Old stories. #2:
I know for a fact that grown men whimper.
I don’t remember the first time I heard Jeff whimper, but it probably had something to do with some expensive Dale Earnhardt Sr 1:24 die-cast replicate race car.
I do remember one quite clearly, though.
Kmart was closing a few Michigan locations, so we took a drive out to one to see about bargains. The one we ended up at was nearly done-in. The place was a disaster; people were taking things off racks and shelves, opening and destroying boxes and leaving items mid-aisle.
I was just about to drag him out of that madhouse when we rolled by an aisle with – gasp – tools!
“Oooooo,” he murmured. Eyes wide, he radared every shelf. I don’t know how he saw it, but well-hidden, stacked behind some really traumatized boxes was a brand new scroll saw with it’s own folding workbench.
He dragged it out for inspection, carefully searching for any signs that it might have been opened before, returned or damaged in any way. Then, cautiously and thoroughly reviewed the “before and after,” markdown pricelist, dragging his finger down the display.
“Oooooo,” he gasped, peering closely. I could see the dreamy dollar signs in his glazed-over look.
“How much?” I asked.
“It was $215.00,” he marveled.
“How much?” I asked.
“It was already marked down to $115.00,” he cooed
“Jeff!” I snapped my fingers hoping to bring him back, because he was clearly swirling into the “I don’t think I can live without this piece of equipment,” abyss.
“How much?” I asked, again.
.Jeff tentatively smiled as he lovingly patted the box and solemnly spoke. “$62.50.”
“I don’t know, Jeff,” I hedged. “What would you use it for?”
“Lots of things,” he insisted. Earnestly adding, “for the store! um, and… making stuff!”
“I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” I said, trying to let him down easy.
Certain he would bow to my logic, I wheeled the empty cart around to leave.
That’s when I heard it. The whimper.
I was so surprised I stopped right in my tracks and turned to stare at him.
The whimper came with a face I had never seen before – one way more serious than puppy-dog eyes.
Eyes still foggy with scroll-lust, bottom lip tucked in under his teeth, still touching the sacred saw, he barely shuffled away from the hand-magnetizing carton.
He truly tried to take another step toward me, moving maybe an entire inch, arm about 20 degrees behind him.
Then he whimpered, again.
“Ok,” I said. “Throw it in the cart.”
He did. Grinning and with ninja speed.
“Quit smiling like that,” I good-naturedly grumbled. “You’re gonna split your face wide open and I don’t wanna spend another night in the emergency room with you.”
Jeff just kept twinkle-smiling. I twinkle-smiled back.
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