Do you ever check to see what time a store opens before you go there to buy something? I never do. On the other hand, Heaven knows that being an early riser is one sin that I'm innocent of. As a matter of fact, if I'm given the option, I usually lie slug-a-bed till I'm forced by convention and decency to rise, and then it's with great reluctance that I knuckle under. Things that go on in the early hours are just not that fascinating for me.
I have been known, however, to be the victim of small bouts of temporary insanity, wherein I rise very early in the morning. Sometimes as early as 8:30 or 9:00 AM! This is usually accomplished with much groaning, yawning, and shuffling about bumping into stationary objects. I finally manage to stumble, bleary-eyed, into the kitchen where Ann has mercifully prepared intravenous transfusions of coffee. After massive doses of caffeine, I usually undergo a magical transformation. I come wide awake and sit there feeling very smug because I managed to wake at such an early hour.
Most of the time, this early rising business is due to the fact that there is some small task around the house that requires my attention. Now we get back to my original question. Do you ever check to see what time a store opens?
I decide that I need a weejiss to repair the framus of the gizadeech and race out to get one. I park my car, race up to the store, and bash my nose and forehead smartly on the locked door of the store. After I can see again, and my head has stopped ringing somewhat, I notice the sign that informs me that the store opens at 10:00 AM.
I look at my watch. 9:55. Then I look inside the store, and notice that the rather loud noise that I made when I ran into the door has caused a lot of attention to be focused upon me. There are at least four sales clerks in there, and they're all looking out to see what the noise ws all about. Good! Maybe they'll open a few minutes early and let me get on with my repairs. I start to wave my arms about, somewhat like a berserk semaphore. They wouldn't just ignore me, would they? You can bet your Aunt Minerva's dentures they vould. And they do. As if by magic, all eyes are drawn away from me, and I'm totally ignored. By this time, it's 9:58, so I resign myself to waiting for the two minutes to pass.
As I whistle a little tune, an employee (who must be late) walks up beside me and raps on the door. Someone in authority comes to the door, identifies the worker, there is an exchange of passwords, and he opens the door just exactly far enough for her to squeeze sideways (with some discomfort) through the opening. The person in authority apparently expects me to hurl my body at the door in an attempt to breach their defenses, because he immediately slams and locks it. I resist the urge to do so. With the latest worker safe in the fold, the person in authority shoots his cuffs, and starts for the back of the store.
I look at my watch. 9:59:55. The person in authority reaches the rear of the store and a makes a smart about face. He starts walking toward the front of the store, slowly taking one agonized step after the other. It's now 10:00! He HAS to let me in! It's obvious that this man is a past master at what he's doing. Where it took him about 30 seconds to walk to the rear of the store, the return trip takes a full three minutes. He has a ring with at least sixty keys on it, and tries fully half of them before he's successful in unlocking the door. As he opens the door, the look on his face would indicate that he is being forced to allow Attila the Hun access to his wife and nubile daughter. I resist the almost overpowering urge to ask him "Are you the manager here?", and when he confesses to that fact, tell him "They told me to run over here and tell you your house is on fire."
No, I need my weejiss. He has my weejiss. I pay for my weejiss and leave the store a wiser man. Next time I need a weejiss, I'm going to sleep till at least 10:30.
BILL HARVEY used to submit his material to us with increasingly exorbitant demands for payment. One dollar, five dollars -- who knows where it would have ended? He is now satisfied with mere fame.
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