Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mingling with the Gladidonts

There are few better ways to feel good about yourself than by making a trip to the mall.

I'm a great fan of people-watching, or at least I used to be.  Since taking my self-awarded sabbatical, I haven't gotten out of the house as much, but instead have been slaving away over a hot keyboard, trying to get 33 years’ worth of personal writing projects done in two while also preparing and then delivering a daily radio program.  But recently The Bride of the Bloviator (a.k.a the Petunia of Penstemon Drive) needed some shoes, so off we went to the mall.

Malls are useful for buying things, but they're also a great diversion.  I particularly enjoy watching the gladidonts and comparing notes.  In case you’re not familiar with the concept, a gladidont is a person you run into who inspires you think, or perhaps even say out loud (although in a low voice) to your companion, "I'm glad I don't [fill in the blank.]"

Example:  Here comes a dude with a gargantuan beer belly.  "I'm glad I don't have a gut like that," you might think.  "It's good to be able to see your feet in case you have to trim your toenails or something."

One guy today had tattoos up and down both arms and both legs done up so thickly that it looked like he was wearing a black sweater and black stockings.   The images were so tightly packed together that you couldn’t make any of them out, and I know because I sneaked a close peak as we passed.   

As a side note, I will admit that I don’t understand the whole tattoo thing.  In a fad-driven world where what’s fashionable today is so yesterday within three months and a source for open derision if still worn in six, you’re going to buy and put on something that you can’t take off, like, ever?  Really?  I would say I respect your commitment, if it weren’t for the fact that my Google search for the words “tattoo removal” just turned up 9,200,000 hits.  Nine.  Point.  Two.  Million.  Just sayin’. 

More examples:

“I’m glad I don’t have a triple chin like that guy.”

“I’m glad I don’t have a wife that looks like that dude’s.”

“I’m glad I don’t have a pair of shorts as loud and garish as that guy’s.”

“I’m glad I don’t have a growth on my lip like that man’s.”

“I’m glad I don’t have to pay with 75 different coupons like that lady.”

The latter is one of my favorite.   This happens at the grocery store, of course, a place where you can count on several things.  One, you will choose the checkout line that turns out to have the coupon lady in it somewhere ahead of you.  Two, she will not get out the first coupon until the cashier has scanned through the last food item and announced the total, at which point the coupon lady will suddenly remember and then start digging through a purse large enough to conceal a litter of kittens plus the momma.  Then, at least half the coupons will be expired or in some other way invalid.  She will want to argue about each and every one.   She will insist on examining her receipt in detail to make sure she got the promised discounts for each item purchased.  Before she can do this, she will have to conduct an extensive search in the aforementioned hangar-sized purse to find her reading glasses.  Then she will challenge some of the charges, maybe all of them.  She will want to pay with exact change, down to the last penny, which she will not be able to immediately find within the yawning mouth of hell that is her purse, to the point where you find yourself digging into your pocket and offering to provide the last few cents of her transaction just to get her the hell out of the way before the ice cream you’re trying to buy turns into milk.   And finally, by the time it’s your turn to check out, you will have watched at least four customers with full carts in the adjacent line pass you by and check out ahead of you while you were waiting.

So, I’m glad I don’t live on a fixed income.  Yet.

Sometimes you see things while out and about that repulse you and make you sad at the same time, like the guy in front of me at the checkout the other day whose meds apparently had just kicked in.  He was drooling.  I watched as he dug through his wallet for a credit card, and I thought, “If he doesn’t hurry up, a spot of that is going to land right on his American Express.”  He might have made it, if, after finally finding and pulling out the correct card, he hadn’t stopped to squint at it.  As he did so, a small drop descended from his chin, detached, fell a short distance and splatted onto the card, which he then handed to the cashier.  Euwwwwww.  To her vast credit, she didn’t bat an eye, simply accepting the card, swiping it, and handing it back to him while keeping her fingers on the dry spots.   I would have to guess that this trooper had seen worse.  It was hard not to feel for the guy.  But I’m glad I don’t drool.  Yet.

Nor was this my first experience with public drool.  I was in a hip, cool record store not so long ago (yep, they still have those, believe it or not).  The 19 year old spike-haired goth behind the counter had just gotten a tongue piercing.  Oh, yeah.  He was drooling.  Copiously.   “Tank oo for comin’ in thethey,” he said cheerfully when he handed me my purchase.  “Hab a nith they.”

You hab a nith they, too.  And by the way, I hope you’ll forgive me if I say I’m glad I don’t have a tongue piercing like yours.

Then there was this guy standing by a shopping cart in a Walmart one day.  Of course, it had to be Walmart.  Arched across the top of his otherwise shaven head was a day-glo purple spiked mohawk.   Barbed-wire earrings dangled from either ear.   A heavy silver chain hung from his right earlobe and swung over to his nose, where it was connected to a silver ring.  The guy had enough hardware through his lips and brows to oufit a True Value store.  He was wearing a barbed-wire necklace to match his ear bobs, had on a black t-shirt commemorating some heavy metal band or another, and matching black leather pants covered with silver studs.  Oh, did I mention he was wearing a black spiked dog collar?  I used to wonder what folks outfitted like this did for a day job until I had occasion one day to visit an office located in the same building as a call center whose shift was just changing. 

So here I am gawking at the guy, trying not to be obvious about it, when I noticed that his shopping cart has a baby sitting in it.  This, of course, leads me to wonder what his mate might look like.   Don’t look at me like that; you’d wonder the same thing.  Right that very second, up walks a young long-haired blonde.  The word “attractive” doesn’t describe her.  She was heart-attack inducing gorgeous in every way, and was dressed conservatively enough to have been comfortable in a corporate business environment.   So I think, “No.  It can’t be.  She has to be his sister or something.”  At this point she gives the guy a buss on the cheek and then puts her arm through his.

See, this is why I no longer go to church on Sunday.

In addition to the gladidonts, when I was younger I used to run into a lot of hopeidonts.   Such as:  “Gee, when I get older, I hope I don’t wear a sour expression like that guy.”  Or, “I hope I don’t forget to trim my nose hair and ear hair when I get to be that guy’s age.”  Or, “I hope I don’t wind up bowling-ball bald like that old coot.”

I was wondering why I don’t see those so many hopeidonts anymore, when it hit me.  I’ve become the hopeidont or the gladidont for other people.  They see me and think, “Gee, I hope I don’t lose all my hair like that guy.”  Or, “Wow, I hope I don’t get chicken legs like that dude.  He really shouldn’t wear shorts in public.”  And so on.

You know, it occurs to me, Amazon.com offers an amazing amount of really cool stuff online.  And they’ll deliver it right to your door.   You don’t even have to answer the doorbell.  The delivery person will leave it right there for you.

What a great time to be alive.


If you liked this snarkogram, you can find more here.   I also invite you to take a look at my novel Messages, which applies a similar treatment to the TV news industry.

©2014 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

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