Archive for January, 2022

A Heinous Crime

Baby wanted a bagel. What baby wants; baby gets.

On Friday night, a random commercial popped up while Mrs. Large Man and I were watching ‘All About Eve’, an enjoyable old classic with Bette Davis. In this random commercial there was a random couple getting ready to chow down on some freshly toasted bagels. Mrs. Large Man exclaimed, “Mmmm…that looks good!”

I replied, “Daddy will get up early tomorrow and go to Panera and get you a fresh bagel.”

To which she squealed, “Yesssssss!” Maybe it wasn’t a squeal, but it was clearly an emotionally charged, positive response.

Hey man, I know it was gonna be a Saturday and all, but like Socrates said, “Happy wife; happy life”. Right?

So, I set my alarm for 10:00 with plans to get out early on a Saturday and buy “Baby” a fresh, plain bagel. (She likes plain or sourdough, Panera rarely has sourdough).

Saturday morning arrives. Teeth brushed & flossed. Canine fed and relieved. Jeep Cherokee fired up and rolling. Baby is gonna be happy!

And then this happened…

I pull into the left turn lane in front of Panera, and a white Toyota Corolla with Pennsylvania tags jumps in front of me and turns in ahead of me. Discourteous. A little unsafe. But it’s Saturday, it’s 3 degrees outside, Carlos Santana’s guitar is screaming about this frustrating love they both have for a ‘Black Magic Woman’, and this 62-year-old Large Man just ain’t in the mood for conflict.

Life is too short, right? We are all God’s children, and I chose to treat him as such. Whatever this guy’s hurry is about, I’m quite sure it is not about me. I made a choice not to wave finger gestures, I made a choice not to blow my horn, I made a conscious and definitive choice…not to get angry.

Interestingly though, despite his frantic and unsafe driving, we both parked at the same time, walked to the front door at about the same time, and I actually opened the door for the non-driving, rude, butthead, jerkface, child of God. Why not?
If we lead with love, then love will surely follow. (TLM)

I hop in line; Corolla goes straight to the coffee dispensers. I see that there are still plenty of plain bagels, a few sesame seed bagels, and just a handful of people in line in front of me…this is working out great. AND…I believe it’s working out great because I chose love, patience, understanding and tolerance over hate, impatience, and frustration…I am SO growing as a human being!! If I had only understood the importance of these principles when I was raising my children, or coaching youth league sports (so, your children too), I know this world would be a better place today.

Kindness, tolerance, and humanity…actually, grace. I’m feeling these things as I stand in line and I look back over at the coffee kiosk or whatever the hell you call it, and I smile as I watch Corolla fill up his very Large stainless-steel thermos. I notice that he’s filling up with French Roast, which seems a bit prissy to me for such an aggressive driver, but hey, I don’t really know about coffee, and… I’m still all about grace, love, tolerance, right? I just smile. Then he tops it off with some vanilla creamer, and he walks out the door.

French roast with vanilla creamerreally dainty… I think to myself as he walks out the door. I’m next in line and I drop the thoughts of Corolla for a moment and I start thinking about a palette cleansing pastry to follow up my dark toasted sesame seed bagel, and then it hits me:

Corolla got out of his car, opened up his thermos jug, dumped the contents on the sidewalk, I got to the door first…OPENED the door for him…he goes to the coffee stand (or whatever the hell you call it), pours what I can only assume is at least 20 ounces of French Roast with a floater of vanilla cream, and then…


…I don’t know, do you guys remember what I was thinking and saying? I know it had something to do with, “kindness and tolerance”, or “love and understanding”, I think here was some grace sprinkled in there too. It was some stupid shit that I didn’t really mean, basically patting myself on the back for not giving an asshole driver the finger because he was being an asshole driver, and now he is also a hardened, thieving, criminal.

“I can help who’s next!”, says the enthusiastic bagel boy behind the counter.

What do I do? I look out the window and I see Corolla opening his car door, and I’m trusting that he’s there because he left his wallet in the car and he’s grabbing it to come back in and pay for his coffee or swipe his Coffee Club card. No. He gets in the car, and he drives away.

He puts his (approximately) 6’ 2”, 200 lb. frame, wearing a white Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap, gray sweatpants and a white quarter-zip pullover, into his white Corolla with Pennsylvania tags…I remembered all the “particulars” in case the police question me, or I have to be part of manhunt, or a posse, or a well-regulated militia, or something.

So Corolla drives away with at least a $2.79 jug of coffee, and my belief in humanity…both of which he didn’t pay for. I step up to the counter, and I think about how I will report this heinous crime to the enthusiastic bagel boy, and it hits me like a ton of bricks (or a ton of pastry, whatever) …Am I an accessory to the crime? I opened the door. I watched him pour. I silently judged and belittled his flavor choices. I watched him leave. I said nothing…was my silence a crime as well?

Understandably so, my bagel boy had become a little impatient and had some questions of his own. His spoken words asked, “Do you know what you would like, sir? Can I help you?”

His eyes and his body language asked, “Do you really not have your order ready? Haven’t you been in line for like 10 minutes? Do you know the menu is the same as it always is? Do you know I’m only making like 8 bucks an hour? Why are you wasting everyone’s time? Did you just stand there like an idiot and watch that guy steal $2.79 worth of coffee? Do you contribute anything to society?

“Sir?”, he beckoned again.

“Oh! I’m sorry, young man. I lost my train of thought. Do yourself a favor, buddy, don’t get old!” I replied with a nervous chuckle as I snapped out of my trance.

In the interest of time and the bigger concerns of commerce, I kept the crime to myself. I moved on. Shamefully.

I placed my order. The baked goods were packaged with great care. Baby got her bagel. Corolla got away with his crime…and I will live with the shame and disappointment of not speaking up or taking action for the rest of my life…or at least until Tuesday.

And that’s what happened on Saturday morning, the 23rd day of 2022. Thanks for helping me unburden my soul. Thanks ALWAYS for reading!


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