Here it is, 5 days before Christmas and a mere 48 hours before a bomb cyclone is forecast to blow in with ‘dangerous blizzard conditions’ and subzero temperatures. So what do I do? I head to Walmart, a frenzied, teeming mob-scene under the best of circumstances.
What, may I ask, does that kind of behavior warrant:
a.) the Medal of Honor
b.) an intervention
c.) heavy sedation
The thing is, I wanted a box of Premium Minis, highly addictive saltine crackers roughly the size of postage stamps, and I wanted them badly. My usual dealer was out of them and I was jonesing, man. Cold turkey withdrawal is brutal. So I grabbed my keys and beelined to Walmart for the relief of a quick fix. On the way, I swerved between hating myself for caving and worrying they’d be out. Worrying won.
My slog from the outermost edge of the parking lot was long and it was frigid. At the automatic doors, I paused, squared my shoulders, took a breath, affixed my mask, and waded into the churning chaos. I did not falter. I navigated — around shopping carts and scooters, kids, stacks of merchandise, people, festive displays, and the constant chatter of voices. When I reached the cracker aisle, my heart sank at the empty spaces dotting the shelves. ‘Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please’ was the mantra running on a loop in my head as I searched. Then a warm beam of soft light shone from a low shelf and a chorus of angels intoned ‘hallelujah’ to the accompaniment of harps.
There they were. A neatly aligned row, at least eight 11-oz. boxes of Premium Minis, stood at rigid attention. It was a Christmas Miracle. I grabbed four of them and bolted for self-checkout, where there was no line and an open scanning station. Christmas miracle number two. My debit card was approved, I bagged the boxes, fled to the car, and drove myself home without incident. And now, I’m going to brush the cracker crumbs off my chest and settle in for a long winter’s nap.
Merry Christmas to all.
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