A BOOK BY ANOTHER COVER …
One of my “I need a break” pastimes is a game I call “matching.” I drive to a small to mid-sized parking lot and try to match the people coming out of the store with a car. Or I will try to match the car with what I think the person will look like. Grocery stores are really good for this because they have a lot of customers who go in for a few things and then pop right back out. And it’s as much fun getting some of them almost right as it is when they are really quite wrong. In fact, I find the really wrong matches the most fun.
For example: A guy walks out of Home Depot. He’s kind of a big guy, balding, salt and pepper beard, pot belly. He’s wearing well-worn bib overalls and an equally well-worn tool belt. He has three shopping bags in his cart, a couple short pieces of crown molding, and some copper pipe. I guess him to be a handyman and peg him for the older, white panel van with the three H’s on it (Housewife’s Handy Helper).
He heads straight toward it. He’s almost there. He’s walking by it. Three cars past the van, he opens the hatchback of … wait for it … a Mini Cooper. I bust up laughing. That probably would have been the last car on the lot that I would have matched to Mr. Handy Helper.
Or how about this example: Still at Home Depot. Looking to match the driver of the triple-H utility van. A few people come out. I give them the once over, but guess none of them for the match. None of them were.
A guy in a suit. No.
A harried looking thirty-something mother with two crying kids in tow. No.
A few day laborers, heading in the wrong direction, so … no.
A construction worker-type brute, heading in the right direction. Maybe.
O-o-o-oh-h-h no-o-o-o-o. Did not see that one coming either.
It’s the harried looking mother with the two kids. I love it when I get them that wrong.
And finally, let me share the following: I’m sitting at my favorite corner table at my local Borders Book Store, when I look out the window and see this massive looking black Ford Excursion, with at least 24” of lift, probably 33” tires or so, obviously custom suspended, custom grill, and custom paint job of an eagle grasping a cobra in its claws. This thing looked big, angry and mean. It made my Toyota Highlander look like a Mini. There was an etching in the almost black rear window. It simply said, “Semper Fi.”
So I can’t wait to see the marine who gets out of this bad boy’s toy.
The door swings open. I realize I’m not the only one waiting inside Borders, looking out the windows, to see who gets out of this DFWM behemoth.
The driver stands squarely in black leather military boots, properly spit-shined, next to the open door. At the push of a button, the door closes. “Nice touch,” I thought.
The “uniform” is a pair of Desert Storm camo pants and a black tank-top, emblazoned with a similar-looking eagle and cobra as painted on the Ford. Colored tattoos ran the length of both muscular arms. Square-shouldered with jet black hair, pulled into a ponytail, hanging almost to the waist.
Wha-a-a-a-t?!? Bet you didn’t see that one coming, because I sure didn’t.
About four feet tall.
Wha-a-a-a-t?!? Definitely didn’t see that one coming. Wouldn’t even have guessed that one was coming in a millennium.
That’s right. The driver of that big bad boys toy was a not-so-big bad girl. In politically correct terms, she was a “little person,” also known as a dwarf (no disrespect intended.)
It’s doubtful she was a Marine, since they do have a minimum height requirement, but she was definitely Marine-like. And I had to admit, “Man, I love this game.”