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Stupid Rays

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Warning! Warning!
Stupid Rays

By Chris McConnell
art/Eachean Edmundson

IN ANCIENT TIMES (meaning the 1950's), people had two options for gathering food. One was to hunt for it, the other, to farm for it. The first called for a stealthy gait and a healthy respect for your prey, the other an affinity for nature and a dedication to life. Luckily, we don't need any of those things to get food today. Just a checkbook or a debit card and a tolerance for stupid people.

I'm sorry. Did I say "stupid people"? Why yes, I did. Now I hear you saying, "So what you're trying to tell us, Chip, is that everyone who goes grocery shopping is stupid?" Well, not everyone. I'm not. Don't get me wrong, it's not the people -- it's the shopping carts. They must attract some sort of stupid rays. Case in point: I ran into the grocery store to grab some items. I've been in this store before, so I know exactly where the medium hot salsa and nacho chips are (cleverly placed in two aisles separated by the same amount of distance that's between Antarctica and the Arctic, by an insidious co-conspirator of the grocery cart people, but that's another story).

Having captured the salsa, I move swiftly down the chip aisle to find my way is blocked. A woman, a singular shopper, her shopping cart is turned sideways in the isle and she is staring straight up in the air. She is totally oblivious to me and the two other people that are coming down the isle from the opposite direction. She appears to be in a trance that could only be caused by stupid rays charging into her brain through the handle of the shopping cart she clutches. And, of course, she's standing right in front of the nacho chips.

"Excuse me," I say at least twice as I try to move to get the chips. For a brief moment, her hand leaves the cart and I see sanity return to her glazed eyes. "Oh, I'm sorry," she mutters. Stupid rays.

You can see the devastating and incapacitating effects of these rays in every aisle. In one aisle, a man is blankly gazing at mustard while a child of no more than three years leans precipitously over the front of the cart spitting Animal Crackers onto the floor. In another isle, a woman slams her cart into the Achilles' tendon of another woman whose cart blocks the aisle. She winces slightly, but maintains her hold on two identical jars of strawberry jelly, staring at them as if they contained live eels.

I can do nothing but shake my head in pity. Then, I am met with the most gruesome sight! As I round the corner into the main aisle, I see not one, but two people so saturated with stupid rays that they are letting their children push the carts!

Where the stupid rays come from and who is behind them is still a mystery. I suspect, however, they are the same people that have a "logical" explanation why gasoline prices increase 20 cents overnight and how The Nanny managed to stay in prime time TV for so long.

I am reminded of a question (which has nothing to do with shopping) asked by a Cincinnati prosecutor when cross-examining the psychiatrists of a murderer and known white supremacist. He asked the psychiatrist why the murderer waited until after April 20 to perform the crime.

"It was Hitler's birthday. He wanted to wait until after he celebrated Hitler's birthday," the psychiatrist replied.

"Adolph Hitler?" the prosecutor asked.

Some people never let go of the cart.

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