At weekly meetings of the Big Hairy Man’s Club, I am often asked why I willingly do the grocery shopping in my household instead of using that time on more hairy-manly pursuits like sleeping, eating, watching ESPN or taking the AK-47 out for a walk.
I respond with big hairy confidence: “Man cannot live on bread alone, but women can go at least a year and probably longer without beef jerky, Oreos, sausage, cheeseburgers, Doritos, Klondike bars, beer, etcetera etcetera and so forth, etcetera. And beer.”
You see, at some point in history it dawned on man that women were really, really into bread. A big hairy guy would drag home a deceased hairy mastodon for supper but before he even removed the first tusk, his cave momma would say “That will go perfectly with the zucchini bread I just made. And tomorrow we can have hot roast mastodon sandwiches on the Kaiser rolls I’ve got in the oven. Did you remember to get the poppy seeds?”
The very next day the Big Hairy Man’s club was founded. And the day after, man invented terducken, and a day later he patented the first edible bacon app. On the fourth day, man belched and went upstairs for a nap but not before he announced the first club rule: no zucchini, no how, no way Jose. And Jose was down with it.
Today, men still do most of the manly hunting (for lost socks, car keys, cell phones, wallets, minds) while women drive the majority of the shopping carts in American supermarkets. And while there haven’t been more than four or five million incidents on record of women coming home with nothing but bread and zucchini, the wise hairy man knows that when the good stuff runs low, he needs to saddle up the Prius and hit the Piggly Wiggly sans-a-femme.
In our cave, the system works beautifully. First, I order the little cave lady to prepare a list that is light on bread but heavy on stuff. On shopping day I carefully review the list.
Not being critical here, but sometimes her e’s look like l’s and o’s look like e’s and a’s look like undotted i’s. Over time, with patience and the occasional time out, she has taught me to hold the penmanship lecture until two years after she is dead — which, she humorously predicts, will be twenty-two years after I am dead.
In the meantime, I’ve gotten better at deciphering her handwriting. For instance, I now know that what looks like “office hazmat” is coffee, hazelnut; “can of tony bears” means a can of cannelloni beans, and “TP” means twelve pizzas.
There have been very few problems aside from the occasional, everyday misunderstandings that are bound to develop in the age-old battle of the sexes, supermarket edition.
Take, for instance, a hairy man’s cart crashing into and through a shopping cart jam in a narrow aisle where one female shopper has stopped to chat with another. One would think that a simple “Oops,” would make a tense exchange of insurance information, the dropping of the Whiplash bomb and calling for a Medevac cart a little unneccesary.
On the other hand take the case of the big hairy man who passes by the bakery section and sees they are giving away free, fresh-made cake. Dishing it out is a bigger hairier man from the club. Halting his cart, our big hairy man tries a free sample and his eyes roll heavenward.
“This is great,” he says, “What is it? Spice cake?”
“It’s my special zucchini bread,” says the hirsute giant. “Goes great with mastodon stew.”
“Zucchini?” Our big and hairy man chokes. He gasps “Bread?”
“It’ll put hair on your chest,” says the significantly bigger, hairier man, a hectare of black steel wool billowing upward from the open neck of his flannel shirt.
“I feel like a…a…beef jerky.”
“It goes great with beef jerky,” says the zucchini bread man. “But you know what it really goes good with?”
A shake of the big hairy confidence.
“The little cave lady.”
So I bought two dozen loaves. So sue me.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2014, all rights reserved.