Guest Post (1) Wayne W. Whicher

Hi everybody! Today we welcome a guest on the Manicheans. Wayne is a wonderful tweep. You can find him under @WayneWWhicher, and you can check his blog here.

Without further ado, I present to you his post.

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Johanna is certainly one of the most insightful, amazing people that I have connected with on Twitter.  I was new to social media a few weeks ago and she quickly became one of my favorite people to chat with.  I hungrily tore through many of the blog posts on her site.   Her writing is addictively deep, full of hurt and pain, and draws her readers into the world that she tries to trudge through every day.  I offered supportive experiences of my own, and likely paid her a few too many compliments (it doesn’t hurt that she’s both intelligent and stunning). I’ve always felt that innocent compliments simply help to make someone who is feeling down enjoy a smile and appreciate the little things.  That’s just me.

So, we moved into the subject of blogs and such.  I didn’t have my own blog, and loved reading hers, so I picked her brain a little about the subject.  She inspired me one night, and the next day my own blog was up and running.   It’s true that I am a do-er, but without her inspiration, I wouldn’t have been properly motivated.  We then stumbled upon the subject of guest posting on blogs and she offered that I could post on hers.  I considered this a very sweet offer from someone I had just met.  I guess that’s just one more reason of why she is a special person and deserves the best out of life.

However, I said no.    How many people would have said no?  Not many I wager.

No.   I didn’t feel that I could do it yet.   I wanted any words that I wrote and guest posted on her blog to be top-notch.   Brilliant.   Amazing.  Insightful.   It’s not an image or reputation thing.  It’s a sign of respect for her own deep words that pour onto her own pages.   I told her that I appreciated the offer but I didn’t feel like I was ready.  So, I went and worked on my own blog, and did a few artsy, fartsy posts on some travel websites and such.  Then one day a post that I put up on my own blog received a comment from her touting the romantic post as ‘Brilliant!’

A few days ago I emailed her and said that I was ready….

And then, POW!!!  I shot myself in the foot.  Let’s just say that it hurt quite a bit.   Figuratively of course.  My imagination could picture it with a big, gaping red hole right in the center, with the smell of cordite hanging in the air…  How did I shoot myself in the foot you ask?  Well, I had inquired to her for what theme, subject, or what-not that she would like my guest post to be about.  I told her to do her worst, I could handle anything.  I boldly stated that any man who had ever stood in line at a grocery store with a box of tampons could handle it.  She could do her worst.  Any subject she wanted… And then…

Of course, she said she’d leave it up to me for the subject.  Open-ended… Really?  Like I said… POW!  The seed, my friends had already been planted.  Any good writer worth their salt has an imagination that takes over like horses released from the gate, trampling madly along the concourse.   I had shot myself in the foot and would boldly proceed to go where man does not like to go.  My imagination had taken flight.   Come along for the journey with me below…   I did this to myself… Damn imagination.

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My feet move through the automatic door of the store, and propel themselves forward simply on auto-pilot.  Okay, I can handle this… I think.   What’s the big deal anyways?  The big deal is that my brain is over-active and wonders about the thoughts going through other people’s minds.  Imagination is a curse sometimes, but it’s not like my mission today isn’t part of everyday life.  It’s not as if I haven’t purchased my share of things that bring an upraised eyebrow from checkout people in today’s society.

In my younger years I procured many boxes of ‘Parachutes’ of course.  How many women have bought those?  Not many I wager.  I’m sure some women have, as a tangent flares off inside my mind, wondering what was going through their head as they moved through the stores that day.  A smile graces my face at that image.  Still… I think that I’ve always been a little too innocent for my own good.  I have a mind that works like any good writer, simply inventing things that aren’t there.

As I begin to walk down the aisle, my over active brain starts begins to insert narratives into the thoughts of the various women that I start to encounter on my quest.  As I pass a counter laden with ring-dings and ho-ho’s (yum!) I see a woman striding towards me purposefully with her carriage.  She is about twenty-eight and quite nice looking.   She seems to have the makings of a fabulous dinner for one in her cart.  My eye spies a bottle of wine, some buffalo mozzarella, and a lean cuisine dinner.  I look up into her face and her eyes lock onto mine.  She smiles.  God, she has a fabulous smile.  Does she know why I’m there?  I keep the smile on my face and her eyes twinkle back at me.  Grocery stores are the best place to pick up single women right?  Not today my friend, keep moving.  Feet… move forward.  One after the other.  Let’s get this done and get out of here.  A smile from a gorgeous woman would probably turn quickly to a frown if they knew that I have a list in my pocket with one of those items on it that men would rather just not ever have to pick up.   Hoping to see that woman that the next time I’m in the store when I have a bottle of merlot and some king crab legs under my arm, I pass her quickly.   She even smells wonderful.   Gee, do you think my mind is grasping at anything and everything besides my purpose?   You’d be right.

