Going to the grocery store’s not my idea of fun, but it’s the only place I can pick up my most coveted man-child survival supplies — beef jerky and coffee. I must restock my secret stash before returning to my box and the all-important daily filing of the meta-data.
The teenager handed me my change and I said, “Thank you.”
“No problem,” he answered with a smile. I stood there looking at him, hoping to no avail he’d change his response.
“It’s not ‘no problem,’” said to him, “It’s ‘thank you.’ And I’d like to hear ya say it before I leave.”
The Soccer-mom behind me gave me a nervous smile, certain she knew where all of this was heading, but unable or perhaps unwilling to interfere with my already-launched correction. I smiled back, hoping to calm her fears.
The kid grew all boggle-eyed and his jaw moved up and down in rapid fashion as I tried coaxing him, “You can do it – it won’t kill ya.”
“Th-th-th-thank y-y-you?” he stammered.
As he finished speaking, the kid suddenly popped — like a balloon filled with chilled lime-green Jello — leaving smatterings all over the register. They immediately began reforming, moving towards where the youngster had once stood, much like hundreds of Banana Slugs.
I knew he was going to be okie-dokey and eventually would grow from the experience.
“You’re welcome,” I said as I started to turn away, “And, see — I told you it wouldn’t kill ya.”