Remember Stephen

Remember StephenYeow!  I sure didn’t expect it to be as cold out this morning and remain as thus throughout the day.  Someone said the windchill was at minus 20 degrees this morning.  It’s no wonder it took longer for my car to heat up while driving to the office.  It was confirmed what I’d mentioned yesterday while on my way to visit a client at the hospital this morning.  There are a great number of sick people in Mason City right now.  I happened to run into a nurse I know in the hall and said, “Wow! What’s going on here?  I had a terrible time trying to find a place to park.”  She shook her head and said, “You wouldn’t believe how many people are sick with colds and even worse right now.”  I hear we’re supposed to be back up above 40 degrees come Saturday.  Look out!

I know many of you think I’m one of the worst when it comes to interacting with grocery store clerks.  Since it was so cold, I thought I’d drive out to the east Hy-Vee and purchase some yogurt for the office.  It’s always good to have it on hand when feeling like a snack.  As I was entering the store, I noticed several young men standing at the only lighted check-out where they were busy socializing.  Looking at them, I figured they’d still be at it when I’d be back to pay.  Out in the dairy section, I noticed another brand I hadn’t seen before and it was on sale.  The sign said, “3 for $4.00”.  After a moment’s thought, I figured I had just as well get three since they were on sale.

Taking the long way back to the front, I always find it amusing to see those electronic eyes turning the lights on in the coolers as I walk past.  I was actually teasing them a bit to see how far away from them I had to be before they’d not turn on.  Wow!  You’d have to be a near “stick man” walking very close to the shelves across the aisle to keep them from lighting.  Being alone and walking down a long aisle with those cooler lights going on by themselves always seems a bit creepy—it feels like Big Brother’s watching.

Back up to the check-out counter I dashed where those two were still jabbering with each other.  I put the three cartons on the counter and pulled out my wallet to get $4.00 as I was waiting for them to stop their verbal strutting.  The clerk scanned them and the computer rang up $4.01.  I looked at the screen and said, “These are 3 for $4.00.”  He looked at me thought I’d just asked him to show me his tats.  Again, I said “Your computer is trying to steal a penny from me.”  He then turned red and looked at his screen and said, “Oh, I guess one of them rang up wrong so I’ll make the correction right now.”  I handed him my $4.00 and said in sassy tone, “I don’t like it when your computer tries to steal a penny from me, and furthermore, I should be getting these for free because “your computer” rang it up wrong, but I’ll be generous with you just this one time and pay.” As I was walking away, I could hear their inaudible’s back at it again.  I’m sure they’d changed the subject and were talking about persnickety me.

Every once in a while during times like these I remember Stephen Hawking saying mankind’s greatest threat for extinction are computers.  I’m beginning to believe him.

Joe Chodur

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