Guest Columnist - John Ropa
Posted: June 18, 2010
A friend of mine named Ralph, who is also retired, has what I think is a worthwhile goal. "Each day", he says, "I want to make at least one person laugh". That sounded like fun, so, at his invitation, I followed him around for a day, just to let him show off. It was the 10th of March.
Our first stop was the grocery store. In the canned goods aisle, we came across a store clerk on a ladder, filling the top shelf.
"I see you're finally getting up in the world," said Ralph, receiving not even a hint of a smile.
When Ralph had about 12 items in his cart, which was too many to go through the express lane, we prepared to check out. We stood in line for what seemed like an hour. In succession, four persons ahead of us paid for their groceries with either a credit or debit card. They spent so much time punching in numbers, answering questions and signing a receipt of payment.
When it was finally our turn, and his groceries had been scanned, the cashier handed Ralph his bill. With a straight face, he said, "Do you take cash?"
The cashier laughed, mentioning that she saw him almost daily, and noticed that each day he bought an apple. A women behind us spoke up, saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". My friend turned to her and asked if she knew why. After she shook her head, "no", he said, "Because you throw it at him". She also laughed. That was two.
As we left the grocery store, a boy wearing a baseball cap was coming in. "That boy reminds me of the time when I coached Little League," said Ralph. "All the teams had a cheer that they shouted before each game. Ours was "Get in there and cheat". That time he made me laugh.
As we walked towards home, we passed a small Lutheran church. There was a sign outside announcing the mission of the congregation. "I still go to that church occasionally," said Ralph. "One day they announced that there would be a competition to see who could come up with the best mission statement. They turned mine down."
Suckered in, I asked, "What was yours?"
Ralph replied, "Sin enough to make repenting worthwhile".
John Ropa is a retired executive with North Chicago,IL-based Abbott Laboratories. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org