When I go to the grocery store, I am immediately confronted with three questions:
1) How can I possibly ingest all of this goodness which surrounds me?
2) Will I be allowed to begin eating my items (hot dogs, grapes, brown sugar, etc.) before I check out?
3) Are they serious about the no shoes part of the “no shoes/no shirt” sign on the door?
On a previous occasion my body answered the first question. I was able to yell, “Cleanup on aisle 4” before my big explosion. That didn’t help. I was banned for a week. We ended up shopping at a convenience store some twenty miles up the road that didn’t recognize me or my tapeworm. About a minute ago, when I was two deep into my second pack of Oscar Meyer all beef turkey franks, the manager informed me thusly, “no.” Thwarted by my attempts to shop and eat, I decided to accept the Faustian bargain with management; for the opportunity to eat later I would shop now.
The Pop Tarts on aisle 3 were calling my name. I’m not afraid of many things. Occasionally the dark, a room with air conditioning, the moment you realize there is no toilet paper, and people who need to read the instructions for cooking a pop tart. The explanatory depths to which Kellogg has sunk to explain the Pop Tart packaging (the box and inner bag) means one thing: children today know nothing about the preparation of pre-packaged foods. Even without a toaster or microwave, somewhere embedded in our genetic code is the ability to heat this small piece of pastry for less than two minutes into something edible and nutritious. If we can make fire, we can make pop tarts. But pop tarts, like hot dogs, capers, tomatoes, fish, well-done steak, bread, beer, and guacamole are also able to be consumed raw. Sushi is better cooked.
Grocery cart in hand, my first right turn takes me down a short aisle with long consequences; wine. Bottle after bottle of spirituous red and mischief, each adorned with dazzling labels from Chile, South America, New Zealand, Earth, and Mars’ western highlands. The interplanetary reds are wonderful in the early summer. To compliment your dinner, angled from the alien species swimming beneath our coastal waters, I recommend the 1987 Martian Tharsis. The Thartian grapes are grown in the rich volcanic soil of the Tharsis plataeau which dominates most of Mars’ western hemisphere. Some compare the flavor to the wines of southern Italy but the Martian Tharsis 87 is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted on planet earth. Each label carries a quote from famed Martian vintner Marvin Trianium Nanoster, “We want to open up the uniqueness of our product to the whole Earth market. We’re tired of Mars being only known as the “red” planet.”
Because of the incredible distance involved in bringing the wine from Mars to Earth, it will take most of the money you’ve ever earned to buy one bottle. The boat, the house, the car, it’s all going to need to go for this single bottle of wine. Why do think I’m eating pop tarts? I am hoping to make some shoes from old car tires in the coming weeks. Even in paradise, the idea of being barefoot makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I hate the way my feet look. I’m also clearly uncomfortable with the way people point at me, laugh, and say, “he’s the guy who bought that space wine.”