Imagine you’re attending the most prominent social event of the decade, and everyone who is anyone received an invitation. Famous actors, politicians, religious leaders, business titans, and a who’s who from the world of sports will be there, but unfortunately for them, so will you.
You received an invitation weeks ago, but you felt yours was more akin to a subpoena. You know your attendance is mandatory even though much of the A-list crowd detests the sight of you.
But It wasn’t always this way. At one time, you called these notable people friends, and they adored you, but no more. As you walk about the massive venue, you feel their loathing eyes upon you and hear their whispered insults and curses.
This is what grocery shopping is like for me today.
I walk into the store, and old friends like Aunt Jemima and her neighbor, Mrs. Butterworth, look at me as if am Judas. I hurry around the corner to escape the look of betrayal in their eyes and enter the cereal aisle.
Cap’n Crunch sees me and raises his sword, Count Chocula bares his fangs, and on an oatmeal box, a white-haired man in an old-fashioned black hat bows his head and publicly prays for my judgment and repentance.
go around another corner, and without warning, I’m bitten by a big Golden Retriever standing next to a display of canned baked beans. I cry out in pain, which brings a cacophony of laughter from Betty Crocker, Sara Lee, and Uncle Ben standing nearby.
everyone is enjoying my discomfort. A select few in this store still like me, and the uproar brings two running in my direction. Jimmy Dean and Oscar Mayer shoo the dog away and call over another friend, one I’ve always considered being a real nut.
Out of nowhere, this goober shows up wearing a top hat, white gloves, and two-toned shoes. He sets down his cane and puts in a monocle to examine my wound. He dismisses it as minor and says I didn’t expect you to be here today. But, he adds, a wry smile forming on his face, it’s good to see you coming out of your shell.
For some reason, every peanut thinks he’s funny.
I decided it was time to make a hasty retreat, so I cut through the produce department. As I move past the onions, tomatoes, and peppers, I hear a familiar mocking voice hurling insults in my direction. I look over, and there, between the Idaho Russets and the Yukon Golds, sits Mr. Potato Head, his tongue sticking out at me. That guy ought to play Vegas
Then I become aware of a great commotion, and I see Marie Callender, Hungry Jack, and Mr. Pibb angrily heading in my direction. Just as they are about to catch me, the Jack Link Sasquatch steps in front of them and momentarily halts their progress through a series of growls and menacing gestures
Running, and with my eyes focused on the exit, I don’t watch where I’m going. I slip, go airborne, and land face-first on the hard tile floor.
As I pick myself off the floor with as much dignity as I can muster, I look back and see a banana peel on the ground. A tall, exotic-looking woman with a bowl of fruit on her head winks at me and says, “See you next week, keto boy.”