In the checkout line at the grocery store, I stared as a gentleman unpacked a pile of 60+ packets of jello, 4 bags of green apples, 1 packet of sage and a Luna bar while the clerk slowly changed the register tape. The amount of jello confused me. Is there a sale? Has jello salad become popular again? Does the purchaser work at a nursing home? As the clerk began scanning one packet at a time, she loudly blurted out, “what you need with all this jello?” Yes! the world wants to know. In a muffled tone the man replied sheepishly, “um, jello shots.”
Duh. Of course jello shots! What else could it be but jello shots? I felt ashamed and old for not immediately knowing the obvious. I blame the sage for the confusion. Also, the dude looked well into his 70’s so party monster was not immediately evident. I assume a party is involved and not spiking of the neighborhood kid’s treat bags.
The clerk was confused, “Jello shots, what are those?” The old man was obviously uncomfortable as people from all sides turned to hear his answer. He muttered a reply so softly, I only heard “vodka” and “Halloween party.” He looked toward me, as if he wanted me to back him up on jello shots being a thing in the Halloween party realm.
I could have his back. I have served jello shots. I even dressed as a shot one year for Halloween. I also know what those apples are for having taken a baggie of soaked apple slices to a showing of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” declaring, “what can they get me for, open apple.”
Instead, I chose not to nod in support but to continue my blank stare. The same stare I use when out in public pretending I do not recognize someone I know because I look unpresentable or just don’t feel like human interaction. I excel at this stare.
Own your truth dude! You are super old but still young enough to have a party with alcohol served in tasty slimy squares. Be proud. Don’t expect some stranger who is clearly not invited to your party to help you out if you can’t be assertive about your future debauchery.
The clerk continued to shake her head in confusion as the man hurriedly packed up his items and rushed out the door. I was left with my boring chicken and Brussels sprouts, nostalgic for parties past but hopeful that I too will need a few cases of jello packets in about 20 years and not just because it is the only thing I can digest.