Mary, my wee, red-headed Mary, threw me a surprise party for my 50th birthday Saturday. Having spent the day on the edge of tears (for several reasons, and no, don’t think you’re going to get away without hearing about it later), I found out the reason for the callous indifference of my so-called friends was that they were all gathered at The Spring and awaiting my arrival.
We closed the joint down.
Sunday Mary and I drove two hours north to have lunch with my parents. After we returned, I went on to a three-hour proofreading job.
I told that to tell you this: I didn’t write.
But I will! Of course, I will. Until I get the opportunity, however, a little re-worked post from almost three years ago now.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s nap time.
No one counts back your change anymore.
Remember that first job, probably in 9th or 10th grade? Someone handed you a ten for a $2.50 item and you counted their change back to them: 50 makes it three, four, five, and another five makes it ten. Thank you! Come again!
Surprisingly enough, it occurred to me yesterday, as the clerks handed me back lumps of cash, change, and receipts that I'd not had change counted back to me in years.
I shared this with my friend Mary.
"Ha!" she says. "I think it's because they can't add."
"You do realize," I say, "that we are of the generation that checks our calculators by working it out on paper."
She laughs. "I had an argument with someone just the other day that there was no way that six 39-cent cookies came to four dollars."
"What? That's stupid. Where did she come up with that?"
"It was what the cash register kept ringing up! I'd tell her that it was wrong, she'd zero it out, ring it up again and there it was! Four dollars! So I told her, look, let's say the cookies are 40 cents apiece. There're six of them. Six times forty is what?"
There is a slight pause as Mary and I multiply six times forty in our heads.
"So,” I say, “what'd she say?"
"She didn't say anything. She just kept ringing it up and re-ringing it up and the damn thing kept telling her that the total was four dollars.” Mary shakes her head sadly. “I finally had to leave."
"Without the cookies?"
"Do you believe it?!"
Initially, you know, I didn't believe it, but Miz Marybeth Campbell, of the Tight-Fisted Campbells, is not one to squander her money.
Nor is she one to abandon cookies.
What’s the world coming to?
3 hours ago