Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I was stuck in Five Towns tonight with about an hour to kill, so I went into Stop & Shop to do some grocery shopping.

I eat a lot of soup. It's easy, warms me up in the winter, and is preparation-free. But kosher canned soup costs about 50% more than its non-kosher counterpart, mostly because it's made by "heimishe" brands, like Manishewitz or Streits. I was excited to find a can of Stop & Shop brand vegetable soup with a good hechsher on it. Two bucks a can. It doesn't take much to excite me these days.

I was standing in line, waiting my turn at the cashier. As my turn came up, I was hit by a wave, no, a monsoon, of body odor. We are talking b.o. of unimaginable proportions. I think I can still smell it. I literally gagged a little. I turned to the source of the miasma, the teenage cashier. He looked normal. He looked clean. He seemed to be wearing clean clothes. His hair seemed ungreasy. But there it was, and it was choking me. I began to wish I hadn't bought so many cans of soup. I started bagging my groceries myself to move things along. As he finished ringing me up and I thanked him, the guy in back of me startled both of us and said "Whoa! Dude!"
I turned around. He was addressing the unfortunate cashier.

"Dude, you gotta get a shower! Oh man, you are killing us. What the f___ is the problem, dude? Soap and water, man."

All true, but was it necessary to shout that? Did he have to embarrass the poor clerk in front of everyone? And believe me, he was quite embarrassed. He met my eyes and then he turned red. And looked at his feet. And he mumbled something.

"I have a condition."

"What man? Speak up?"

"I have a condition that makes me sweat. I'm taking these steroids for a thing I have."

I felt horrible. Poor kid. He was so terribly embarrassed. I wanted to throttle the jerk in back of me for humiliating him, the jerk who didn't apologize and actually seemed proud of himself for shaming the poor kid.

It's so easy to be nice. Why do people have to act like asses?

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