Let us continue our journey as Mr. Know-it-all visits the grocery store.
Next up in the meat and seafood section, fowl. Ostrich? Really? I know, “It tastes just like chicken.” Yeah? A really big chicken that could stomp you into next week and peck your eyes out, laughing the whole time.
A quick jaunt led to the “by-product” of chickens: eggs. My God! Eggs of every ilk. Not mere medium, large, and jumbo but free range, Omega 3, cage free, vegetarian. Vegetarian? When did chickens become carnivores? Maybe they eat other chickens, which could explain why they taste like chicken.
This was only a prelude to milk decision-making matrix. Milk rarely comes from cows anymore. Nope. It’s soy, hazelnut, almond, rice, oat, and my favorite, hemp (“420 Brand Milk, it’s not just for children anymore”). And what does come from a cow is graded by percentage of fat: 0.5, 1, 2, 3.25, 6, 10+, 18%. When did the purchase of milk become a math problem? I should have paid more attention in high school algebra.
I gravitated to a sign that read “Cheeses” (some wag had penciled in below it, “K. Riest”).
Awe-inspiring they were, though the combined aromas hinted at Durian. The most expensive cheeses look and smell like they should have been thrown out a week prior. A cheese in my refrigerator that sports blue mold gets tossed, instead some (mostly the French) double the price. Sure, but do the French have cheese in a can? Nothing like a six-pack of cheddar to liven up a party.
On to the bulk foods aisle: dried goods in 55-gallon cardboard containers. It’s great to be an American. The numerous rice bins alone could have sustained a third-world nation for a weekend. On the other side of the aisle were beans. Yes, the magical fruit. All varieties, colors, and sizes. Sizes range from nano technology to bowling ball. A bathtub could be filled the water needed to rehydrate some of these behemoths.
And myriad flours and meals, with grinds the consistency of talc to quarter-inch minus.
Then the International Foods section. If it’s got a flag, it’s got a representative food. The Russians are said to drink prodigious amounts. I can’t say for sure, but given the large number and diversity of two-liter bottles bearing Cyrillic letters would indicate this is fact. Each label contains a picture of citrus or vegetable combinations. One disturbing brown liquid had a picture of a car bumper and a tailpipe.
The Mexican product section was delineated by a shelf containing prayer candles bearing images of Maria De Guadalupe, the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and one that looked strikingly like Shelly Winters. This section ended with all forms of tortillas morphing nicely into Asian wraps (tortillas made in Japan, I guess). Here is where I first viewed desiccated critters hanging in clear plastic bags. It was a display similar to the fetal pigs seen in any porcine fetal museum except these were meant for consumption, though I believe the thing that burst from John Hurt’s chest in the film Alien must have donated some DNA.
The bakery beckoned to me. This place had more bread than the Koch Brothers, baked in ovens that would have made Adolph Eichmann positively giddy. Breads made from all manner of things. And they’re gluten free, salt free, yeast free, egg free. I might have misread but I thought I saw Free Tibet. One bag had all the “free” labels. I can only imagine the bakers funneled hot air into a plastic bag and put a twist tie on it (“Calorie Free”).
Amidst all these wonders roamed the greatest treasure of all: people. Strange people. After all, this is a place where Mr. Know-it-all shops.
I approached a checkout lane that carried only a double-digit number and started to unpack my bounty. In the cart ahead of me sat an infant with a head shaped like a football. His goggle-like eyes followed my movements carefully. I wondered what blight could have caused such abnormalities. His mother turned toward me and I saw in an instant the cause of his malady: he looked just like his mother.
Snapping my gaze toward the magazine rack, I feigned interest in Kirstie Alley’s latest weight gain. At that moment a sullen woman, her head hanging low, pulled in behind me with five children bouncing off the aisles like neutrons in an atomic pile. One little hob goblin eyed me, as if I might be a promising backstop. I put on my best Terminator “I’ll be back” scowl crumpling the tabloid in my fist. He seemed to intuit my displeasure and he opted to scale the candy rack instead.
My turn at last. In order to cut costs, the store has a you-bag-it policy. I opt for the bounce-and-bag. All items that bounce go in the same bags. All others … don’t.
Hitch a ride on the Zoo Tram back to the time zone we parked in and our task is finished. With this easy guide, it should be possible for anyone to complete a shopping foray with a minimum of violence. And if anybody asks, tell ’em Mr. Know-it-all sent ya.