We had Marie Callendar Chicken Pot Pies on special last week at Publix 420 here in bucolic New Port Richey FL (I always tell people that NPR was named for Lionel’s brother, a prominent local proctologist), where I’m employed part-time as a “Front Service Clerk” (don’t even think about it)…I only work part-time so that my job doesn’t interfere with my much more important duties and responsibilities as the Captain and Master of the R U Kidding.

“Front Service Clerk” is Publix’ corporate jargon for a grocery bagger…200 pounds of title for a 27 pound job. “Bagging”, ladies and gentlemen, which I assume covers most of you, is not rocket surgery. (?) Heavy shit on the bottom, don’t mix the hot with the cold, keep the chemicals away from the grocery items, handle the eggs and the bread like, well, eggs and bread, and don’t bring just one cart in when you go back in the store after helping someone to their car. (Yes, sadly, it’s true…some of our high-school age “baggers” are apparently intending to study to be rocket surgeons.)

So I said to Maureen, one of our cashiers and the sweetest lady forever, as she slid several boxes of the MCall CPPs down the chute to me, where I was standing, waiting with bated breath and open bag, “Hey, look at that, Mo, three of my favorite things.” (Comments like these are made sotto voce and always when the customer is still down at the other end…I’m not THAT stupid.) (“Sotto voce”, you will recall, is Latin for “What, are you kidding me here?”)

What made the whole thing so funny was the split second, nano second really, that it took for Mo to process what I said and get it, her face momentarily blank as her brain made the intuitive leap…she told me the next day that she had recounted the story to her daughter later that evening and they got all silly.

(Okay…”chicken”…”pot”…”pie”. Thank you.)

“The Godfather” debuted in 1972; I was 21 at the time, with little experience with pastries from Italy, so it was a number of years later when I finally realized that “Leave the gun, grab the cannoli” was not some kind of attempt at off-color Italian humor by Clemenza. This has no relevance to anything herein, but I wanted to mention it.

What I really wanted to talk about today is the new CD that I have in the works…I have a tentative title, if you would like to hear it (yeah, fat chance you guys are getting off the hook). I’m thinking of calling it “66 Years Old and Still Playing Air Guitar”, which is at once all the material I have for my CD (someone told me you need songs as well) and a sad commentary on my life.

You know, pooberty snuck up on me when I was kid (okay, 27 is no kid, but hey, come on), and I keep thinking that maturity is going to surprise me the same way someday…that it hasn’t happened so far makes me suspect that maybe, just maybe, it never will.

Shit, doomed to forever to have the sense of humor of a high-school sophomore. (When I was in high-school, back just after the War Between the States, I seriously considered studying to be a rocket surgeon.)

I hate and resist the idea of “growing up” (growing old I’m busily doing already)…there are just too damn many things in life that are hysterical, and a lot of them involve chicken pot pies, Halloween pranks and farts. I’m not proud of this, but I still and always, absolutely am on the floor laughing hysterically at the campfire scene in “Blazing Saddles”. Long live Mel Brooks. 

Because Mr. Brooks and I seem to agree on what’s funny, and I have a feeling the chicken pot pie thing would give him a laugh…Mel is 91 and not likely to grow up soon.

A couple of days before we were visited by Hurricane Irma, when the 24/7 coverage of the storm’s approach and the sense of impending doom sent Floridians (wasn’t that a book from the Bible…Floridians 6, Dodgers 3, yes?) in droves to stores like ours, to buy up in mass quantities such items as bread, milk, canned goods, batteries, blow-up dolls, left-handed socket wrenches and Holy H2O, Batman, water by the truckload, I was walking into work and was confronted by a large, hand-written sign, just outside the south entrance, that could be seen from the parking lot…“SORRY, WE ARE OUT OF WATER”. (Irma was bringing plenty.)

So I suggested to the store manager, a really nice lady named Jennifer, who stands 5’5” in three inch heels and is pretty damn good at what she does, that we put a small notice down in the corner of the “no water” sign that said, “BUT WE HAVE PLENTY OF BEER”.

To her credit, she got a good laugh from that, but she still wouldn’t let me do it.

(Full disclosure here)…No, I have never lit one of my own farts on fire…but I’ve thought about it.

Love and frozen food,

Cap’n John

Post Script…I want to sponsor a periodic contest, you know, like “Ugliest Baby Pic Of The Month” or “Ugliest President Pic” (too easy) or “I Can Name That Politician In One Word” (“crook”) or whatever. So I need some input from you guys…help me out with some ideas for a contest. Something simple (hey, look who’s going administer it) and clean. (No porn.) The person that comes up with the best idea gets to win the first contest. Prizes TBD (right).

Post Post Script…the CPPs were a BOGO, by the way.

Post Toasties…the title is the opening line of the novel “Scaramouche” by Rafael Sabatini.

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