February 21 '98
Dollars Last A Grassroots Movement
The work that I do for SUPERVALU required my presence in Gulfport, MS for much of the first two weeks in February. Therefore, I had the occasion to eat out more than I normally do. One of the restaurants where I ate is named Montana's. It specializes in seafood and barbecue. I have never learned to appreciate seafood, rather I hold to the notion that there were certain dietary restrictions of the Old Testament Jews that remain sensible. Eating shrimp which scavenge the ocean's floor may be less appealing to seafood fanciers if they consider they are eating the sea's equivalent to a buzzard or crow. My normal aversion to seafood left me with barbecue to dine on at Montana's. I was not feeling too adventurous that evening, so I selected a barbecue pork sandwich and side dishes of slaw and French fries. My boss and another employee of our Retail Systems department in Atlanta were with me. Both of them decided upon sandwiches. We were eating lighter fare because it was later than we normally eat an evening meal, and we did not want a heavy meal just before retiring for the night.
There was nothing out of the ordinary that happened that evening until we stopped at the cashier's stand to pay for our meals. It is normal company policy of SUPERVALU, when traveling in a group, the senior member of the group is to pay for the meal expenses. Since we are each reimbursed for the expense, it does not matter whether protocol is followed or not, but my boss is pretty much a stickler for following this particular mandate. He chose to pay for our meals with cash and asked for a receipt. The cashier did not have a receipt book and asked if it would be okay for her to document the expense on the back of a Montana's business card. My boss agreed to the conditions.
For no particular reason, I watched the young woman carefully letter the amount of the evening meal for the three of us. Perhaps, I envied her ability to write legibly, since my handwriting has gotten rather shaky and at times illegible even to me. I find myself getting closer and closer to the point of refusing to fill out the required forms to register at a motel or health clinic. If the dexterity of my right hand continues to decline, I shall get a doctor's validation of my handicap and begin informing all who require me to fill out a form that I can no longer oblige them.
The young cashier wrote the total amount of the meals on the back of the card. The amount was twenty dollars and seven cents. I first noticed how she formed the numeral seven. It is the same way that I form the numeral.
Right about here, it is time for a quick math lesson. Number is what most persons call a numeral, but the difference is that a numeral is a physical representation (symbol) of a number. A number is an abstract thought we use in arithmetical operations, whereas a numeral is whatever form we select to represent the numeral. I used to tell my students that you could not see a number. Once it is seen, it becomes a numeral. If you are thinking of the number seven and write the word "seven," then you have expressed the number in one of an innumerable ways of symbolizing "seven" the number, as a numeral. You may also express "seven" as did the Romans using VII (We do call them Roman Numerals, not Roman Numbers.), or as we adopted from the Arabs who gave us the 7 to symbolize "seven." Furthermore, any combination of numbers that add up to seven or when multiplied together or divided by another to produce a result of seven, or when one number is subtracted from another and the result is seven are means and methods we employ to express the number "seven."
The cashier formed her seven as
I was about to comment on the use of the non-typical 7 when she completed
writing the amount. The final result resembled
Sensing a combativeness in her perky reply, I drew my rapier and we crossed swords.
I countered her move with the thrust, "So, your way is right and the rest of the world is wrong? Are you starting a movement to have everyone change over to your method?"
As we parried, our slender, steel blades rang with the clarity of fine crystal.
Her reply was terse, "Well, it is logical."
"Logical? Logical? How is that logical?" I thought.
It was then, in the heat of the battle, that I drew upon a cowardly tactic. I might have to settle for a draw, but this was a fight I did not want to lose.
I drew a bit of blood with the remark, "Logical! Since when do women use logic?"
It was a cheap shot, and I regretted having said it. I know that women are capable of using logic, but I also know that for most, emotion is the primary, persuasive force relied upon for reasoning and decision-making.
"Think about how you say it. Dollars comes last," she jabbed back.
