When to fight the machine

It’s just before midnight. That’s when I do most of my shopping. I pick up a few things from the cleaning isle and then race over to the frozen meats section. I get what I need quickly and move on. I head over to pick up another case of Samuel Adams. I throw it in the basket and dash up to the shortest open checkout line I can find. It’s as though I’m asleep, thinking about different things that transpired earlier in the day when, to my bedazzling dismay, the unthinkable happens—I am carded for beer!

How do you prepare for something like that? What should I do? I’m taken aback by the request. Apparently, the deep-set eyes and aging skin on my chockablock face aren’t enough evidence of my age for her. While most people are flattered over the unwonted situation of being carded, I’m sure as Hell not. My days of being a wild kid, standing in line, waiting to be carded to get into a nightclub with a New York Mets cap on backwards are fucking over! I don’t want to relive them, and yet here I am, standing at the checkout counter, feeling like I’m nineteen again! I am standing there a little pissed off.

“Are you serious?” I ask. She tells me, “Yes. Wal-Mart has a new policy with alcohol purchases. We must ask to see everyone’s ID, regardless of age.” I tell her, “It may be policy, but you and I both know it is unnecessary.” “I know,” she replies, but she is not animated. There is a bothersome quality about her, a dronish quality, as she enforces the worthless policy. Now I am a little more peeved. For starters, I am up against a system with a policy that no longer serves the purpose it was designed to serve, but instead, just frustrates the Hell out of people, and now I see that I am facing an imbecilic imp of a human being who doesn’t see the sense in just hitting the green little button that allows for the purchase and being done with the matter.

I could see over the transaction machine. There was no feature requiring the cashier to enter an exact date of birth of the customer, only a simple push of a button was required! But no! I get an idiot, a mindless automaton, an almost slobbering simpleton of an individual who spends precious seconds of her pea-brained, ugly-lipped life asking me to shuffle through my pocket and pull out my ID. It’s not that I mind; I don’t. It’s the principle of the thing, the fact that I feel guilty if I play right into a request of a moron’s mindless service to a defective system. I can’t let it pass. I’m too damned angry, so I ask some more questions.

“Mam, how old do you think I am?” She replies: “40.” “Well, close. I’m 33, but I do look older, don’t I?” Then I ask her, “Is there any way in Hell I am under 21, any possibility at all?” “No,” she tells me, but I am still too steamed to stop: “Well, if you know I’m not 21 or under, then why would you need to ask to see my ID?” Her reply: “Those are the rules.” Sometimes being pissed off makes you feel antsy and wanting to stir the pot a little. On I went.

“Really? So no matter how old someone is, even if you know they are well above the drinking age, you are still going to card them?” “Yes.” She unemotionally tells me. “So if a 90-year-old lady, with skin that resembles fried chicken, pushing around a walker came to the store and wanted to buy alcohol, you’d have to card her?” Again, she tells me, “Yes.” “Well, what if I pulled out my ID and it said I was born in 2004, but looking at me and comparing it to the picture on the card, you would know that to be a typo, yes?” Another bland affirmation is given: “Yes,” “Would you then have any more doubts as to my age as if I had not shown you my ID at all?” “No,” she says. “How about your mother? Must she be carded?” “Yes,” I am told. Looking to see frustration on that old, haggard, partially blank mug of hers, I find very little, if any reaction at all.

Now with a sharper tone I ask her, “So when you see someone whom you know by looking at that person is well old enough to buy beer, why not just hit that green little button that acknowledges the purchaser is of legal age?” She tells me, “I am just keeping the rules. You are holding up the line.” Ah, finally, an emotional response! My response is: “No, my dear, YOU are holding up the line by not having the horse sense to know to push a freaking little button and be done with the matter! A smart cashier would have.” I observe her pissed little frown, show her my ID, get my stuff, and then leave. I feel better but I am still pissed off from this encounter with a practically worthless human being—one who refuses to reason.

This was out of character for me. I could have just pulled out my driver’s license and been a good little boy, like all the other straight-faced, basket-pushing, foot-tappers waiting in line. I would have in any other circumstance. Some would say I should have here, but I’m proud of what I did. If anything, I wasn’t hard enough on the old, apron-wearing, bingo-playing, Chapstick-needing bitch. Perhaps I should have made a more lasting impression with a few cutting personal stabs to help her learn from the experience, but I made at least some impression, and that was enough for me.

