Sub Conscious

I stopped by the supermarket a little while ago, after spending the afternoon at my office. As I walked toward the entrance, an older fellow crouched near the door, and called, “Excuse me, sir?”

I knew what was coming. For someone as imposing as I should be, I seem to be a magnet for ancient mariners and folks looking for a handout. Apparently I project the aura of the soft touch.

This man looked significantly older than my 53 — gaunt, patches of gray in his hair, rheumy of eye. I had a little trouble understanding him at first — he was missing his upper incisors. I told him that I didn’t have any cash on me. But he didn’t stop talking. He showed me a ring with a US Army logo. “I’ll sell it to you,” he said.

I told him I couldn’t do that. He said, “People like to say ‘Thank you for your service.’ I just want a sandwich.”

“I can get you a sandwich,” I said. “I’ll be right back.” I went into the store, grabbed a frozen pizza, some mustard, and a ham-and-cheese sub from the deli counter. I paid for everything, and went back outside, where —

The guy was gone. I looked around the parking lot — no sign of him. I asked the guy gathering the carts if he had seen the guy who had been sitting there five minutes before. Nope. I checked the other entrance, and looked up the sidewalk at the other stores in the strip center. Nothing.

So that’s why I’m having a ham-and-cheese sub for dinner tonight. But wherever you are, Mister, I tried.

And thanks for your service.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Culture, Faith, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sub Conscious

  1. I have tried to do the same. To the same result.

  2. profmondo says:

    It was a good sandwich, though.

  3. I suspect he wasn’t a veteran at all, but got the ring at a second-hand store. And he wasn’t in need of a sandwich, but wanted the cash equivalent of his “valuable” ring for other purposes.

    • profmondo says:

      Certainly possible, but I’ll take comfort in trying to do the right thing foolishly. And as I said, the sandwich was good.

      • The Czar of Muscovy says:

        I get ya… but the prevalence of people pretending to be veterans (cashing in on our current and most welcome respect for our service people) is something scary. There’s even a bunch of videos (“Stolen Valor”) showing police and military members confronting these people. Indeed, some of the elaborate steps to which these folks go is amazing…just to get a military discount at a store or retail shop. And the arcane things that the real military members spot is impressive (“No real officer would have that insignia that far below the pocket line…”) as well.

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