Last night I went to Duane Reade to get contact lens solution and, generously, a diet Sprite for my brother (who is also my roommate). The person in front of me in line somehow managed to make a request that required the only cashier on duty to disappear for what seemed like an eternity. While I waited, I picked up a box of orange Tic Tacs. I figured, okay, if each of these has half a calorie, then even if I eat the whole box right here and now I should be okay. So I did.
Then, when the cashier had returned after her eternity away, and after the person in front of me had made three or four more requests that, while annoyingly time-consuming, didn’t require the cashier’s further disappearance, I stepped up to the register and presented my contact solution, my diet Sprite, and my empty box of orange Tic Tacs.
She rang up the contact solution and the diet Sprite. Then she got to the empty Tic Tac box and stopped cold. She looked at me as one might look at a person one suspects of being a dangerous lunatic and asked, “What is this?”
“It’s a box of Tic Tacs,” I said. “I got hungry waiting for you to come back so I ate them all.”
It was as if I had confessed to eating my family.
“You’re not supposed to eat these all at once! You’re supposed to eat them two or three at a time!”
I was momentarily thrown off balance, but I quickly recovered my equilibrium.
“I did. I ate two. Then I ate three. Then I ate two more. Then I ate three more.”
She expelled her breath in disgust, rang up the Tic Tacs, took my money, gave my change, handed me my receipt, and stapled my bag shut, all without saying another word.
The Rite Aid is a block further away but maybe it’s worth it.