I’ve never been one for protestations or dickheadedness, but sometimes noblesse numbskull-ity demands we fight the machinations of bureaucracies and judicial baboons. The path of least resistance is usually the best one to travel, but mindless complacency to accommodate absurdity is never justified. And there is such a thing as too easy.

Every normal guy ever raised in a public school understands. You are facing a bully twice your size at recess, but instead of looking cool and fighting, you back off, saying, “I’m above fighting,” or “I’m man enough to walk away,” when in reality, you’re scared out of your wits. You have before you a nice way to avoid an embarrassing ass-pounding and you take it. That wasn’t being noble; that was being scared (and smart!).

In the store, I could have done the nice thing, the expected thing, the easy thing. I could have been a good Rosa Parks and stood up when asked to do so, but that wasn’t the right call. I would not have been kind and decent to comply with a smile on my face, only a coward who feared fighting the machine. So I said what I said, and I knew I did the right thing. Call it petty if you want, but I will call it a battle well fought.

(JH)

19 comments:

  1. Dang dude,
    You are one bitter person. Why would you get so upset about being carded even if you are 33 years old. The lady was just doing her job. She was doing what she was told to do and continued to show that integrity even when she could have let your whiney, bitter butt pass.

    I guess you feel you have a right to the beer anyway since you probably spent such a long part of your life avoiding it because somehow you decided that the Bible said that drinking was wrong, even though it does not say that at all. I guess you, along with all of your other ex-Christian friends, decided that since God, in whom you don't believe in anymore, yet He is still your scapegoat, deceived you into believing He was real. And you bought it. You jumped right into ministry and decided that it was the only thing that matters. Then, when you got deep into your so-called Christianity, that resembles nothing like the teachings of Jesus nor the description of the faith Paul so zealously supported, you started defining Christianity by the other poor souls who were just as confused as you but were afraid to say anything.

    And now, here you are. Bitter, and free to do all the things that you told yourself you couldn't do, like gamble. Would someone please tell me what verse says gambling is wrong! Now you feel you have to make up for your lost time. Now you feel that God, who doesn't exist, owes you something. You have as much faith in God as you always claimed to have, you just feel He owes you something now. Probably answers, lost Sundays, cusswords, beer, and cynicism.

    I am so frustrated at all you ex-Christians because you all claim to not be bitter, but you are. It comes out in everyone of your blogs and rants and derogatory statements. Why are you so frustrated at the people who believe and act the way you used to?

    Also, you people describe your Christianity and it is nothing like what scripture says. You used to name it an claim it, look for miracles in every little thing, feel that God micromanages every aspect of your life, and think like, love, and be nice are all the same thing. Hardly any of you actually take time to study Hebrew or Greek to have a full understanding of the language or the historical meaning of the text. Instead, you wrap it neatly into a western mindset and when you get stuck with trying to understand the creation story and having no understanding of the Hebrew mindset or original language, you shut down, get mad at God, go through the loss of an identity, deny God, even though you are mad at Him, and then cynically criticize everyone else who have certain convictions, all the while feeling like you just wasted half your life.

    Well, I am sure you left a wonderful impact on the cashier and I am sure she will remember the "battle well fought" because you did the "right thing."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah!

    Another slithering simpleton who supports inane rulekeeping without purpose.

    Much like the bible, you know nothing about me or atheists. Everything you have said here is false, but I bet you spent more than 15 minutes editing this post, thinking you had me all figured out. I'm glad I wasted those moments of your life.

    You are a bafoon, a fraud, and a moron.

    I'm glad we disagree. It means I'm that much further above you, you slime.

    (JH)

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  3. Your right, I am a fraud.

    I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

    I just can't handle maybe these thoughts that I have thought to be true for most of my life could be wrong. I mean, the feelings. I feel like such a fool.

    I am in such turmoil right now. I guess I just have to really sit down and figure out what I believe.

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  4. "much like the bible, you know nothing about me or atheists"??? this was your reply to 'anonymous' who dared to question you. he/she didn't come CLOSE to denigrating you as you did that cashier. you knew NOTHING about that cashier, her life, nor why she did what she did...NOTHING...but she carded you and that gave you the right to call her: drone, imbecilic imp, idiot, mindless automaton, an almost slobbering simpleton, pea-brained, ugly-lipped, moron, mindless (twice), unemotional, haggard, with a partially blank mug, practically worthless human being, one who refuses to reason, old, apron-wearing, bingo-playing, Chapstick-needing bitch! Wow! and you deduced all of that in just the few minutes it took her to card you? Again, let me say, WOW! What peace! What glory! What a wonderful way to live...ahhhhh...the life of a free-thinker! We should all be so blissfully happy, so we could all live in unity with our fellow man.
    Petty? That doesn't come close! Pathetic is more like it; and really, very sad. You shame all of us (humans). And because 'anonymous' disagrees with you...you are so much more above him/her? what arrogance! or should i say, what an inferiority complex. it SEEMS (no, i don't know you, so i don't KNOW. i'm saying it SEEMS) that the only way you can feel good about yourself these days is to by convincing yourself that you are "above" the rest of us...because we don't agree with everything you say/think/beleive, because we don't 'fight the machine' the way YOU think we should, because we don't fit YOUR mold. come on...you want to be a freethinker? leave the rest of us alone. do your thing..and let us do ours.

