Of course you can always make this stuff up

You can’t make this stuff up.

I’ve always wondered why people say that? People make stuff up all the time.

Liars. Fiction novelists. Film authors. Politicians (oh, sorry, I already covered that in the first mention). Actors. Teachers. Parents. Teenagers caught sneaking in after curfew. It happens.

I digress.

The point is, it’s been my experience as a writer, blogger and communicator that the true stories that are far more compelling, fascinating and relevant in most circumstances. Did I mention they are often flipping hilarious?

Just like last Sunday, this week’s column is entirely factual. To be frank, humor writers seek out this type of material and consider it heaven’s manna when it’s dropped like a cinder block onto our heads. Once we regain consciousness, our first thought is: This will make a GREAT column!

If you don’t believe me, ask funnyman extraordinaire Burton Cole. #HumorWritersAintRight

Anyway, it was a scene straight out of Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera.”

I’m sorry, did I just time warp too far back for some of you? OK, fine, maybe you’ve heard of Ashton Kutcher’s reboot of the same program. He called it “Punk’d.” Still nuthin? Hmm. Well, “Impractical Jokers” and “The Carbonaro Effect” may resonate best for my youngest readers.

Whichever, I thought at first that I might be being secretly recorded for footage to be shown on some hidden-camera, TV comedy.

Nah.

It was just a regular old checkout lane bully. Let’s call her, er, Helga the Horrible.

I had just pulled my cart into the “12 items or less” aisle when some of my favorite mints caught my eye from the adjacent self-checkout lane. I walked away from my buggy for, oh, about four seconds, I guess, and returned in time to see Helga using her pointer finger to count everything in my cart. Her bony, Grim-Reaper-looking digit then moved silently to the two packets of mints in my hands.

And suddenly, red strobe lights flashed wildly and wailing sirens sounded. My :04 delay of her game put me over the magic limit. I was now at 14 products in total and immediately got item shamed.

Apparently, the alarm system was triggered by Helga’s disgusted tongue clucking. It was so loud, I thought I saw Colonel Sanders in the storefront window wielding a hatchet for a quick second. But it was just the item police coming to take me away, hee hee, ho ho, ha ha…

Not really. But my Italian / Irish Catholic guilt got the better of me, so I chuckled and sent myself to the clink, i.e., the self-checkout lane.

As I saw her smugly zip through the lane in my spot, I couldn’t help but say, very loudly, to my girlfriend Lori (we were chatting on the phone and I’d been giving her a play-by-play): “Whew, I’m glad she got out 90 seconds before me. That was close!”

She bore a hole through my skull and, I think, waved a different bony finger as I wished her a good day. “She’s off to spread joy wherever she goes!” I told Lori.

In the more bad news department, we all lost an hour of sleep today as most of the nation adopts daylight-saving time. I’m sure losing an hour of beauty sleep will do wonders for Helga’s hateful de-MEAN-or. #Yikes

Godspeed to her family and co-workers tomorrow. I hope no one gets to the coffee pot ahead of her…

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who didn’t mean to start World War III with her mints. Check out her minty fresh blog www.patriciakimerer.com.

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