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By: Wayne Brown
As my regular readers know, I have a morning ritual of stopping by the local 7-Eleven for a large cup of java each day as I head in to the office. In previous writings, I have outlined some of my thoughts and experiences during that process. Today, I encounter another one in which I learned that the familiar days of yesteryear have passed me by and hair that cannot be combed will always be messy. On that basis, I must state that some of the burden for the failure of Americans to practice good grooming must lie with the good folks down at the 7-Eleven.
Later this morning, I am going in to have my fingerprints digitized into the Texas Department of Public Safety Record Archive. I am doing this voluntarily as part of the process to achieve my CHL (Concealed Handgun License). My wife accomplished that step last Friday and she warned me that they would also take my picture. Thus the thought occurred to me that I should look well-groomed in the photo as opposed to some kind of nut out to maim and kill at first opportunity. As I dressed to head in for work, I discovered that I had lost my pocket comb which I carry in the back right pocket of my jeans along with my checkbook. This discovery made me stop and realize that my plan for good grooming in light of the coming photo could be jeopardized.
Now, for me, a pocket comb hangs around about as long as a good pair of sun glasses. You can be sure that the cheaper the glasses or the comb, the longer you will have them. Raise the price and brother, here’s the sequel to that movie, “Gone In 60 Seconds” coming at you! Now, more than likely, that comb, like my good sun glasses is probably in the pocket of some pair of pants that I have worn in the past and will turn up sooner or later, normally right after I purchase the replacement. Being rushed for time, I opted to pick up a comb when I grabbed my morning coffee at the local 7-Eleven convenience store…another assumption gone bad with time.
As I walked into the store where everyone knows my face but no one knows my name, I answer the same greetings that I receive every other morning with the same reply…balances the scales…they don’t care but they have to ask; I don’t care but someone has to reply. I stroll on back to the coffee bar and quickly mix up my large store blend coffee with a shot of hazelnut cream for good measure. I use two large cups, one inside the other. The extra cup acts as a layer of insulation to help keep the coffee warmer for a longer period. Secretly, I think that maybe they have their eye on me and know that I always use two cups…something which pisses them off to no end but they tolerate to keep my business.
Once I have my coffee, I waltz on over to the display on the back wall which is oriented toward personal needs and personal grooming. You can get your protected sex requirements handled in this area, a five-shot of giddy-up-go juice, something to relieve that nagging cough or that oh so throbbing headache, nail trimmers, cotton balls and cotton swabs, rubbing alcohol, stuff for that time of the month, something to make you sleep, and a deck of playing cards to use if you cannot. Hmmm…I don’t see what I am looking for. Maybe they don’t carry them anymore. Nah…that can’t be…most folks got hair, so why miss the sale? Still, after several scans of the area, a simple comb is nowhere to be found among all those other personal aids. The thought occurs to me that maybe the clerk is watching and thinking that I want to buy condoms but can’t get up the nerve. Quickly I think of a reply for that one…you don’t have my size! I have to smile.
Then it occurs to me that just maybe the combs are in a different area. You know, like at the local Kroger Supermarket, they have this big section on ethnic foods. There is an entire array of Mexican type products that fits in that offering with one exception…the jalapenos. Those are with the pickles. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Maybe that is what is going on with the combs. You’ve been there; you ask the clerk where such and such are and they point you to the frozen food aisle. You ask why and they say because there is less shop-lifting in the frozen food section than on the shelf. Suddenly, it makes perfect sense to me.
I considered a cruise through the refrigerated section and a check of the ice cream boxes to see if possibly the combs have found their way to that area. Then I think better of the idea for the clock is ticking. You see, when you come into one of these stores, they automatically think that you are there to rob them. If you get in quick and get out, they are pleased; but, if you linger…they get nervous and edgy. I sense the tension is building as I frantically look about…where are the damn combs?
Finally, knowing that I am all out of time and that there is a good possibility that the cops are already on their way responding to the silent alarm which the nervous clerk has already set off, I reluctantly move to the counter to pay for my comb, uh, I mean my coffee. The clerk takes my money and I inquire, “Where the hell are the combs?” He shrugs his shoulders and looks longingly toward the personal grooming section. I share with him my disappointment in having anticipated that I would make a comb purchase at the 7-Eleven only to find that they have either quick stocking them or ran out. They take inventory every single day, sometimes twice a day and yet they have run out of combs. Given that outcome, they cannot complain about the comb not being a good seller…looks like they are outselling the condoms!
Again the clerk shrugs as I point out that this lack of product is probably the reason why so many people are walking the streets and looking so crappy…hair all askew. I point out the heavy responsibility that 7-Eleven has to consuming public to maintain a complete stock hair care products and most importantly the comb. I also warn the clerk to let his management know that if they cannot handle that responsibility, I am fully capable of turning them into whatever agency of the government monitors those short-comings. I know there is an agency because the damn government monitors everything, especially those things that do not require monitoring.
The clerk shrugs again and apologizes for the inconvenience. I laugh thinking about how I have suffered an inconvenience within the walls of a so-called “convenience store”. It is appalling. Then, just before I reached that exit door where they check your height for free, I turned and said, “You know, if they President had stopped in here today looking for a comb, you folks would have looked like a bunch of clowns. You need to think on that for a while.” And with that, I hurried on out knowing they had a full description of me to give to the cops.
As I get back in the truck and head off to the office, I catch a glimpse of my wind-blown hair in the rear view mirror. I think how this could negatively impact my photo ID for the concealed handgun. I think about the cop who will look at the picture then look back at me and say, “How do I know this you with all that hair every which of way.” And I will then have to relate my disappointment to him and explain how they were out of combs down at the 7-Eleven on the day that I had my picture made. Cops hang out there so he will probably be able to relate to my sad story. On my way to the fingerprinting, I consider wearing a pair of sun glasses to the photo shoot then toss that idea out as only adding to the confusion…wind-blown hair and sun glasses….look like a doper.
I’m gonna get me a comb because I will not be able to find my other comb until I get a new comb. When I do, I think I will immediately drill a hole in one end of it and attach one of those chains like you see on the big wallets that the bread-man carries…that should keep it where it will be handy at all times. Since I will have one of those bread-wallet chains hanging off my belt, I suppose I will have to get one of those magnetic signs to go on the truck that says, “Driver Carries No Cash” just to be sure that I am safe should anyone spot the chain while I getting my morning coffee and mistake me for a bread-man on his way to work.
If I do get that new comb, I am going to go by the 7-Eleven, walk in, and hold that comb for all the clerks to see and say, “You see this, Suckas…that’s a comb and ya’ll need to get some. Do I make myself clear?” Of course that means I will have to leave quickly in order to avoid an uncomfortable scene with the cops as folks run from the store yelling, “He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!” Gee, a comb can sure be a troubling thing. If I find that old comb after I get the new one, I’ll just make a kazoo out of it and play me a song.
©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.
2 July 2012