Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Some of you have met my granddad. If you’re not sure if you’ve met him or not, then you haven’t met him. You’d remember it.

Paw Paw’s a fair man. He’s kind and, for the most part, gentle. He doesn’t want to beat your ass, but if he has to, he will. He’s worked hard his entire life and he’s never asked for, or expected, anything more than what he deserved. What he expects from you is nothing less than what he gives until you give him a reason to stop; respect.

So we’re at the Wal-Mart in Melbourne, Florida because no trip is complete unless you’ve seen that annoying roll back smiley face. My granddad found a bounty of electric razor blade attachments, batteries, electronic solitaire, and fruit that he wanted to buy and we made our way to the 20 items or less line.

SIDENOTE: If you’re in a hurry, never get behind me in a lane of traffic or check-out aisle. I have this innate, irreversible, ability to always end up in the slowest moving queue.

We waited, somewhat patiently, while the cashier tried in vain to scan a panty hose egg and four packs of pork stomachs that the people in front of us were going to use as stink bait at Lake Okeechobee. (What else can you do with pork stomachs? I guess you could make your own violin bow, or your own pork rinds, but I digress.)

Finally, after 12 people had gone through the check-out lane we were in before my bright idea to switch lanes, the cashier began scanning Paw Paw’s purchase across the pork stomach juice laced scanner.

Cashier: That will be $49.20, sir.

Paw Paw: Can you break a hundred?

Cashier: Sure, that’s fine.

My granddad, trying to relieve the soreness in his artificial hips by placing his hands on the check-out counter and leaning on them, handed the cashier a $100 bill.

Now, we all know what happened next, but we’ve become desensitized to the slight because that’s our generation. The cashier took the $100 bill and, with some type of marker, scribbled on Paw Paw’s $100 bill. Satisfied that the bill was legal tender, the cashier placed the bill under his tray.

Paw Paw: What’d you do that for?

Cashier: What?

Paw Paw: Scribble on my money.

Cashier: To make sure you didn’t give me counterfeit money.

Paw Paw: Oh.

My granddad is 80+ years old. He was a very, very young soldier during WWII. He’s a member of the greatest generation. In my mind, he’s one of the greatest members of the greatest generation. To say the least, he is not desensitized to the routine, if arguably necessary, slights of today.

Cashier: Can I give you a fifty back, or do you want smaller bills?

Paw Paw: A fifty will be fine with me.

The cashier handed my granddad a $50 and some coins as his change. Paw Paw, in a move that involved enough aggression that I was taken aback and a little uncomfortable, snatched the marker from the cashier and scribbled with fervor on the $50 bill. I'm not even sure if Paw Paw knew what to look for in a counterfeit bill, but he told the cashier – who was standing in shock - "You scribbled on mine, I'm scribbling on yours. I don't want any fake money either!"

If ‘bitch’ was any thing more than a female dog to my granddad, I’d like to think that he would have added it on to the end of his statement. Nonetheless, his point was made. The older lady behind us, in her distinctly Northern transplant accent said, “That’s right! We don’t want no funny money either!”

Oh, I can’t wait to get old.


klhcain said...

Haven't met Paw Paw but would like to. Karly's Papa was also one of the greatest of the greatest generation. There were/are many times he and her Nana have not been treated respectfully by service people b/c they needed more clarification, did not understand, etc. I just think to myself those people will get payback when they get old. Workers do need lessons in how to be nice to everyone, especially the elderly.

Katie said...

That's awesome. Great story Jam. I bet I'd love your Paw Paw.

Karly said...

Jammy, now's the time when you also have to reveal the cashier was handicapped.

If I am correct the cashier was not rude, just doing her job...Paw Paw just didn't like his money being scribbled on, right?

Jammy said...

It was a male cashier, and he was just doing his job. He did look, physically, a little like Verbal from The Usual Suspects, but that doesn't excuse his snippy response. Handicapped people have to be nice too.