So there I was, no shit. Standing in the express lane at Wal-Mart. After $250 worth of groceries (read: Ingredients for all the mandatory Christmas crap I am planning on making tomorrow, none of which includes turkey or ham or really anything except cookies and cookies and chocolate things), I noticed that I had forgotten the parchment paper.

And being the lazy piece of dog shit that I am, refusing to wash any dishes that I can get away with not washing by covering with parchment paper that is going to wind up in a landfill somewhere until my great-great-great-grandchildren finally make a time machine ala Doc Brown that runs on banana peels and parchment paper, there was no way I was leaving that store without my contribution to the human destruction of the planet, which means parchment paper. So, there I was. No shit. Standing in the express Lane at Wal— wait. I already said that. Where was I? Oh right. The guy.

So there was this guy standing in front of me in line. Looked to be… hmm… maybe early 60s? And he’s standing there with an entire display box full of fruitcakes. With two 20 oz bottles of Lipton Iced Tea added to the mix, it was $45 dollars’ worth of fruitcakes. He looked at me with a knowing grin, rolled his eyes at the rabid throngs of people around us, and said “Merry Christmas, “ which was dripping with so much sarcasm I could have swam in it.

I returned the sentiment, giggling to replace the words I really wanted to say, which were “I know exactly what you mean. I think both of us ought to go completely Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on all these mother fuckers. You with me?”

He continued. “I’m ready for Christmas now. I got my fruitcakes. That’s all I want. Bring on the madness!”

I stood and smiled for a moment. And then replied, “Do you really eat that?”

“Well, of course! Why do you ask?” He says.

“Oh, well, you know. Fruitcake seems to be a ‘love it or hate it’ kind of thing, leaning more towards the ‘hate it’ side. I’ve never known anyone who actually eats it.” Says me.

He goes on to explain that it is definitely an acquired taste, and you absolutely MUST get the right brand.

And then I reply by admitting that I have actually never tried fruitcake.

Well, clearly that just would not do. Upon relinquishing his $45 and gathering his things, he slips a fruitcake into my bag. Turns and winks at me, smiles, and off he went.

But not before I took an oath. Gave my word. Bound for eternity by the “Friendship In Line At The Grocery Store” bylaws. I promised I would try it.