The Truth Behind Grump’s Wal-Mart Incident

After my latest medical check-up the Doc had this to say about my blood work.

“Grumpy, you’re bad cholesterol is good, but your good cholesterol is bad.”

“Hold on there, Doc,” I respond. “There must be something I can do about that? I need to get better good cholesterol to counteract my good bad cholesterol, right?”

The good Doctor appears a little cross-eyed and semi-perplexed with that remark.

“Well, there are two ways we can approach this,” he begins. “You can exercise for thirty minutes a day, but it has to be intense exercise –you know, like a heavy make-yourself-sweat workout. Or, I can put you on a mega dose of Vitamin B in the form of Niacin.” Dr. Paul’s smirky smile is not unlike the one I described when he was about to check my prostate last April. (See Previous Blogs)

I tell him, “I’ll take the latter!” remembering; of course, that intense exercise is verboten in Grumpy’s World.

Getting a serious look on his face, Dr. Paul leans in to tell me, “There may be some side effects with the Vitamin B/Niacin therapy.”

He proceeds to tell me about a facial flush and a burning sensation upon the skin. I’m thinking, isn’t that one of the side effects of Viagra? I’m a bit disappointed when he doesn’t tell me to expect four hour erections.


He reassures me that if I stick to it, these initial effects will wane and, the pharmacist, in her wisdom, directs me to take the supplement at night, so the side effects will occur while I sleep.

I can do that. Sleeping is one of my most accomplished skills.

But, here’s the thing. These pills are “horse-pills” which are about the size of a Triple A Battery on steroids. You literally have to shotgun a can of beer to get the damn thing down your gullet. I put the good wife on standby ready to perform the Heimlich maneuver every time I attempted to swallow one of those things. I’m not advocating this but, just the same, that’s my story and I’m sticking it.

Two days after starting the Niacin plan I notice in the middle of the night, that I feel hot and flushed as well as itchy. I throw off the covers after my wife asks if I’m having a hot flash. She is a true believer in the man-o-pause thing. I tell her that the side effects have finally arrived. But, she’s already sleeping and answers me with a resounding snore.

Now I kind of get that menopause thing: the one about hot flashes and the like. I read about it in Zoomer Magazine. Researcher and relationship therapist Ashley Howe said, “If you felt like a furnace you wouldn’t want to be canoodling under the covers either.” That’s exactly how I felt but in a man-o-pause kind of way. And folks, I’m a strong proponent of canoodling.

So, the next day I’m out and about with my son and daughter, taking them to Wal-Mart, looking for all the deals. That’s when the biggest hot flash of all hits. I’m sure my face is beet red. I feel so hot that my arms begin to itch under my big fat Canadian winter coat.

I throw off that coat just as my skin begins to get a creepy crawling sensation, you know, as if there are African worms boring through my dermis. Some people in these parts call it a “picky feeling”.

So I scratch the itches, wiggle with the tingles and get to the point where I am reminded of the Incident in Row B (See Previous Blogs), when my thing-a-ma-jig got all tangled up in an underwear thread. Yes, this was not unlike the rocking pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu, my friends. I was prancing like a reindeer on crack.

I feel as if the only solution is to strip off my clothes and get naked. I need some soothing cool air upon my lily white, now burning, skin. However, I decide to apply better judgment, because I’m thinking about the obvious headline, “Naked Old Man Streaks Wal-Mart Blowout Sale.”

No, can’t go there, because this is Small-Towns-Ville and there are people who actually know who I am.

So, rather than continuing to shop in my Birthday Suit, I retire to my vehicle where I can scratch and itch to my heart’s content, as well as loosen my clothing and expose a little skin.

My mad dash to the parking lot included a lot of contortions and scratching which was not unlike a mental patient with the “heebie-jeebies”. No matter, the path was clear as shoppers cowered in the aisles, covered their mouths and took giant steps backward.

As I shot past the octogenarian greeter I could see that she had raised a Spockian eyebrow. But then her face blanched white as she mumbled, “Oh God, I think I’m going to faint.” She was slumped over a rogue shopping cart like a homeless person.

Let it forever be known that Grumpy is the guy who puts the shock in any “shock and awe” campaign.

Alas, I made it to my vehicle, slipped into the driver’s side seat, unbuttoned buttons and flies and began my itchy scratchy ritual in earnest. I felt as if I was suffering from the sunburn from hell and I’m sure my face was as red as a shiny new fire truck.

Yes, I was breathing heavily from the dash to the car and, of course, sweat ran down my face like raging rivulets. My eyes were as wide as two errant Frisbees.

I’m sure a few patrons, upon seeing me hunched over in my car, were thinking, “Is that guy doing what we think he’s doing? My God, look how red his face is and he’s wiggling and squirming like he’s in the throes of passion!” or, more simply, “Kids, don’t stare at the dirty old man with the red face.”

Film at eleven, anyone?

Well, I surely hope not. You see, old Grump’s could release a boxed set of his many antics and faux pas caught on security cameras.

And, is it any wonder that Grumpy’s family stays clear of him when they are out in public together? They know they are always in imminent danger of Grumps pulling a “Grumpy”.


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