Thursday, June 21, 2012

Walmart Smackdown!

Blogger update: I'm currently on foreign assignment in Argentina with good friend and photog Dan Denardo.  We stopped at a local Walmart in the small port city of Bahia Blanca to pick up some essentials.  Dan captured this photo of me in the parking lot and told me to "stay out of trouble."  He reminded me of an incident I had at Walmart three years ago.  Below is a repost of that day.


August 16, 2009

If readers of this blog ever get the notion that sometimes I'm one tough SOB, then they should consider themselves perceptive. Heck, maybe even take it up a notch and go for 'psychic!'

Yeah, that's right, I'm tough!  I'm just one lean-mean photog machine--out to save the world from the brink of destruction, one frame at a time. I've seen the best of man, the worse of man, the richest and the poorest, the sane and insane.

Speaking of 'insane,' today I met a man that defined every annotation of the word: INSANE!

Walking through Walmart, I cruised aisle by aisle, looking for adventure, deodorant and Powerbars. Pushing my cart, I turned every corner with ease, gliding ever so smoothly from hardware to pharmacy, electronics to canned goods. With elegance and grace, I maneuvered my cart through the gauntlet of Saturday morning shoppers, weaving through crowds of screaming kids and grumpy old men. The air was cool. The smell was fresh.

As a bachelor, I take pride in my shopping abilities. I value my time behind the wheel of a well-oiled shopping cart--because being single and shopping on a Saturday morning is like cruising in your 'women-mobile' down the strip with 'I'm too sexy' bumpin' in the background. Chicks dig a guy with a shopping cart full of protein bars and Old-Spice, beef jerky and AA batteries!  It's 2009, ya know.

So there I was, deep in the midst of going through the camping aisle, backed turned away from my cart, eyes glued on sleeping bags and over-priced tents. I felt a whisk of air brush the back of my neck--the kind you get when a thief runs off with your (man) purse.  So I turned around to see where the breeze had come from--and to my surprise, my shopping cart was gone--whisked away from me within the blink of an eye, a synapse of a moment. It was no where to be seen :(

I looked left, then right , up and down--but to no avail. My whole life flashed before my eyes. I saw sunrises in Indonesia, begging kids in India, amputated limbs in Cambodia, soldiers in Afghanistan. I saw night for day and day for night, felt the air freeze before me and time just stood still. Pinching myself awake made no difference, my body shook, shocked in awe and 'struck'n'stoned.'

Finally, after a lifetime (5 minutes) of searching, in the corner of my eye I spotted a cart full of Old-Spice. I ran to it--and in the midst of chaos, I was able to confirm that it was indeed MY CART. I confronted the man and told him that he'd made a big mistake. He looked at me like I was an alien from Mars. He shook his head and kept walking with my cart. I followed in hot pursuit. In my head I wanted to call the cops, the FBI or even Jack Bauer for back-up. I wasn't gonna let this guy off easy.

"All agents, please be on the look-out for a senior citizen, Caucasian male, 5'6", wearing a red checkered shirt with brown pants and reeks of Bengay and Preparation H."

I confronted him again, this time standing in front of my cart. Like Tina Turner singing 'Stop In The Name of Love,' I put my hand out, had him to a halt and looked deep in his eyes. He gazed back at me with eyes glistening from a high I'd never seen before--maybe recovering from an overdose of his Viagra. Whatever it was, this dood was 'Insane to the Membrane.'

"Boy, you wanna' take this outside and settle it like real men do?" he asked.

Shocked, I replied, "No sir, I just want the contents from this cart. It's mine. I've spent the last hour picking everything out and I'd appreciate it if you took your cart back and give me mine."

"Get out of my way, China-Man!" he shouted.

Oh no he didn't!

Was I really going to get into a fight with an 80 year old geezer--at WALMART of all places?

Was this going to end with someone in hand-cuffs and another in an ambulance?

How would I explain this in court and would any lawyer represent me?

At that point, I didn't know what else to say to the man. I was sad. I had lost all hope in humanity. I no longer saw the light in an evangelical way--but instead, I saw myself wanting to show him the lights of my right fist! I felt as if the devil had taken me over.

But slowly, I just turned around, walked away and never looked back. I had settled for defeat. And like Hiroshima, I felt the baron landscape of my heart sink deep into the depths of the abyss, never again to be spoken of.

With an empty shopping cart, I ventured out again, aisle by aisle. 'Quit Playin Games With My Heart' by Backstreet Boys played softly in my proverbial juke box.

Then, after a minute had gone by, I had the biggest smirk on my face and thought to myself, "this old fart is gonna' pay a fortune for all that shit in my cart."