Yesterday Wal-Mart had a cast of characters that rivaled a comedy one might see on the silver screen. Not, as sophisticated as something by Wes Anderson mind you with everything colorized in lavender and pink or a scouting outfit, coonskin cap, and saddle oxfords. But I digress.
I was in the cola aisle (soda aisle for those of you not from here) when I noticed a little man trying to get a case of Cokes off the shelf. When a young man pulled the case off the shelf and put it in the little man's buggy, the gentleman said in a thick southern drawl. "Why thank you so much. I would have gotten it myself but I just got this knee fixed," he said pointing to his left knee. "And I certainly don't want to mess it up." With that comment he turned and moved down the aisle.
It was at that time I realized this little man reminded me so much of the character Wallace Buford (played by Bob Penny) in Sweet Home Alabama. Mr. Buford was the attorney who was constantly trying to catch up with Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) to remind her that she, in fact, was still married.
Meanwhile, back at Wal-Mart this large man (reminded me of Icky Woods without the shuffle) was standing in the canned vegetable aisle holding a can and staring at the shelves with a look of total confusion. I excused myself as I reached in front of him and got a can of dark kidney beans. As I turned to put the can in my buggy, the gentleman was still standing there staring at the shelf. "May I help you?" I asked.
"I need a large can of cut beans," he said. "And I just don't see them anywhere." We both looked at the shelf. I spotted a can of what I thought was what he was looking for and handed it to him.
"Is this what you are looking for?"
"That's it. Thank you so much." Then as he put the can in in his buggy he looked at the can in his hand. He smiled and showed it to me. It was the same thing I had just handed him. "This is why my wife shouldn't send me in here."
As I moved on I passed two ladies talking to each other in the aisle (think Wanda Sykes and Jean Smart - Charlene of Designing Women ). One sported a purple hat and matching shoes that were hard to miss. I over heard her (the purple hat one- Charlene) say, "Oh, Marvin's doing fine. He is just working a lot of overtime these days."
An aisle or two later when I was looking for beef stock among the several types of beef broth, I found the lady (the Wanda Sykes one) was standing behind me talking with another lady (who reminded me of Mo'Nique). I only heard, "Un huh, I saw what she had on - purple, Everyone knows you don't wear that color this time of year."
"And she told me Marvin was working a lot of overtime."
"Overtime? Yeah overtime with that young thing that works at the Dollar Store. She gotta know."
"Of course she knows. But what she supposed to say? Poor child."
"Uh, uh, uh, uh, un!"
By this time I was at the end of the aisle when I about ran into the buggy of the little man (who reminded me of Mr. Buford). I quickly apologized, "I'm so sorry."
"Just as long as you don't hit my knee. Just had it fixed." I smiled and moved on. We may be slow. We may still live in the sixties (sometime the 1860's). But damn we are entertaining.
I made my way to check out and I was almost run over by a 300 pound woman in an electric shopping cart with her basket full of ice cream, packages of cookies, and frozen pizza quickly passing the fresh vegetable and fruit area as if some of the produce might just jump into her basket.
A mother (who looked just like Octavia Spencer) was pushing a buggy full of groceries followed by four young boys like stepping stones, each several inches shorter than the one in front. The youngest holding a box of cereal, trying to catch-up yelling, "Mama, can we get this?"
She stopped and turned around. "Lashon, I ain't having nun of that. You hear." Just her look got little Lashon back in line. Just her look got me in line.
I thought - Saturday Night Live would have field day in here. They wouldn't know where to start. But telling someone that there was a little ol' man who had just had knee surgery, a husband helpless with a grocery list, two gossiping women, a mother with four boys, and an obese shopper buying ice cream just gets lost in translation. It is a location joke - you have to be there.