A while back, I stopped into Walmart to buy some windshield washer fluid.
Looking for a short line, I spotted a cashier with a nametag which said “MARGE”. She reminded me a little of Maw Joad from The Grapes of Wrath.
She was just completing a transaction with a female customer. As she counted out a hundred dollars and gave it to the lady, I spoke up: “I wish someone would give me a hundred dollars.”
She responded: “Sorry I just gave her my last hundred.”
“ But Marge, I thought we were friends.” I offered in response.
“We WERE– until you asked me for money.”
“Yes, I suppose that’s a good way to lose a friend.” I said in a slightly dejected manner.
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be!” she shot back.
“Those old adages have a lot of wisdom to them.” I said as I nodded sympathetically.
She wasn’t looking at me now….she was on a roll:
“I wish my children would listen to me when I give them advice…”.
“How many children do you have, Marge?, I inquired discretely.
“Four. All in their 40’s. They only call me when they have a problem….”
“Well, at least they call you.” I offered sympathetically.
“The last call I got was my daughter calling me at 10 o’clock at night, asking me how to change the guts in her flush.”
I was getting into deep water here.
“Excuse me?” I said although I was afraid of what she might tell me….thinking it might have something to do with a medical problem.
“She wanted to know how to change the guts in her flush!” she repeated as if I were slightly deaf.
“Oh…..” I said, while pretending to understand.
imitating her daughter’s voice, she said, “You want me to stick my hand where….?”
I was relieved to realize that she was only talking about a broken toilet.
“But that’s clean water back there,” I said.
Marge nodded once and started taking items from the next customer.
“Nice talking with you, Marge,” I said as I turned toward the door.