitted. "But I don't think you're the man for the job. With your pants down around your knees, you can't get your foot high enough to kick anything. But why don't you wait in the parking lot until I pay for this milk and we'll have a good, ol' butt kickin' contest."

He stormed out, and after I paid the clerk, I went outside, expecting him to be waiting with a ball bat or something. But he was gone and I never saw any more of him. That was one lucky young man — I'm pretty sure that gallon of milk would have fit perfectly.

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    April 29, 2010 | 08:57 AM


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