Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Lesson

This morning, when I stopped at a mini-mart on my way to work for my morning dose of caffeine, I stood in line behind a man who was trying to ask the clerk for something.

Gimme a pack of Doornail* Lite 100’s,” the man rasped quietly.

“What?” asked the clerk. “I couldn’t hear you.”

Doornail Lites. A pack of 100’s,” the man rasped again, barely audible over the hum of the fluorescent light fixtures overhead.

“Doornail 100’s?” asked the clerk.

Lites. Doornail Lites,” he choked out again.

“Huh?” said the clerk.

Lites! Doornail Lite 100’s! he hissed, agitated, though barely louder than before.

“Doornail Lite 100’s?” the clerk asked.

The man simply nodded his head and the clerk retrieved a pack of cigarettes from one of the racks behind the counter. The man paid and left quickly, and already had one lit by the time he got into his car.

I put my liquid breakfast on the counter and pulled out my wallet. “Hard to hear that guy,” I said.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I knew what he wanted, but I refuse to make it easy on him. He’s already destroyed his voice with those things, so who knows how long before he’s dead of cancer. The damage has been done, but I guess the lesson was never learned.”

“That’s non-fat creamer in there, right?” he asked.

“You bet.”

I think I like this guy. He’s alright.

*Not the actual brand name, but close enough.

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