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Another Portland Blog

Monday, March 24, 2008


Why I can't show my face around the Fred Meyers in Burlingame anymore

One of the great things about living in Portland is the wide array of outdoor activities one can engage in. This is a place where it's possible to go skiing on Mt. Hood in the morning, hike through a rainforest in the mid-afternoon and walk along a picturesque coastline at dusk. The possibilities are endless.

As such, if you live here you may one day find yourself pointing a bolt action rifle at a chocolate bunny in a forest outside of Manning.

Let me explain.

I have friends who own guns. Having grown up within the uber-liberal enclaves of Portland I still find this incredibly weird. Once upon a time, I was a proponent of strict gun control. Then one day I went skeet shooting. What can I say, a strong, albeit naive, political argument buckled and collapsed immediately after I managed to hit my first clay pigeon. I'll never own a gun, my friends aren't hunters and none of us are members of the NRA. Amazing as it might sound, even a liberal wuss like me enjoys the opportunity to work on my shotgun skills. After all, there's no telling when a zombie and/or a zombie pirate uprising could break out. We've all seen those Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Zombie pirates are mean bastards.

A few weeks ago, I found myself heading out to the country for target practice and, afterwards, a St Patrick's Day celebration/film festival. I was debating the merits of canned Guinness versus bottled when I realized I wouldn't have time to pick up clay pigeons. The chances that anyone else would have thought to buy them was unlikely. The clock was ticking so I tried to think fast. What could I find in the aisles of Fred Meyers that could work as targets but also become a tasty snack if the whole thing was rained out?

The choice was obvious. Discount Easter candy.

And so off I headed to the checkout with a shopping cart full of beer, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps. Behind the counter, a gruff clerk who looked like a certain character from Deadwood, looked over my purchases with a scowl on his unshaven mug.

"You got some little ones at home," he asked as I fumbled with the debit card machine.

These are the last words a young man wants to hear in the year 2008 in a crowded grocery store when he's buying large quantities of chocolate bunnies and alcohol. How could I possibly answer a question like that? I stuttered and stammered. I was so rushed I hadn't stop to consider that buying all of this might be considered a little unusual or even alarming to someone not full aware of what was going on. Then I said the following:

"They're for a party. Of sorts."

Oh. Dear. God. I'd tried to come up with a safe answer but had completely blown it. A party? Of sorts. At best, the clerk and everyone within earshot was now convinced I was a pervert with a twisted bunny/beer sexual fetish or, at worst, a child-predator with hang-ups that would make Michael Jackson blush.

Without another word, the clerk bagged my groceries and handed me my receipt. A Lewis and Clark undergrad behind me shot me a glare that could pierce steel. I rushed out of the store filled with a level of shame that samurais must have once felt before committing sepuku.

Most people would try to forget a story like this but I'm not most people. I told everyone later on that day what had happened at the checkout stand. "They're for a party. Of sorts" is now an in-joke I'll be hearing for who knows how long. And now here it is on the internet for your enjoyment.

Let this be a lesson to you all: if your shopping basket is full of stuff that can paint you as a probable felon, head to the automated check-out. I should have learned this valuable life lesson years ago. A while back, a colleague told me a story about the time he found himself in a Rite Aid buying doggy biscuits, wine and a box of condoms.

All things considered, if I was a chocolate bunny I guess I'd rather head to the giant Easter basket in the sky after getting hit with buckshot instead of being slowly consumed by a small child. The trip to Fred Meyers had been humiliating but I guess it was worth it to see what a "Honey Bunny" looks like when viewed through a rifle scope. FYI: when a bullet from a bolt action rifle hits the ear of a chocolate bunny, it can apparently blast out the back-end of its box. Also, Peeps vaporize when hit by a shotgun shell. And now you know. More also: apparently I'm not the first person on the internet to dream up unique ways to dispose of Easter candy.

Urban Growth Boundary, I thank for helping make this all possible. I think I'll go put one of those "I [heart] Oregon" stickers in my car's back window now.

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