Jun 21, 2008

Wonderful column today

Flipped open the Rocky Mountain News today and stumbled across this great column by Bruce Cameron. It's funny as hell, because I am that guy in line that has all of these things happen in front of him. Here is the entire piece for your reading pleasure:

When someone taps me on the shoulder and asks, "Is this the right line?" I can always be confident when I answer "no." If it were the right line, I wouldn't be standing in it.

My ability to find the slowest- moving line wherever I go is so extraordinary it's practically a superpower.

When I'm in the grocery store, I inevitably wind up behind a woman attempting to use more than 100 coupons to buy a dozen items. Every time a coupon is rejected for, say, being both expired and from Bolivia, she appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court.

If the coupon is actually valid, she wants to discuss where she found the thing, like a big-game hunter bragging about bringing down a charging rhino.

My vanilla ice cream turns to vanilla ice soup, my lettuce wilts, my eggs hatch and start peeping.

"Do you still have double-coupon day?" the woman negotiating for her groceries asks.

"Yes, but only on Wednesday," the cashier informs her. "Day after tomorrow."

"Wednesday," the woman murmurs thoughtfully. At this rate, she's going to make it.

Another cashier approaches the man behind me. "I can take you at register 5," she says to him. "But not you," she tells me. "You have to stand there like someone buying shoes in the Soviet Union."

Actually, she doesn't say anything to me. That's another one of my superpowers: When I'm standing in line, I'm invisible. I've confidently walked up to the counter at the post office only to have the "This Window Closed" sign placed in front of me when I arrive.

The postal clerk didn't see me, so I'm forced to return to the long line, where I've lost my place and, since I'm invisible, no one seems to remember I was next.

I have to go to the back of the line and start over.

The man in front of me has a lot of boxes. "I'm mailing everything I own to seven different countries," he says proudly.

At the bank, I invariably find myself behind the man who heaves a huge bag onto the counter.

"Been saving pennies for 18 years," he explains to the teller.

"Our coin counter is broken, so we'll have to roll these by hand," the teller replies.

"Oh, well," he says. "I don't have anything better to do."

When my son was in high school, I spent most of my mornings waiting for him to wake up.

Sometimes I would gently try to rouse him by screaming "Bears are attacking!" or "Your sister's on fire!" while pouring milk on his face. My son, though, could sleep through anything.

The other day I found myself at an intersection where a left turn is legal only during a solar eclipse.

I waited so long for my little green arrow that I began to accumulate parking tickets.

As I sat, an old man with a walker began to make his slow, careful way through the intersection.

Naturally, I was able to use my superpowers to have him positioned directly in front of my car when the left-turn arrow made its rare appearance.

Cars behind me honked furiously, apparently OK with the idea of running over the guy.

My cell phone rang: It was my son, and I described the situation to him as my arrow winked out.

"This guy moves at like a half-mile an hour! I missed my turn completely!" I said.

"And which one of you has it worse?" my son asked.

My son, who couldn't even wake up during high school, now holds down a 4.0 GPA in college and has accumulated enough perspective to impart worldly wisdom to his father.

It was worth the wait.


  1. Anonymous7:01 PM

    Oh that's a great column. I could've written it. I always wait in the slowest line and then get the person in front of me that just has to "pop out and get some mustard" and could I please just push her cart up if the line starts moving. Which it inevitably does and then I pushing her cart and pulling my cart halfway across the store. AAARGH!!

  2. Anonymous7:20 PM

    Usually, when I'm waiting for someone to clear the crosswalk and the jerk offs behind me start honking, I roll down the windows and flip those impatient pricks the bird.

  3. what if he had combined the two ad said "bears are on fire!" or "your sister is attacking!" I wonder if THAT would've worked??

  4. Thank you for posting this. I concur, excellent column!

  5. This just happened to me yesterday. I got in the line with the lady in front of me who had 10 cloth bags to put her groceries in. That is fine - I'm all for saving the environment but for some reason, the check out guy decided he was going to put each item in the bag one by one as he rang it up instead of let the bagger and customer do it at the end. It took FOREVER!

  6. That was absolutely on point. I love it. Thanks for posting this! Too damn funny.

  7. That was a great column. Thanks.

  8. I'm certain I'm related to this guy. My power to find the line with the most problematic person ahead of me or the stupidest cashier is legendary. On occasion, when an entire line full of people are held up by an idiot of one type or another, I'll turn to the guy behind me and proclaim "This is my fault."