7 Items or Less

"… so then I'm standin' there in the line right, and I look over and the freakin' sign says 'Express lane: only 7 items or less per person', and the lady in front of me, I kid you not, had at least 30 plus items in her cart. Now this lady she's what I would call, uhh, how do I put this in such a way that I don't sound like a jerk… she was rather… obtuse. Yeah. Obtuse. That's a good word. She could definitely stand to miss a few meals. God, people like that make me sick, 'ya know? Go outside, go for a walk, a run, something. Is it really that hard to lose a few pounds for Chrissake? Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. So I'm standin' there right, and I look at the sign again, then I look back at the lady's cart, and I begin to get that old feeling that you and I talked about. Immediately I can feel my heart begin to pick up a few beats, and I feel my face getting all hot and whatever. I clenched my fists or whatever, and started to do my counting. 'One', I said. 'Two, three,' and so on and so forth until I got to 'bout thirty. After doin' that, I began to feel a bit better, but then some schmuck behind me, who for all I could tell was some kinda fag or somethin', started mutterin' something under his breath, real quiet like. So I turned back to look at the fag, and – "


"Wait, huh?"

"Homosexual. I think the preferred vernacular is homosexual."

"Yeah, that's what I said wasn't it? Anyway…Where was I? Now see what you gone and made me do?"

"You were referencing the homosexual man saying something to you, if I recall."

"Ah yeah, that's right. So yeah, anyway, the fag – err homosexual as you call 'em, said something that I couldn't quite make out, but I was able to get the gist of it or whatever. Dude said somethin' like, 'When will people learn to read signs'. I think that's what he said. Don't really remember for sure, but I'm pretty sure that's close to it. Anyway, I figured the guy was talking about the 'express lane only' sign, so I looked back at 'em and replied, 'Yeah, tell me about it.' Now for some reason or another which I am not privy to, who knows, maybe the guy had some fight with his boyfriend the night before or somethin', my little comment seemed to really sort of set this queen off. The dude repeated what he had said to me, only this time in a much more louder and stern voice. You woulda thought I was some kinda war general who was rallying his troops before a war. So the gay guy makes this comment loud enough so everyone around him can hear him right, and before I can say anything or make a remark, all the other people who are standin' in line behind the queen begin chiming in with him. 'Yeah' they say, 'Only 7 items per customer!' some other lady says, 'Move to a different line!' and so on and so forth. So at this time the checkout kid, who for all I know looks like he just fell out of his mother's uterus last week is really starting to piss himself. As I stood there and looked at him, I began to see the fear in his eyes, and the real dilemma that seemed to be plaguing him. On one hand, he had an angry mob who wanted him to make the fat lady move to a different lane or they were gonna end up crucifying him. On the other hand, he obviously looked like he was lacking the balls to ask some lady if she would kindly put all fifteen hundred of her items back into her cart and move to a different lane. So the kid looks over at me, as if in some desperate plea for help, knowing that I am the only other person in line who hasn't demanded that he asked the lady to move, as well as being the only person that still hasn't lost their mind."

"So then what happened?"

"What'dya mean?"

"Well, what did you do? You were obviously placed in a difficult situation."

"Well what would you have done? I mean you're the shrink and all."

"… I think I would have moved to a different lane. That way you aren't complying with the 'mob', but you also aren't agreeing with the lady who was clearly breaking the store's rules."

"Ha! That's funny. Sometimes doc, you've gotta picked sides. But I wouldn't expect you to understand that, with being behind the desk and all. Anyway, guess I oughta finish the story. So I was standin' there right, and there must have been a million different thoughts in my head. At first I was pretty sure the crazy grocery store mob made up of soccer moms and gay guys were right. I mean the lane did have a seven item limit right? But then I couldn't really justify havin' 'em all gang up on that one lady like that, you know? I mean maybe it wasn't her fault she was so fat. Maybe she was born like that or somethin'. Maybe she couldn't read either. The way I saw it, both sides were in the wrong, and I really wasn't sure what to do. But what happened next really just sorta pissed the hell outta me. Through his rallying and protesting that the fat lady moved to a different lane, the gay guy must've noticed that I wasn't exactly chiming in with the rest of the mob. 'Hey,' the guy said to me, 'Why aren't you shouting with us? You want her to move right? After all, you're the one that started all of this!' I nearly lost it after the dude said that. But I bit my tongue, and asked him what he meant by stating that I started it. The gay guy replied by telling me that if it wasn't for me he wouldn't have gotten all riled up. He said that he actually wasn't speaking to me when he muttered somethin' about people not reading signs, but since I answered him or whatever, he then took upon himself to lead the crusade against the fat woman. As if I'm some sort of revolutionary that helped inspire this certifiable moron to go on his campaign of stupidity! I got that old feeling again, and I tried to do my counting, but it wasn't helping. 'One.' I said. 'Move her, get her out of here!' the mob cried. 'Two.' I said. 'Only 7 items to a line lady!' the mob cried. 'Three.' I said. 'Say something, you're the reason we are here! You're the reason we started this in the first place! Tell her! Move that fat whore!' the gay guy screamed. 'Fo... uhh… Five… no.. wait…' Suddenly, I couldn't remember what came after three. I couldn't move, man. Couldn't breathe, couldn't think. I tried my breathing technique. Inhaling deeply, then exhaling slowly. The mob kept yelling and yelling. I was just standin' there, tryin' to remember what in the hell came after the number three! My face was getting hotter and hotter, I clenched my fists and looked over at the gay guy. 'Tell her! Tell her it's seven items or less! Tell her!'"

"Then what happened?"

"Well what the hell do you think happened? I blasted that gay dude right in his face. I made a fist, pulled my arm back, and stepped into the punch with everything I had. My fist ended up catchin' him right on his jaw, and without a second's notice he dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. 'The next person that tells the lady to move it is gonna end up just like this guy!' I shouted to the mob… And that's about it I guess. The crazed shoppers suddenly became much more nicer all of a sudden, the lady checked out and left, and the gay guy called the cops on me, which you already know how that went down."

"So you ended up giving into your anger after all."

"Yeah, but you said it yourself, I was in a tough spot."

"Yes, I did say that, but I also said that you had options. You could have chosen to not get involved. Remember what we talked about in one of our prior sessions? If you don't learn to master your anger, it will eventually become your master."

"I hear what you're sayin' doc, but there's gotta be a point in a person's life when all that guru stuff goes right out the window, and a man's gotta do what he thinks his best and right."

"… I think this is a good place for us to stop for today. I think next week we can talk some more on what is and isn't the 'right' thing. On your way out don't forget to schedule for next week with Charice, and also feel free to leave the check with her for today's session."

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