The fraud in the frozen foods aisle

One Saturday I got a sudden and mysterious knot on my knee. It was swollen, but X-rays showed no damage, and the doctor concluded it would probably heal itself. As a precaution, she advised me to pick up some extra-strength pain reliever.

We all went to the store together on the way home from the doctor. I was feeling pretty good, so I suggested we pick up our groceries while we were there. My wife thought that was a fine idea and immediately steered me toward the bay of motorized carts for disabled shoppers.

I attempted to persuade her this mode of transportation was unnecessary, but you know how a wife always thinks her husband is just trying to be manly in public, because a wife thinks her husband perceives himself always with a large S on his chest and a blue cape on his back? It was like that.

She’s awfully insistent when she is trying to save me from myself. She says stuff like: “Oh, you’re embarrassed to ride that? How will you feel when everybody sees you fall over in the middle of the store?”

She won – not because her position was strong, but because she can tolerate a louder argument in public.

Somehow, my wife failed to take pictures of my embarrassment. She must be slipping.

Walking toward the go-cart I limped more than medically necessary, in case any passersby wondered at my justification for commandeering Granny’s ride.

Once mounted, I experimented with positions to make my leg appear more busted. I even considered riding side-saddle to insinuate an inability to lift my leg over the front of the seat. I discarded this idea from fear my wife would loudly offer to bring me my corset and parasol.

I settled on keeping my leg rigidly straight, inviting onlookers to imagine a poor man who could not bend his knee. I also decided to ride out on my own, putting as much store between myself and my always-conspicuous family.

Riding my lonesome trail, I imaged all eyes on me, casting suspicion on my need for special accommodation. I passed a fellow traveler, a young lady, robust and healthy, in no way manifesting a requirement to ride the aisles, except for the crutch proudly displayed behind her handlebars.

Damn! If I only had a crutch, all these haters would be silenced!

The self-conscious grocery rider learns these carts make the beeping noise of a construction vehicle when backing. In a Saturday superstore, there are an alarming number of obstructions that force reversing.

I had almost become resigned to my trike when I saw him: a man older than me, with one less leg, striding toward me on one crutch. There is no condemnation quite like riding past an upstanding amputee.

My impulse was to get up from my bicycle basketful of groceries, and march out of the store. But this would prove how little I needed my mechanical advantage, so I bowed my head until the man passed.

I found my family; we bought our groceries; then I parked my vehicle and walked out of the store like the fraud I am.

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33 comments on “The fraud in the frozen foods aisle

  1. floatinggold says:

    That was a hilarious read. But I feel for your embarrassment. Actually, it’s good you felt that way, because it means you are a decent human being. I see those carts being abused quite often. By people who are too lazy to walk. And then those, who really need it have to wait until someone finishes their shopping and returns it.
    Maybe we can turn grocery stores into sushi restaurants. We just come in, sit down and grab whatever we need from a conveyor belt in front of us. No moving necessary.

  2. Lynn says:

    Picturing you with a parasol, lollygagging through the grocery aisles. Hope your knee is feeling better to spare you from further fraudulent activity!

  3. I side with your wife: if your knee was in pain, the cart was a good idea. Anyways, we’re always being told not to judge people in handicap parking spaces and wheel chairs, because not all handicaps are visible. I rode in one of those dumb things once when on crutches for bunion surgery. Yes, my crutches advertised my right to the ride (I needed it; I was in my 30’s and dyed the grey out of my hair). I hope your knee feels better soon!

  4. Gibber says:

    It’s a humbling experience eh? I’m often on crutches and sometimes need those scooters. One time mine stopped working in the middle of an isle. I could not get it going so more eyes on me. It turns out I wasn’t heavy enough to keep the thing going. Try and make sense of that?!

    I have Rheumatoid Disease and lupus so I’m in constant pain. I also have a handicapped parking pass. Sometimes when I don’t use my crutches it’s hard to park there lest people think I’m fine. I’ve heard of many who get yelled at because they look fine or don’t have a wheel chair or walking aid. Well a person can look fine but be horribly sick or in pain. We’re good at faking being well.

    It’s funny how worried we are about what other’s think isn’t it.

    I hope your knee is okay. That’s one of the ways that Rheumatoid presents. Sudden pain and or swelling out of nowhere for no apparent reason.

    A fact lest you care. Rheumatoid is actually not arthritis. It’s an autoimmune disease that can attack any and everything in the body including heart, lungs, brain ect. It known for attacking and derforming joints and that’s why people think it’s arthritis. It just causes arthritis.

    My hats off to your wife for getting you to use the scooter. My Hubby could have a leg falling off and he’d put up a fight that would well piss me off. He’s so damn stubborn. Why are men so stubborn when it comes to medical things. You guys like to wait until you’re almost dead to see a doc?

  5. Beth says:

    She couldn’t take your picture because you were shopping alone. My Dad used to take a motorized scooter then park it in the middle of the groceries & bring his stuff back to the cart. Centrally located. Miss you Scott.

  6. thegsandwich says:

    Hysterical. I only wish you had included a photo of you on the scooter. I tried to convince my husband to use one when he was on crutches with his busted Achilles, but he refused. What’s even sadder than someone in a scooter is a guy hobbling around on metal crutches. I swear he was looking for sympathy. He should’ve just sucked it up and gotten in the scooter.

  7. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh my goodness, again I am laughing SO hard!! You poor man! Your wife must have an iron fist if she got you to ride in that thingie. LOL I’m just picturing you scooting around in the store trying as you did to NOT know your family. Hehehehehehe ….. Hilarious read, Scott. Oops, sorry. I understand the embarrassment as well. BIG HUGS on that!

  8. heatherjo86 says:

    There’s no need to feel like a fraud. I’m sure it would be more of a hassle to get comfortable and operate one of those carts. I’m glad your loving wife suggested it. One day soon we won’t have to worry about getting sick (Isaiah 33:24; Revelation 21:3,4) until then I hope you heal well. Never feel bad about using the resources available to those in need.

  9. Just Joan says:

    LOL, everyone riding a store-supplied scooter is an amateur. That said, the chance of collisions, accidents, backing into people or running over their feet probably makes them more dangerous than just pushing a regular cart. Also, scooter riders can’t reach anything higher than about the third shelf, so they’re always wanting us able-bodied folks to grab them a box of MiniWheats or a jar of Ovaltine (what is Ovaltine anyway?) Hope you’re back on two legs soon, Snoozin! 🙂

    • The worst part is when you have to get off your scooter and stand up to reach something high. That certainly attracts attention. Especially in the liquor aisle. I’m not drinking anything I can reach from the scooter.

  10. GoofyEd says:

    I’m sure the story if funnier than the lump on your knee.

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