Some People Just Don’t Get It

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Editor’s Note: Remember to leave your guesses to yesterday’s post in the comments.

I’m not exactly a people person, so I’m often at a loss for why people do the things they do. What possesses someone to read the newspaper while driving? Why do celebrities make sex tapes when they know their penchant for feather dusters and anal sex will come out on the internet? How can postal workers not know that New Mexico is the state, not the country? How can some halfwit take us into a war without a plan?

Well, never mind that last one. I know the answer to that.

My typical defense against overwhelming stupidity is to check out mentally. This ability has saved my career more than once. If I actually paid attention in meetings I’m sure I’d vault across the table and strangle someone – as it is, I just drool on them while I’m asleep.

When forced to pay attention, I find that just being detached and aloof helps. After all, I am born omnipotent. I didn’t go to one of those cheesy online divinity schools to get my Ordination of Omnipotence. That would be so gauche. The nouveau riche – like the nouveau omnipotent – are just a bunch of pretentious scallywags. You simply can’t trust someone who hasn’t been a deity for at least 12 millennia. Fourteen is even better.

But sometimes I get sucked into the reality of the moment despite my best efforts.

Many years ago, when I was still a blue collar deity, I used to work night shifts. So when I went to the movies I usually went during the day and by myself. I always stopped at the concession stand for my 18-metric ton steam shovel of popcorn – with free refills too – and accompanying supertanker-sized soda.

One day I was helped at the counter by an excessively chipper chippy who was somewhere between high school and young divorcee age.

“OK, so I have a Coke and a popcorn. That’ll be one dollar please.”

“Uh, I think it costs more than that. Are you sure,” I asked?

Yessir! See, that’s what it says right here on the cash register and the cash register doesn’t lie,” she cheeped as her pigtails waved in time with her bobbling head.

I said, “OK then. If the cash register doesn’t lie, who am I to question it?” I handed her a $20 bill.

“Oooooh sirrrrr. Do you have anything smaller? All I have is ones,” she said with a lopsided, vacant grin.

“No.”

“Would it be all right if I gave you your change in ones,” she asked?

“That’ll be fine. It all spends the same way,” I said.

“Huh?” she said ignoring my fine quip.

“Let’s see, one, two, three… nineteen, twenty,” she said proudly as she counted out the money.

“Miss, you said the drink and popcorn was $1. I gave you $20. But, you gave me $20 back in change,” I said.

“That’s right sir,” she twilled.

“No, you don’t see. The popcorn was $1 and I gave you $20. That means you should’ve only given me $19 back,” I said reasonably.

“Is there a problem sir?”

“Yes. You’ve cheated yourself out of a dollar,” I replied.

“That’s not possible sir. You gave me $20 and I gave you back your change…$20,” she said. “I even made sure I counted it properly because that was an awful lot of bills and I didn’t want to make a mistake.”

“Well, I think you did. I still owe you $1,” I said.

“No sir. You already paid for your popcorn.”

“Are sure you don’t want me to pay for the popcorn,” I asked a little impatiently.

“No sir. You’re all paid up,” she said.

As I said, “OK” and turned around to leave, I heard her tell her countermate,”Geez. Some people just don’t get it, do they?”

“Yeah, they don’t,” I thought as I savored my first fist of popcorn. “They really don’t.”

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