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  5. Note to self: don't allow any more anonymous comments on this blog because they are all made by pussies and dim bulbs.

    (JH)

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  6. as expected...more name calling. you say that the greatest morality is to do right for right's sake...what you did in that store was right? and what you wrote about that cashier was right? and your name calling is right? you say you are more enlightened and more fulfilled now...THIS is the result of being more enlightened and fulfilled? you say you are one small link in the chain and all you can do is your small part to make your fellow links feel that much happier and that much more loved? THIS is the result of YOU being 'happier' and 'more loved'? THESE are your 'standards of peace and happiness'? your aim is to live life with self-honesty and intellectual dignity? THIS is self-honesty? THIS is intellectual dignity? THIS is enlightenment? "life is about...no purpose at all except the one we make for ourselves"? what IS your purpose, Joe? to let anyone who does not think like you, or fight the machine with YOUR methods, know how inferior they are to you? again..i admit i don't "know" you, but i personally do not see these things (peace, happiness, love) in your writings...i see loathing and disgust for anyone who dares to question you or doesn't agree with you. i see much unhappiness and very little of the peace you speak of. i don't loathe you..i don't despise you..and i know that you could care less about any of that...in fact, i'm guessing that you are probably feeling even MORE superior to me. so be it. you are 'free to think' whatever you like, freethinker...and so are the rest of us who don't agree with you or who choose to act differently from you.

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  7. OK, OK, I'll take the time to explain it to you! Gees!

    "as expected...more name calling."

    I thought maybe I would get you to reread my article and maybe think a little bit harder, but I guess that was lost on you.

    you say that the greatest morality is to do right for right's sake...what you did in that store was right?

    Yes, it was.

    and what you wrote about that cashier was right?

    Yes, it was, but I don't expect you to understand if you don't understand sensory description and frustration.

    and your name calling is right?

    Yes. You may not get it, but colorful descriptions make points.

    you say you are more enlightened and more fulfilled now...THIS is the result of being more enlightened and fulfilled? You say you are one small link in the chain and all you can do is your small part to make your fellow links feel that much happier and that much more loved? THIS is the result of YOU being 'happier' and 'more loved'? THESE are your 'standards of peace and happiness'? your aim is to live life with self-honesty and intellectual dignity? THIS is self-honesty? THIS is intellectual dignity? THIS is enlightenment?

    Yes, it is. You see, you apparently have the mentality of a resource class child, a half-retarded kid who throws a chair because people weren't "nice" to him. Enlightenment, wisdom, and solid thinking is not synonymous with constant kindness. It's about preserving principles. People who believe in enforcing rules just for rule's sake are idiots, drones, the reason for poor customer service and the minutia of beauracracies. But I don't expect you to understand that.

    "life is about...no purpose at all except the one we make for ourselves"? what IS your purpose, Joe? to let anyone who does not think like you, or fight the machine with YOUR methods, know how inferior they are to you?

    Yes, in part, I have made it my mission to deflate those who march to the beat of the idiot's drum. I despise office drones, as I despise those who take their side.

    again..i admit i don't "know" you, but i personally do not see these things (peace, happiness, love) in your writings...i see loathing and disgust for anyone who dares to question you or doesn't agree with you. i see much unhappiness and very little of the peace you speak of.

    Happiness, peace, and love are categorical terms. If you've read my other writings, you know they play a big part in them. But there's more to life than acting "peaceful," or "loving." These terms are hijacked by people who don't understand them. Happiness and peace are made amidst unrest, hate, and misery. My writings focus on them because they ARE life. They are the fabric of being. I don't care if someone disagrees, but some disagreements are from manifest stupidity. I loathe and am disgusted by stupidity and the mindless drone mentality in every way, and sometimes mockery is the best way to attack a position.

    i don't loathe you..i don't despise you..and i know that you could care less about any of that...in fact, i'm guessing that you are probably feeling even MORE superior to me.

