Al Batt: I found myself surrounded by coupons

Published 8:56 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tales From Exit 22 by Al Batt

I hadn’t had the wrapper off the day for long.

The fellow sitting next to me on the Sardine Airlines (Motto: “If you want room to change your mind, step outside”) Flight 101 to Atlanta asked, “If you don’t mind me asking?”

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I knew what he was going to ask. It’d be one of two questions. “Would you mind changing seats with me? I’m not comfortable in the middle seat.” or “How much did you pay for your seat?”

He hit me with the latter.

I also knew that no matter what I answered, he’d have gotten his ticket for a lower price. If I’d said that I didn’t pay a cent for it, he’d have claimed that the airline paid him to fly.

I told him that I’d forgotten and employed my pillow to lean against the window and try to fall asleep before he asked me to change seats.

There once was a fellow from near Bath, Minnesota who was all gussied up and running late for church. He had a Buick, only a week old, and he’d put the pedal to the floor. The speedometer had hit 90 miles per hour when he spotted the cherries and berries in his rearview mirror. A police car!

It was against his religion to get a speeding ticket.

He pulled over. His car made sounds as if it were breathing sighs of relief.

The policeman approached the driver’s door.

“Is there a problem, officer?” asked the driver.

The policeman said, “Sir, you were driving at an excessive speed. May I see your driver’s license?”

The driver responded, “I don’t have one. It’s been revoked.”

The policeman wasn’t surprised. “I see. May I see your vehicle registration papers?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”

The policeman asked, “Why not?”

“I stole this car.”

“Open the glove box,” said the law officer.

“I don’t want to. There is a loaded pistol in it.”

The officer used his radio to call for backup. Within minutes, another police car showed up. A senior officer, with gun drawn, slowly approached the Buick.

The senior officer said, “Sir, step out of the vehicle!”

The man stepped out of his vehicle. “Is there a problem, sir?”

“One of my officers told me that you were driving a stolen car without a license and have a gun in the car.”

“Really? If you’ll allow me to open my wallet, I’ll show you my driver’s license.”

He showed the policeman a valid license.

“And here are my current registration papers.”

“Everything looks to be in order. Please open your glove box.”

The driver did as asked. There was no pistol.

The officer is understandably stunned, “I’m sorry to have put you through all of this, but the officer who stopped you had accused you of all these things.”

The driver replied, “I’ll bet that liar told you that I was speeding, too!”

We don’t like paying full price. We want deals. Even on speeding tickets.

My neighbor Crandall almost ate at a restaurant once for which he had no coupons. He keeps a piggy bank full of coupons.

I was on a big shopping trip. The thing I do best in a supermarket is stay by the shopping cart. Grabbing a basket instead of a cart makes me feel unconstrained by responsibilities of any kind, so I picked up three items. The “Ten items or less” checkout lane wasn’t open. I looked for a “Three items or fewer” lane but it apparently doesn’t exist. I’d have been willing to return two of my items to their shelves in order to join the line to the “One item or fewer” lane. I went with Plan B. I should always go with Plan B first. It’d save me a lot of time. I was forced to join a long, meandering line of cart-pushing shoppers.

The lady ahead of me in line at this grocery store had a pouch holding a plethora of coupons, only about half of which had expired.

I understand the need to save money, but it awoke the impatient warrior within the man behind me in line. His flabber had been gasted. His weapon of choice was a long and deep sigh accompanied by some mumbling.

I’m not cursed by perfection, but I try not to treat each day as though I had a spare in my pocket. I cherish each moment.

I didn’t moan about the slight delay. I found it entertaining.

It was better than having a coupon.

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Saturday.