"This is a true story. The names were changed to protect the innocent." - Dragnet TV show 1965
"No one is innocent." - Sex Pistols 1980
This is a true story. I go grocery shopping at the big local supermarket about 2 or 3 times a week. The supermarket is called, "OK Store." I'm a regular there. I've written about it before (you might get a laugh).
OK Store is a "no frills" grocery store: There's never any fancy displays. Cartons and cases of stuff like toilet paper or bottled water are stacked high to the ceiling in their cardboard shipping boxes.
It's not a pretty sight.
OK Store advertises that they don't spend money on crap like "poncy-hairdresser-type" displays and the like and that allows them to pass on the savings to you... Or, me... to us... Whatever...
I'll say "to me," since I'm betting most of my readers don't shop there.
I am always one of the first ones to arrive at OK Store in the mornings so I always get the discounted stuff left over from the day before. I run to the 'Day-Old' "Fish and Buffalo Chips Counter" for the 20~30% discounts on stuff. If you get there and see no discounted stuff, that means I have already been there and am long gone.
Loser! The early bird catches the worm, so they say.
OK Store definitely has a "K-Mart," "Target," or "Woolworth's" groove about it (do they still have Woolworth's?) What I want to say is the rich people don't shop at OK Store; it's too "Low Class."
I like to shop there. I go to sleep in my T-Shirt and sweatpants; then I like to wake up and go to work (or shopping) in those same jammies.
It's a time-saver. Works for me.
The wife doesn't like it. She thinks I should change clothes before I go out. "What for?" I ask.
I'm eco-friendly... Global warming and all that....
We live in a sort of fancy neighborhood. There's lots of rich people around here and just a few apartments. My house is like a desert island in a sea of opulence. We are surrounded by people with huge houses and fancy cars that the owners keep shiny and clean. Me, being a cheap skate, don't care about having a shiny German car. I have a used junky old Toyota family 4-door that I got for free. It comes with lots of dents, dings and scratches, thank you very much...
I want to say that my wife drove it around and so it got all the dents and stuff. But that would be a lie...
Japan has too many narrow roads......
Well, that's my story and I'm sticking with it!
My clothes? You kidding me? I haven't bought any clothes in 15 years. OK. That's a lie too... I haven't bought any clothes in 35 years.
My wife buys me underwear at Christmas. Which is good, because my mom used to do that but she passed away a long time ago...
I had lots of old underwear with worn out rubber banding at the waist for several years after mom died and before I married my wife... They used to bunch up in my butt crack. I hated that.
Getting married solved that problem.
My hair? Well, wife is constantly complaining 'bout that too. But, get it cut at the at the cheap-assed barber by the station and waste $10? You nuts? I cut it myself for free.
I was in a punk band when I was a kid. I don't care about clothes, cars or my hair.
I do have to care about the house though, so, I have to keep it looking nice. I absolutely hate having to trim the shrubbery... God! Cutting the hedges once a year is a royal pain....
But I digress.
This isn't about my trend setting fashion pace or the house I live in or my neighborhood. It's about the Formerly Famous TV Lady I rendezvous with at OK Store once a week or so with.
Like I said, I am always one of the first ones to get to OK Store when I go shopping. All the cash register ladies know who I am. I am a friendly guy and always say, "Good morning ladies!"
I always see the other regulars there too in the early hours. Shopping at OK Store first thing in the morning is the best. There's almost nobody there. You can be in and out in 15 minutes.
But get there after 10 am? Are you nuts? After 10 am there will be a line of 20 people at every cash register. It's crazy crowded anytime the rest of the day.
I'm a busy man. I have rivers to swim and mountains to climb (figuratively speaking, of course.) I don't have time to wait in line.
Anyhow, besides the regulars; the old guy who runs a restaurant, a few hot housewives and some old ladies, the catholic sisters and me, there is one "special" customer. She is the lady who used to be really famous but I guess she's not anymore.
I know she must have been really famous because I don't own a TV, yet even I recognized her. And I haven't owned a TV set for over 11 years! I hate TV. So, if I know her face, so does everyone else. She must have been a huge star on toothpaste and shampoo commercials, doing the laundry and showing off bright new kitchen appliances along with the rest of the beautiful people. That means she was plastered all over the mass media. She must have been really super-star famous here in Japan.
Alas, even though I recognize her, I don't know what her name is. But she is really famous; everyone here knows who she is. You can trust me on that point.
One day, maybe the 10th time or so I saw her at the store, my wife so happened to be there with me. I saw the Formerly Famous TV Lady pointed a broccoli towards her and said to my wife, "Say! Isn't that lady famous and on TV!"
My wife got mad and said, "Don't shout and don't point at people!"
My wife told me that the lady used to be really famous but she also couldn't remember her name. Why couldn't my wife remember her name? My wife doesn't have a TV at home. We live together. Maybe that's why she doesn't have a TV at home.
Anyway, back to the Formerly Famous TV Lady... She shops at OK Store once or twice a week too, just like me. We see each other there.
It's like destiny.
I guess she shops early in the mornings too because she doesn't want to be recognized either; just like me. We meet there by the veggies on the second floor. She looks for bargains. I stand there holding my cucumber.
She was there again, the other day. I bought my shit, and so did she... Er, I mean she bought her groceries. I bought my crap. High Falutin' Formerly Famous People like her do not "buy crap."
In my cart was instant Cup of Ramen and cheap-assed imitation beer substitute. I imagined that in her cart was expensive French cheese, baguette and Dom Perignon.
Do they even sell expensive French cheese, baguette and Dom Perignon at OK Store? Probably not. But whatever...
I paid at the cash register and so did she.
In the parking lot, she drove a nice Mercedes Benz. Did I tell you that I drive a used Toyota 4 door that I got for free? I did? OK. Never mind.
She lives somewhere in my neighborhood. I'm sure she lives in splendor.
Me? I live on a desert island in a sea of opulence.
How far the once mighty have fallen! She used to be a big star, but now she shops at the same discount grocery store that I do.
Poor Formerly Famous TV Lady.
How fame is fleeting. But she still gets the last laugh...
As my old friend Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
Photographic proof positive of vegetables at OK Store that both the Formerly Famous TV Lady (and me) might have looked at at sometime or another. (Photo by Mike Rogers - Lady Not Included!)