"$5.37." That's what the kid behind the
counter at Taco Bell said to me. I dug into my pocket and pulled out
some lint and two dimes and something that used to be a Jolly Rancher.
Having already handed the kid a five-spot, I started to head back out
to the truck to grab some change, when the kid with the Elmo hairdo
said the harshest thing anyone has ever said to me.
He said, "It's OK. I'll just give you the senior citizen discount."
I turned to see who he was talking to and then heard the sound of
change hitting the counter in front of me.
"Only $4.68," he said cheerfully.
I stood there stupefied. I am 54, not even 60 yet. A mere child! Senior
citizen? I took my burrito and walked out to the truck, wondering what
was wrong with Elmo. Was he blind? As I sat in the truck, my blood
began to boil. Old? Me? I'll show him, I thought. I opened the door and
headed back inside. I strode to the counter, and there he was waiting
with a smile.
Before I could say a word, he held up something and jingled it in front
of me, like I could be that easily distracted! What am I now? A toddler?
"Dude! Can't get too far without your car keys, eh?"
I stared with utter disdain at the keys. I began to rationalize in my
mind. "Leaving keys behind hardly makes a man elderly! It could happen
I turned and headed back to the truck. I slipped the key into the
ignition, but it wouldn't turn.
What now? I checked my keys and tried another. Still nothing. That's
when I noticed the purple beads hanging from my rearview mirror. I had
no purple beads hanging from my rearview mirror.
Then, a few other objects came into focus. The car seat in the back
seat. Happy Meal toys spread all over the floorboard. A partially eaten
doughnut on the dashboard. Faster than you can say ginkgo biloba, I
flew out of the alien vehicle.
Moments later I was speeding out of the parking lot, relieved to
finally be leaving this nightmarish stop in my life. That is when I
felt it, deep in the bowels of my stomach: hunger! My stomach growled
and churned, and I reached to grab my burrito, only it was nowhere to
I swung the truck around, gathered my courage, and strode back into the
restaurant one final time. There Elmo stood, draped in youth and black
nail polish. All I could think was, "What is the world coming to?"
All I could say was, "Did I leave my food and drink in here?" At this
point I was ready to ask a Boy Scout to help me back to my vehicle, and
then go straight home and apply for Social Security benefits.
Elmo had no clue. I walked back out to the truck, and suddenly a young
lad came up and tugged on my jeans to get my attention. He was holding
up a drink and a bag. His mother explained, "I think you left
this in my truck by mistake."
I took the food and drink from the little boy and sheepishly apologized.
He offered these kind words, "It's OK. My grandfather does stuff
like this all the time."
All of this is to explain how I got a ticket doing 85 in a 40. Yes, I
was racing some punk kid in a Toyota Prius. And, no, I told the
officer, I'm not too old to be driving this fast.
As I walked in the front door, my wife met me halfway down the hall. I
handed her a bag of cold food and a $300 speeding ticket. I promptly
sat in my rocking chair and covered up my legs with a blankey.
The good news was I had successfully found my way home.
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*- READ BELOW !
Just in case you weren't feeling too old today - - -
The people who are starting college this fall were born in 1992.
They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
The CD was introduced three years before they were born.
They have always had an answering machine.
They have always had cable.
Popcorn has always been microwaved.
They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
They never heard, "Where's the Beef?," "I'd walk a mile for a Camel,"
or "de plane, Boss, de plane."
They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.
Pass this on to the other old fogies on your list.
Notice the larger type? That's for those of us who have trouble reading.
P.S. Save the earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.