Holding It All Together – All My Fault

By Amy McCollom
Ok, it is my fault. I admit it. If there is a misunderstanding or something weird happens or something just unexplainable occurs and I am anywhere in the vicinity; it will be my fault. I think it is a curse. I will call it The Dork Curse.

Ever since I was a child, I have noticed it happening. I would see papers on the floor at school that used to be on the bulletin board, and thumbtacks laying in a pile and think, “who did this travesty?!” So being the good person I am, I would quickly pin all of the papers back up on the bulletin board before anyone noticed the mess. See, I don’t like conflict. I am a middle child in my family, a peace maker. I fix things that are not right. It is just what I do and who I am.

But the teacher’s aide who was changing the bulletin board and returned to see her work of taking the papers down needing redone was not a happy camper. Oops. My mistake. Seeing how upset my little rescue job had made her, there was no way I could speak up. Even if my intentions were good, the result was a disaster.

Over and over again, I unknowingly repeated this same dreadful mistake through life, intending to do good where common sense would tell me one thing, but reality would dictate another. The Dork Curse would strike over and over, leaving me feeling less and less normal, even though common sense was supposed to be the light that guides us all. Still I clung to the hopes of a normal world, and took the road of doing the right thing even if it meant feeling like a Dork, as sometimes it was the right thing to do, and that felt good to me.

A couple of weeks ago I needed two things from our local dollar store. I needed cat food and sinus medicine. Sounds easy enough when I write it down, but nothing is that simple. I went to the medicine aisle, and there were so many types of sinus medicine, but being a wise shopper, I wanted to make sure to get the best deal for my dollar, so I looked at the ingredients. I didn’t need cough medicine, or pain medicine mixed in, just sinus pressure medicine. Once I found that medicine, there were three brands to choose from and compare ingredients and strengths. I finally picked one, but accidentally grabbed two boxes instead of one out of the rack, but there were two workers scanning boxes, and I felt like I was in their way, so I just took the products and went towards the pet food aisle.

I noticed quite a few people in the store for this early in the morning, which was rather unusual, but didn’t pay any other attention to that fact. 

Down in the pet food aisle, I noticed something strange. All of the cat food bags were turned around so I could not see the fronts. Well, poo! Who did that!?  I could not tell which is which!! So doing the right thing, I turned all of the cat food bags around the right way. Someone had done the same thing to the cans of cat food below it too! What jerks! A bunch of kids, perhaps? That would be a lot of work for some poor clerk to fix, so I set about turning all of the cans right, and the treats, and the cat litter too. 

Once I got all of the cat food looking better, I rounded the corner to find that the dog food was also all turned around backwards. Someone was really playing a mean joke on the workers of the store. I fixed all of those bags too, and the cans and was feeling pretty good about helping out, even though I didn’t even work there! I like being a helper. 

Oops, I almost forgot to get the cat food! I went back around to get the kind my cats ate, and then remembered I needed to return one of the boxes of sinus medicine back to the medicine aisle, as I only needed one box. There was a line of customers at the counter, and I hate standing in line, so I wandered around the store to burn some time, and eventually meandered over to the medicine section to replace the extra box I didn’t want of the sinus stuff. There were still two workers scanning and counting boxes, but I reached over their heads and slid the extra box in behind the others. One of the workers stopped and gave me a scowl. 

It was at that moment that time stopped for a couple of seconds and my reality changed. I realized that my reality and the real reality were not the same. What was really going on wasn’t just a busy morning at the dollar store where some kids had messed around with products. No, there were workers brought in from other stores, or perhaps a corporate office to do a whole store inventory and the reason all the products were turned around was because they were easier to scan and count quickly.

And I, being stricken with The Dork Curse, had just realized that and had made a mess of things while trying to do good. I couldn’t go back and fix what I had done, as there were already workers in the pef food section counting and probably cussing the person who flipped all the product back. So, I just purchased my cat food and sinus pills and got out of there. 

Who is to blame?  I could blame myself and say that I should have figured it out, but when I have never worked at a dollar store and been a part of a mass inventory in a retail environment, that wouldn’t be fair. I could say it was the store’s fault for not alerting it’s customers to the fact that inventory counting was going on, but perhaps they didn’t expect customers to interfere, only shop. 

Or we could just leave it to the fact that some people just have an affinity for finding themselves in odd or funny situations. We are the Mr. Magoos, the Jerry Lewis’s, the Inspector Clouseaus, the Mr. Beans of this world. And there is simply nothing we can do about it. We are dorks, and it is a curse we must bear.

You have to admit, though. Our lives would make a good sitcom.

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