My cow decided she liked the neighbor’s lawn more than she liked the hay I was feeding her, so she wiggled her way through the fence, causing a slight injury to her udder extremities. Thus I found myself in need of some salve for her scrapes and scratches.
I looked at the ad for the local Farm and Ranch store, and, as luck would have it, my favorite ointment was on sale. I asked my wife, Donna, if she would go buy some. She told me she would prefer not to. She has always seemed reluctant to shop there, and I have never understood why. It is one of my favorite stores. It is teeming with interesting items: saddles, bridles, animal feeds, and every other imaginable thing, and some a person wouldn’t imagine.
But I went ahead and made time in my schedule for the necessary stop. When I arrived at the aisle where the salve should be, I found the ad size was sold out. I made my way to the front of the store and approached one of the checkout girls.
“I came to buy some salve that you had in your ad, but you appear to be out, and I was wondering if you could check and see if you have any more in the back.”
The girl nodded. “Sure. I’ll just call over the intercom for someone to help you. What is it called?”
The girl sat there, frozen in place, holding the intercom microphone in her hand. I figured she must need more information.
“I did see that you had the small size, as well as Udderly sMOOth, and Udder Butter. But I wanted the super size container of Bag Balm.”
Finally, the girl put the microphone down and glared at me. “You’re kidding me about those names, aren’t you? You just wanted to see if I would make a fool of myself saying them over the intercom!”
“Of course not. I really need the Bag Balm.”
“Right!” she said sarcastically. “Let me call someone to help you.”
She picked up the radio and informed someone that he was needed at the front. A few seconds later a young man appeared. The girl turned to me and spoke as if she was daring me to say it again. “Why don’t you tell John what you need.”
I repeated my request, and John simply answered, “I’ll check in the shipment that came in today.” As he left, the young lady stared after him.
I moved aside as she helped a few other customers, and soon John was back.
“I couldn’t remember if you said you wanted the Bag Balm, the Udderly sMOOth, or the Udder Butter, so I brought one of each.”
He plopped them on the checkout stand, and the checkout girl stared with wide eyes. She reached for one and held it in two fingers like it was toxic. “You mean those are their actual names?”
John frowned slightly. “You’re new here, aren’t you?”
The girl nodded, and John just sighed as he spoke. “You’ll get used to it.”
I had finally checked out and was turning to leave when an old cowboy approached the checkout stand and spoke to the same girl. “I came in here to get my usual anti-itch powder, and either you’re out or you moved it. I really hate it when you move things around in your store!”
“I can have someone see if they can find it for you,” the young lady assured him, reaching for the intercom mic. “Just tell me what it’s called.”
“It’s called Monkey Butt Powder.”
As I turned back to look at the young lady, she was frozen in place, and I swear I heard a slight whimper.
That was the first time I considered that there might be a good reason Donna doesn’t like to shop at the Farm and Ranch store for me.
(Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit his website at http://ww.darishoward.com)