That’s right. I’m an old bastard

At Walmart, this morning, I wheeled my cart up to check-out and noticed that, of the … oh …. fifteen? … eighteen? … checkout registers, exactly one was open. There’s a line, of course, because people have an odd habit, during daylight hours, of wanting to buy stuff at places where there’s stuff to be bought.

Well fuck that, I think. And I headed to the self-checkout registers. I did this despite the fact that I had … loose vegetables.

If you’re familiar with self-checkout registers, you know that the problem with loose vegetables is that the whole process of purchasing the damned things is dependent on some half-wit clerk entering the right product code so that, say, the big picture of carrots and the words “bulk carrots” that pop up when you hit the “Look Up Item” button on the touch screen send usable information to the computer when you jab ’em.

The right code was not entered for loose carrots.

Or for Gala apples.

And the twitchy device threw a fit and signaled “unexpected item in bagging area” when … I don’t know … the air pressure in the vicinity experienced a mild shift?

Then, of course, my age had to be verified because I had three bottles of surprisingly drinkable plonk that The Wine Group has been kind enough to bottle for Walmart at $2.97 a pop.

This means the the 19-year-old seat-warmer overseeing the robotic station had to motivate her shapeless derrier in my direction a total of four times. The fourth time she politely suggested that I might be happier standing in line at a manned register in the future. I don’t think I was being extra-sensitive in perceiving that politeness as the variety generally directed at whispy-haired folks who treat television remote controls with the fear and awe often assigned to downed fighter planes by Pacific cargo cultists.

18K of RAM, bitches!Would it have been worth my while to tell her that I still have my old Timex Sinclair 1000 (with the 16K add-on RAM module)? That I can hand-code HTML? That I once converted a 386 PC to a 486 by swapping out motherboards on my kitchen table to save myself the price of a new computer? So I know the problem ain’t with me, but with her pimply boyfriend, who’s been banging her in the freight bay instead of maintaining this piece of electronic crap.

Hell no. That would have confirmed me as an artifact in her mind. So I just smiled and completed my transaction.

Now get off my lawn, honey, before I hack your bank account. Yeah, I can guess your password (by the way, you misspelled “Bieber”). Let me just get this cassette drive warmed up …

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