So it’s a Sunday night and I’m driving into Hamilton to do my radio show. Along the route I had this nagging feeling that I forgot something. I pulled into the station parking lot and naturally I remembered at that very moment. I had forgotten to bring my reading glasses.
I wasn’t about to drive back to Stoney Creek so I went to a nearby strip mall. Strike up the Oom-Pah Band because this is when my evening turned into a circus.
I went into a popular coffee shop and stood in line. I had a weird feeling and when I turned around I noticed all eyes were upon me. Was my hair messed up? Was my zipper down? Did I forget to wear pants too? As quickly as the `Children of the Corn’ had focused upon me they returned to their silent worlds. No pun intended but they all had that glazed donut look in their eyes. I felt like a stranger who just walked into town in an old black and white western movie. Even the staff seemed like zombies as they poured my small java and presented me with a stale apple fritter. Perhaps their lives were so tedious that anyone striding in with a purpose must be an alien.
I hastened outside still trying to shake off the willies when I was approached by a man who must have had fond memories of owning natural teeth. He half-smiled, coughed and raised an eyebrow with his hand out. “Got fifty bucks?” he asked. My own eyebrows nearly popped off my skull. “Fifty bucks?” I replied incredulously, “No! Get the hell away from me!” and marched towards my car. The greedy panhandler glared after me like I was cheap. Even the customers in the coffee shop gave me a disapproving glance. What the hell is wrong with these people?
It gets weirder yet. I scarfed back my hockey puck fritter and coffee and then strolled into the pharmacy. I was the only person in the store. I walked the aisles trying to locate the reading glasses but couldn’t find them. I went to the apothecary and asked him where the reading glasses were located. He frowned and said something in a language I was not familiar with. Like a moron I used pantomime to explain what I needed. It worked because he retorted that he didn’t have any reading glasses. “Really?” I asked in disbelief. He confidently shook his head and said pharmacies don’t carry reading glasses. I knew this was erroneous but for all I knew this guy was the leader of the strip mall corn people and quietly exited.
No word of a lie when I walked outside a small man stood there peering at me with his hands on his hips. He looked like he fell off a charm bracelet. I smiled politely and started for my car. Hearing footsteps, I pivoted to discover the man following me. I stopped and barked, “I haven’t got fifty bucks! What’s your problem?” The man remained stone-faced and waited. I may be wrong but this mutant might have used mental telepathy because when I looked past his shoulder I saw a grocery store. I bet they have reading glasses in there I ruminated.
I strolled into the vittles outlet and the man followed me but didn’t go in. I could see him outside gaping at me. I ignored him and suddenly lo and behold there was a plethora of reading glasses. I mused whether or not the pharmacist knew why his store was empty but more importantly, based upon the strip mall clientele, who would need reading glasses? I chose a cool pair, tried them on and decided to make the purchase.
I waited in line at the `eight items or less’ lane along with ten other corn people before me. As mutant man gawked at me from outside I finally made it to the cashier. The young lad grinned, grunted and merely pointed at my head. Good Lord! Am I that grotesque to these banjo pickers? I promptly realized what the Neanderthal teen was talking about. The protective plastic sleeves for the glasses were stuck behind each of my ears. Feeling flushed, I quickly removed the tubular coverings as the other corn customers simply goggled with the identical faraway eyes of the coffee shop corn people.
Apace, I exited where mutant man followed me to my car. I climbed in, turned over the engine and drove off watching the rear-view mirror as the reticent rube rubbernecked after me.
Returning to the radio station it occurred to me that there are some parts of `The Hammer’ that are better left untouched. Sleep tight.
Ben Guyatt is a stand-up comedian and a published author- visit www.amazon.com. He also hosts The Ben Guyatt Show every Sunday at 9 pm on AM 900 CHML.