Shuffling my feet with eyes downcast, I traverse quickly through the aisles.  Aware that I am counting the interlocking diamond shaped tiles on the floor of the grocery store, I physically pull my eyes upwards.   Now I’m playing ‘shop till you drop’ in my mind as I scan the shelves.   Where is that jar of chilli peppers that will earn me $1000 extra dollars?   Okay… try to focus, silly mental tangent boy.   I realize that my hands are in my pockets, hiding the list crumpled up in a small wad… away from prying eyes.  Focus.   Now.  Move it mister.

Okay, get a grip.  Get a hold of yourself.  It’s not that big of a deal.   Really, who cares?  No one.   A smile graces my face as I realize that I’m just being silly.   I’ll be in and out of the store in two more minutes.   No problem.  If I can just find the stupid things that is.   Where the heck are they already?   My innocent heart can’t take much more of this crazy shopping mission from hell.

I finally find myself in the correct aisle, in the correct place.   Then… I see that I have a problem… a big problem.  Crap.  My eyes try to keep from going cross-eyed as they roam over the myriad of colorful boxes on the shelf in front of me.   The damn shelf must be like twenty feet wide.  Thwarted by ten million choices.   Reading some of the boxes in front of me, I see that the clever marketing people have tried to tout the special features of the contents.   Trying to narrow down the choices?  Or drive us witless guys crazy?   Wings?  Extra-absorbency?  Normal absorbency? Right.   Now what’s that going to convey at home if I bring back the wrong one?  What man wants to bring home extra-absorbency if that’s not needed?  What does that convey for a message?  Custom applicator?  Excuse me?  Applicator?   Who knew?  I’ve always considered myself an observant, sensitive kind of guy, but really there are some things that are better not to know about.   The door to the bathroom is generally shut tightly at home on those days, my friend.

Back to the choices.  Again…Focus.  Let’s go, let’s get this over and done with.  Okay.  Visualize.  I try to picture the vanity cabinet at home in my mind.   Visualize the box?  What color is it?   It’s blue with white trim and lettering.  Okay.  Now then… Brand?  Okay, I can see it in my head now.  Thank god for mental pictures stored away for just such an emergency.  Do I really have mental pictures of that box in the bathroom cabinet stored up in my brain?  Ugh.  Now then, is there any mention of the level of absorbency on the package?   No clue, I’ve got nothing.  My powers of visualization seem to have run out.  Okay, I’ll stick with normal.   Really?  It’s a Friday night and these are my choices?   Can I just run back down the aisle and flirt shamelessly with that woman that caught my eye?  Nope, my girlfriend is waiting for me at home, and hopefully will have a celebratory dinner prepared for me, once I return victoriously with the requested item.  Come on now.  Focus.

In front of me, on the metal shelving from circa 1960, the heavens open up and lights burst forth from above as the fireworks go off.   There it is. Done. Sold. Out of here. I grab the box and make like a football receiver, tucking it under my arm as I move quickly towards the check out area.

A little gremlin inside my brain makes a good suggestion as my hand reaches out towards a wire rack that I am passing, and I grab a LARGE bag of chips (see camouflage in the dictionary).  I pass through the wine aisle during my mad dash for the register and I grab a bottle of wine (see fortitude in same dictionary).

I make it to the checkout counter, probably breaking many time speed records in the process.  My luck is holding out, as I duck under the lighted plastic #4 on a pole and see that I have won a male checkout person.  I try to position the box on the rolling, black link belt just so, with the chips perched on top of it.   My hands aren’t even fumbling that much as I get out my ID should that be necessary for the wine to get me out of there quicker. I got this. I’m home free.

And then.  My luck runs out.   “Can I get a price-check at checkout #4?”  intones over the loud speaker as the male checkout person that I was so happy to see a moment ago throws me under the bus.  All heads turn towards me, standing there in aisle #4 as the checkout guy raises the blue and white box up into the air.   The largest, most unpleasant faced, blonde female store manager that you have ever seen strides in my direction.    She inputs the price from her price book, and gives me a huge smile.   I don’t look her in the eye.   I look down at the credit card in my hand instead.  I hear her chuckle as she disappears back towards her podium at the front of the bridge.   Go back under your bridge you troll, my mind offers up.   Trip, trap, trip, trap.   Okay, enough with that, I tell my imagination to be quiet, let’s pay and get out of here.

I run for the hills with my bags tucked under my arm, the items enclosed inside the wrinkly plastic bags with the store logo on them.  Success.  Bold indeed.  Yeah right.

I was very bold to suggest that I could guest post on any topic to my friend Johanna.  Did I really think that I wasn’t ready when she first suggested it?  Really?  Reliving this torturously fun memory from years ago has reminded me that men that have run the grocery store gauntlet in search of tampons can accomplish anything.   I’d rather guest post anytime than be forced to go back into that store for that blue and white box.

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