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This morning, I was running errands around town.  And at each store, when approaching the cashier, I offered the following comment:

Looks like you pulled the short straw!

And each time I mentioned it, I got a puzzled look in reply.

It was as though the cashiers (male and female) didn’t understand what I meant.

Readers of my stories are among the most knowledgeable in the world, and I’m sure they understand the comment.

So why don’t these young cashiers understand me?

I was trying to be friendly.  It doesn’t hurt to smile at a person when you meet them.  I always flash a friendly smile, accompanied by saying complimentary or funny things to them.

And that’s all I wanted to do – offer a friendly note of sympathy to get their reaction.

But each cashier I spoke to shrugged their shoulders or gave a puzzled or sympathetic look in return.

So, I would repeat the saying and made sure that I was flashing an ear-to-ear smile.

But again – nothing.

Were you wearing clothes or were you naked?

Nice one, Spanky, but leave the bon mots to grownups.  By the way, your shoes are on the wrong feet!

At the third store, a cute Asian girl greeted me with a friendly hello.  I’m sure she was smiling beneath her mask.  She reminded me of my gal pal, Sannie.

I placed a package of Depends on the conveyer and paused to make eye contact.  And then I said:

Hi, it looks like you pulled the short straw!

Again, I get a shrug.

So, despite the long line of customers waiting-in-line behind me, I decided to explain the meaning of ‘pulling a short straw,’  thinking maybe it’s a generational thing.

I held my hand up and showed my index and middle fingers.  I then placed my other hand over most of the two fingers and then adjusted them, so they were both appearing to be level with each other.

See?  Now pretend that I’m offering you two straws and asking you to guess which straw is the longest.  If you guess correctly, you win!

But all I got was another shrug of the shoulders.  I turned and caught one of the shoppers rolling their eyes at her husband.

Is it my voice?  Is that why nobody is acknowledging my sympathetic greeting – they can’t understand me?

And then the cashier spoke:

Bags?  Would you like any bags, sir?

I hesitated as I looked at the twenty or so items on the belt.  I felt like answering – no, that’s okay – I’m a circus clown, and I’ll juggle everything while riding my tricycle home.

Yes, I’ll take four bags, please.

I kicked myself for not bringing any cloth shopping bags with me.  I had three of them in the car.  It’s not because it’s a nickel for each bag – it’s my concern for the environment.  But I’m forgetful.

As I gathered the bags together, I thanked the cashier and then sheepishly exited the store.  It’s sad when you try to be friendly but only get blank stares in return.

Anyway, it was the fourth store that I visited when I finally had a cashier who understood me.

She was closer to my age than any of the previous cashiers, and she had a friendly smile.

Here’s how it went:

Good morning!  It looks like you pulled the short straw?

But to my surprise, I got a puzzled look!

Was this another WTF (why the face) moment?  So, I repeated myself very slowly, taking care to enunciate each word with care.

It – looks – like – you – pulled – the – short – straw – eh?

She pressed her face up against the plastic shield between us and whispered the following:

Today is Friday, not Saturday!

I finished paying for my items, thanked the nice lady, and walked to my tricycle (vehicle) scratching my almost bald head, thinking it was Saturday.  And then I started to chuckle to myself.


Speaking of straws, I remember that when growing up (in the ’50s and ’60s), straws for beverages were paper.  But at some point, they were replaced by plastic straws.

And some plastic straws even have one end that can be bent to make it easier when drinking beverages from a bottle or can.  Initially, I enjoyed the convenience of plastic straws and shopping bags.

But the plastic straws are ending up in the ocean, along with billions of plastic shopping bags.  Some companies that ship the used plastic bags and straws to overseas locations, are instead, dumping them into the sea.

Whales, dolphins, sharks, and giant sea creatures swallow these straws and bags and suffer horrible deaths.


And now I’m done.  I gained a day to my weekend and got to write this for you.  Because without readers, my life would be like pulling the short straw.

I’ll be walking a new trail in South Vancouver on Sunday morning, and I’m excited to see my friends.  But it won’t be Wreck Beach.  I’m going there on Monday or Tuesday – weather permitting.

Dedicated to seniors!



Click on this Index to view my 210+ stories.

Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):

Dear Diary – lyrics

Dear Diary, what a day it’s been
Dear Diary, it’s been just like a dream
Woke up too late, wasn’t where I should have been
For goodness sake
What’s happening to me?
Write lightly, yours truly, dear Diary

It was cold outside my door
So many people by the score
Rushing around so senselessly
They don’t notice there’s people like me
Write lightly, yours truly, dear Diary

They don’t know what they’re playing
No, they’ve no way of knowing what the game is
Still they carry on
Doing what they can
Outside me, impolitely, dear Diary

It’s over, will tomorrow be the same?
I know that they’re really not to blame
If they weren’t so blind then surely they’d see
There’s a much better way for them to be
Inside me, yours truly, dear Diary

Dear Diary, it was cold today
But the sun came out later
So I went out and strolled about looking at the shops
Didn’t really see anything I liked so I didn’t buy anything
On the way home, I posted a letter
Been quite a nice day

Songwriters: Ray Thomas

About Post Author

Daniel (Danny) St. Andrews

An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor (as in almost pregnant) living in Vancouver, BC His other passions include cancer patient advocate (he had stage 3 throat cancer), walking with the Vancouver 'Venturers Walking Club, and of course, spoiling his dog, Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).
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