Oh, that hurt! She was right. It was logical. Well, I knew I would not win this match, and afterall, discretion is the better part of valor, so we agreed to a truce. I could admit that when whole dollars are expressed she was correct in her logic. I knew, and I think she knew that her rebellion would never succeed. Yet, the young and passionate are often found to move contrary to the norm, blinded by the idealism of the concept, oblivious to the pitfalls ahead. For most, the idealism of youth is dimmed by marriage, family, and career concerns. Soon, idealism is trodden down by traditionalism. Occasionally, the idealistic notions of one, become the idealism of many and change occurs. Don't expect to soon read about accountants and others placing dollar signs after their amounts, but don't discount it as silly. Afterall, the British thought it silly that the Colonists wanted to form their own nation and govern themselves.
Waffle House Update Company Policy Affirmed
Last week I wrote an article bemoaning the fact that I could not remember the last time I was greeted by Waffle House employees as I entered the restaurant. Yet, last Thursday evening (2/12/98), I was pleasantly shocked to be spoken to by two employees before I had gotten good inside. After ordering my meal, I explained to the waiter how it had been quite a spell since I had been greeted by employees of any Waffle House. He was shocked to hear my news and affirmed that it was Waffle House's company policy that all employees greet every customer and treat them in a friendly and courteous manner.
It is good to know that the courtesy policy is still in effect, but I have to wonder about the management of those Waffle House restaurants who fail to enforce the policy. Now that I know the policy is still effective, I may demand to be spoken to the next time I enter a Waffle House where no one greets me. Do you suppose I would get their attention if I loudly stated something like, "I'm going back outside and walk in this place again. When I come in that door, I want to hear you people greet me! Are we clear on that?"
I even checked to see if guest was pluralized on the signs that asked booths be reserved for two or more guests. In this particular Waffle House the spelling was correct.
Misspelled words don't get much worse than a wall advertisement I saw in Gulfport that proclaimed in huge letters, Specialty Stuft Meats. Do you reckon stuft is the past tense of stuff?
Name Game Jacey, Levorne, Zelice
In my travels along the Gulf Coast over the past couple of weeks, I have encountered more than one interesting name. I had to stay in Hattiesburg one night before driving on to the Coast the next morning, and I think that began my encounter of interesting names. My waitress at the Outback Steakhouse introduced herself as Jacey, but both my dining partner and I thought she had said Jason. I asked her to repeat her name and understood correctly the second time. In our conversation she explained her dilemma when as a third grader, she was in a class with a Tracy, Stacey, Lacy, and two or three more similarly sounding first names.
The next interesting name I found in the Gulfport area was actually in Waveland, MS, where the market manager of the former Delchamps store (now SUPERVALU) is named Lavorne. To me, the name seems somewhat unusual and somewhat difficult to pronounce unless you can see it written, because it sounds similar to Lavon or Lavaughn and not to dissimilar to Laverne. When I discovered the person's last name was Hawthorne, then the first name was easier for me to pronounce. There is a bit of rhyme to La·vorne Haw·thornedon't you think?
In Biloxi, I met a woman named Zelice, pronounced Z·lese and not Z·lice. When I told her that I found her name unusual, she said she was a twin. Okay, moms and dads, what goes with Zelice? Would you have chosen Zelee? Fortunately, the girls were not triplets or there might have been a Zulu.
Perhaps, as interesting as the names Zelice and Zelee are, their middle names just may be more interesting. I hope I get these connected properly, Zelice Mildrette and Zelee Maronette. As to the family name, it is Barns. Sorry, there is nothing exotic or interesting about the name Barns. However, if the girls never marry, they won't grow to become Old Maids ... rather ... dare should I say it? Are you ready for this? Are you sure? Oh, why not? They will just be Old Barns.
Honor Roll Student What Became Of The Bullies
Remember when you were in grade school how cruelly kids could treat or tease one another? You may have been the victim of an unkind remark about your glasses. Four eyes was never meant to compliment someone.
A couple of years ago I met Billy Temple and introduced him to readers in one of my fishing articles. He told me he had always been fat. In grade school the kids called him Fat Billy. Though he laughs at himself, today, and uses Fat Billy for his CB "handle," I can assure you the first time someone called him Fat Billy, he did not appreciate it.
