Once upon a time (as opposed to once upon no time), I was born. But that’s not what this story is about. Mostly because I don’t remember it. No, this story happened roughly 18 years afterward.
I had just graduated high school and needed funds with which to pay for gas, food, and other necessities such as Super Nintendo games and movies. Or maybe even CD’s. So I went out and got me one of them there jobs (that was my attempt to type in a southern accent, how’d I do y’all?). I ended up finding gainful employment pushing carts for my local Wal-Mart. Fun, right? It actually wasn’t as bad as you think it might be. I met a lot of cool people there and we had a great time and made an otherwise unrewarding job enjoyable.
Since these were the days before those neat motorized cart-pusher thingies, we had to physically push the carts. With our own hands and feet. I’m sure many jaws just dropped to the floor – or the desk for those of you too close to the monitor. I see you. Back off, would ya? – but that was how we rolled back then. It’s a pun, get it? Rolled? Ha ha! I kill me. Anyhow, they had certain rules in place that we had to follow for safety reasons.
First, we weren’t allowed to push more than 10 carts at a time. This was to prevent us from hurting ourselves through overexertion. None of us followed this rule, of course. That meant it would take us longer to get all of the carts off the lot. We would sometimes push 30 to 40 carts at a time with the other steering since it was impossible to steer that many carts at once.
We also had to use a bungee cord to hook the first few carts together. If you didn’t, the front cart inevitably ran away from the pack and would hit a parked car, run over an old woman, or seek asylum at Staples on the other side of the lot. So we used the bungee cords. Those actually came in handy when some imbecile walked out in front of me while I was pushing a row of carts in. I could just gently tug on the very last cart hooked to the bungee cord and I could stop the whole row without the carts in the front continuing their forward progress.
So one day I was pushing in a row of carts when a young woman and her child walked directly into my path. The woman had her small little girl in the child seat in a cart already. I grabbed the last cart that was hooked by the bungee cord to prevent the carts from hitting this
idiotic poor woman, thus preventing her own stupidity from winning her a Darwin Award.
Something went terribly wrong this time.
The bungee cord I was using was one that looked like a piece of multi-colored rope with a knot tied at the ends to keep the cord from slipping through the hole in the hook. That’s a horrible description of them, but the best I could do. Hopefully you understand. Actually, here’s a picture to help you understand.
Where was I? Oh, yes. I tugged on the last cart of the row hooked on the bungee cord. The carts stopped, but evidently this was too much pressure for my poor little bungee cord. The knot from one end was pulled through the hole and the cord went shooting forward. Where I do not know. I honestly never saw where it went and only pieced together what happened afterward.
Suddenly the young woman in front of me screamed. “OOOWWWWWWWWWW!!!” she howled. “Something just hit me!”
I regarded her. She was grasping her right elbow with her left hand and looking in all directions for the culprit of the atrocity which had just befallen her. She then looked at me in search of an explanation. I had to tell her. I broke down and told her the truth.
“Ma’am,” I told her sorrowfully, “I didn’t see anything.”