    Drop the false humility; you are proud of yourself, thinking you are scoring points for yourself because of your supposed "humility" in admitting that you don't think you are superior to me, which makes you just as bad as you say I am. And what the hell does "superior" mean anyway? In what sense would I consider myself "superior"? I consider you a dullard, that's for sure, but me, superior? That is a subject-defined word. It has no real meaning generally applied, but it is used that way by jealous, simple minds with inferiority complexes.

    so be it. you are 'free to think' whatever you like, freethinker...and so are the rest of us who don't agree with you or who choose to act differently from you.

    Yes, and I have the right to scorn your pointless, lock-step conformism.

    (JH)

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  8. you expected that cashier to risk her job so that you could rage against the machine?

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  9. Whoa! Take it easy on the Chapstick users!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What I would have done is left the beer right there on the counter and say, "Well I'll just buy my beer at where I know people do not card people who obviously look over 21, and let the clerk have to send the beer back to the cooler.

    Another fustrating thing is when you hand them a bill and they use a counterfeit pen to check your bills.

    Then I think one should ask to borrow the same pen to check the change bills that they give you in return to make sure the bills they give you back are not counterfeit.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You, are a fucking dickhead. You sound to me like a pathetic, desperate little man who was bullied at school, has a dead end job and has some kind of twisted desire to feel powerful by trying to intimidate a shop worker.

    The girl is a credit to herself and wal-mart and displayed in truly admirable terms how one should behave when faced with what can only be described as an antagonistic wanker.

    and most ironically, you didnt even fight the machine, you just made yourself look like a twat, and no frther action was taken because of your little outburst.

    2 words: fucking fail

    ReplyDelete
  12. H*D*G*R said...

    "You, are a fucking dickhead. You sound to me like a pathetic, desperate little man who was bullied at school, has a dead end job and has some kind of twisted desire to feel powerful by trying to intimidate a shop worker."

    My reply...

    Aw, looky what we have here!

    It's another shit-for-brains, drone-supporter! Welcome, drone cocksucker!

    You're needed in cubicle two. One of the drones is stuck by an inane rule you so courageously support.

    Toodles, dickwad!

    (JH)

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  13. "My reply...

    Aw, looky what we have here!

    It's another shit-for-brains, drone-supporter! Welcome, drone cocksucker!

    You're needed in cubicle two. One of the drones is stuck by an inane rule you so courageously support.

    Toodles, dickwad!

    (JH)"

    fucking, no.
    did you even read any of what my comment actually said? no way do i support any of the shit they enforce, i just dont think its right that you manifest your own anger at your inadequacies at a person who is just doing a job.

    and "shit-for-brains" hmm... maybe when you stop shitting out of your mouth the world will become a whole lot better.

    ReplyDelete
  14. YOU said...

    "fucking, no.
    did you even read any of what my comment actually said? no way do i support any of the shit they enforce, i just dont think its right that you manifest your own anger at your inadequacies at a person who is just doing a job.

    and "shit-for-brains" hmm... maybe when you stop shitting out of your mouth the world will become a whole lot better.

    MY reply...

    But you don't oppose dron-ism if you side with some mindless employee "who is just doing a job."

    That's what all drones say, shitcake. That makes you just as much of a dick-sucking drone as anyone else, doesn't it, cocksucker?

    People don't need to take a stand because, after all, someone else told them to do it, right?

    You pathetic numb-nuts!

    (JH)

    P.S. Learn to formulate clear and articulate sentences, shit-eater.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your story reminds me of the end of the movie "Meet the parents", where no-one is on the flight, and Ben Stiller has to wait for his row to be called. Maybe the cashier was not a person at all, but in actual fact a robot (ala I Robot) and she cannot break any of the rules. You should have asked her for her ID to ensure she is old enough to have a job!

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  16. Jacques said...

    "You should have asked her for her ID to ensure she is old enough to have a job!"

    My reply...

    Touche, Jacques! Touche!

    (JH)

    ReplyDelete
  17. dude you are a bitch. Its standard procedure, she could get fired if caught not carding you jerk. so suck it up fag boy.

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  18. dude you are a bitch. Its standard procedure, she could get fired if caught not carding you jerk. so suck it up fag boy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fuck of, AKON...you dime-a-dozen sell-out fucktard who kisses ass and will do anything to further society's rank stupidity.

    (JH)

    ReplyDelete

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