Let The Punishment Fit The Thoughtcrime

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:06 am

I stopped at the grocery store on my way back from an errand yesterday afternoon; I needed some penne for dinner—have I mentioned how much I love being able to eat pasta again? Anyway, while waiting in line I dropped my wallet. Using the handle of my cart for balance, I crouched down and picked it up. Moments later my cart have a little twitch. I looked down at the handle, and then up and to the right to identify the cource of the problem: in bending down to retrieve my wallet, I had inadvertantly shifted my cart. The front-right corner of the basket had turned until it was protruding into the work area of the adjacent cashier’s station. It was, in fact, jammed squarely into the cleft of her ass.

“Goodness, I’m sorry!” I said, extricating my cart from her rear. She made some sort of noncommittal conciliatory noise and went back to what she was doing.

This little mishap bothered me. It is likely to continue to bother me, on and off, until the day I die.

That’s just the kind of person I am. To this day I’m still reliving embarrassing moments that occurred in grade school.

In this case it’s not just the embarrassment; it’s the perceived sexual tone to the incident that is most vexing to me. My discomfiture is not helped by the fact that the checker in question was young and attractive. Please note: I am not suggesting that the checker felt herself to be the target of my unwelcome, shopping-cart-oriented advances. Only the most crass, pathetic, pea-brained Homo habilis could derive some sort of vicarious sexual thrill from this sort of exercise; such a person would be hard-pressed to exhibit the neurochemical activity needed to make it to the store under his own power. (Not that such people don’t exist, but they’re probably few and far between in our neighborhood.)

But even the remotest scintilla of a possibility that I might be mistaken for one of these personality-deficit males makes my teeth hurt, my soul shriek and my brain pivot axially in my skull.

This is hardly the first time this sort of thing has happened to me. Hell, it’s not even the first time this month. Just a couple of weeks ago I was in one of my favorite local coffee shops, which is also a small-time eatery. I asked the late-teens-early-twenties blonde behind the counter for a cup of drip. As she turned her back to me to fill my cup, I spied the cookies in their decorative display on the countertop and exclaimed, “Oh, my!

The temperature in the room instantly dropped about fifteen degrees. I wanted to travel through time and take it all back, or at least to put my outburst in context, but what was the use? Was I really going to try to explain to this person that I was not expressing appreciation for her taut young form, but was in fact vocalizing my carnal desire for peanut butter cookies? Just how long would I stand there, blushing furiously, trying to describe the spirit-crushing diet I was inflicting upon myself and my resulting 24/7 obsession with food, before throwing in the towel and slinking out of the store with my curly pink tail between my legs? So instead I tucked the incident away, to be replayed at random intervals accompanied by shudders and gritted teeth.

Sometimes I tell myself that my constant need to punish myself mentally for social transgressions in which I have not actually engaged makes me a better person—that I am, in a way, maintaining a constant vigil over my own baser instincts. Most of the time, however, I see this sort of behavior for what it doubtless is: a waste of time and energy.

Adding to the basic pointlessness of this exercise is the fact that, in all likelihood, the women in question put the incident out of their minds the instant it was over. It isn’t my intention to make light of inappropriate conduct by my fellow Y-chromosomers, but the ability to mediate and filter out potentially offensive or distressing sexually-oriented social telemetry is a facility that most women—and attractive women in particular—seem to develop at an early age. Probably to spare themselves a string of three-to-eights for voluntary manslaughter.

I suppose I can comfort myself with the thought that holding oneself overly responsible for the discomfort of your fellow human beings is better than not thinking about your role in it at all. In fact, upon further reflection, I would say that is definitely the case. Perhaps in some small way I am making up for the mindless trespasses of others, restoring some sense of balance to the sociosexual inequities of modern society.

Or perhaps I need to check with Blue Cross to see what my co-pay would be for a therapist.

2 Responses to “Let The Punishment Fit The Thoughtcrime”

  1. Gavin Says:

    ” Perhaps in some small way I am making up for the mindless trespasses of others”
    And I thank you for covering for me!

  2. Uncle Andrew Says:

    ” Perhaps in some small way I am making up for the mindless trespasses of others”
    And I thank you for covering for me!

    Oh, you son of a bitch…. 😀

    Even if you were serious, I’d accept it, because you’re doing the being-the-good-parent thing for me. Only seems fair that I nurture your inner asshole for you in return.

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