Are you familiar with the term gimp? No? What about gimped up? Though the word describes one who walks with a limp, it may be used in a generic sense to describe handicapped individuals. Such persons are often referred to as gimps or of being gimped up. It is not a term of endearment.
Do you ever wonder what became of the bullies you faced in school, or those who hurled verbal taunts or insults, or those who pointed out your flaws to everyone else? I think I know what became of them. Are they community leaders? Yes, some of them are, and some of the taunters became parents of intelligent children. (I've got to check with God sometime and find out how two morons can produce a near genius.) Some of these outgrew their childhood bodies, but never outgrew their enjoyment of humiliating others.
No doubt, you've seen the bumper stickers, similar to the ones that say My Child Is An Honor Roll Student At Anytown Elementary School. I submit that the person who displays a bumper sticker like this one is guilty of the same degree of bullying as the grade-schooler mentioned earlier. I agree that parents of exceptional children have a right to be proud of their offspring. However, the bumper sticker is but a silent insult or put down to all other parents whose child is less academically talented. For that matter, it is a put down to every child who does not make the achiever's list.
Well, someone other than me has grown tired of seeing these stickers. Recently I made special note of the bumper sticker on the rear bumper of a delapidated vehicle, that stated, My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Roll Student. Underachievers of the world, as well as parents of underchievers may now have their own sticker.
King Cakes With Mardi Gras Colors
The Mardi Gras season begins on January 6, the Feast of Epiphany, and lasts until Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the onset of Lent. One popular way to celebrate the Mardi Gras season is to throw a party and serve your guests a King Cake. What's a King Cake? Well, that requires a pretty involved story to fully explain. Since I like to answer a question right off the bat, rather than dance around it with obscure facts or non-pertinent information, let me first dispose of the question, and then I will give you a few important facts.
A King Cake is similar to a cinnamon roll, but it is fashioned in the shape of a giant donut, iced, and then decorated with purple, green, and gold crystals of colored sugar-purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power. These three colors are the official colors of the Mardi Gras festival. King Cakes may vary from those with unfilled centers to ones with cream or fruit filled centers. Size may range from a few ounces to a few pounds.
I suppose you could bake your own King Cake, but there are plenty of businesses that sell them. Along the Gulf Coast, they are so popular you can find them in the food shops of self-service gasoline stations as well as in mass merchandisers like Wal Mart and K Mart. Every supermarket with a bakery has multiple sizes of King Cakes for sale. However, the further north of New Orleans one travels, the less likely it will be you'll find a King Cake.
Surfers of the Internet may choose from numerous sources to order a King Cake online. One site is Paul's Pastry Palace, self-proclaimed as the best little bakery in the South. Paul's is located in Picayune, MS, home of the State's most unattractive women. At Paul's Pastry Palace, you may choose King Cakes from several flavors of fillings and toppings, as well as sizes of medium or large. Paul's will ship a fresh cake to you overnight with prices from $19.95 to $34.95.
Since I was in Gulfport on Friday the thirteenth of February, I bought a couple of King Cakes at one of our new SUPERVALU accounts and brought them back to Pontotoc. Mine were delicious and cost less than $5.00 each.
Folks in Louisiana generally prefer to have a tiny, plastic baby Jesus imbeded in their cake. The guest that finds the baby Jesus in their slice of cake has the honor of hosting the next King Cake party, usually the following weekend. Yet, not every baker conceals the tiny icon inside the cake. The Delchamps grocery chain was sued a while back, because somebody swallowed the plastic baby, and they have been careful to include the baby Jesus in the packaging of the cake, but if you want to conceal it in the King Cake, you have to do it yourself. You can bet whoever swallowed the baby Jesus was unfamilar with the King Cake tradition and would have to be either a glutton or a drunkard to have mistaken the plastic baby for a piece of the cake.
Bodock Beau Maybe You Know A Redneck
Beau shares a few of his favorite, "you might be a redneck if..." jokes: