A Case of Mistaken Identity


I have told you all before of my love affair with Publix grocery stores. These people have great customer service. However, it seems that it never fails that something interesting always happens to me when I go shopping. I once had a woman ask me to do her produce shopping for her and even bring it to her in the next aisle. Publix holds a secret entrance to Hogwarts somewhere in the back I believe. Too many strange things occur there for it to be otherwise.

So, here I was, in a grocery store again. This time I was looking for some items to make my homemade chicken soup for my wife who had bronchitis this past week. My chicken soup is legendary… in my own mind.

While looking for some chicken breast I couldn’t help but notice a large of group of people standing over one of the coolers sitting in the middle of the meat dept filled with Turkeys. They were debating, some of them wildly gesticulating while talking, while others patiently listened. When one was done another would interject a comment.

The group was divided about something, and this group was about 8 or so people along with two Publix employees standing there answering questions. I was intrigued, thinking it was a promotion or something.

As an ENFP on the Myers/Briggs personality chart, I feel it is my duty to join any crowd that is assembled. I don’t know why, and you may think me self-important, but we ENFP’s know that people need our opinions… no brag, just fact. I approached the group and listened and understood at once the debate was over the appropriate type of meat one should serve at the Christmas meal. These were all members of the same family I discovered.

“Turkey is for Thanksgiving Merle!” said a woman I later learned was named Ruth.

“Traditionally,” said the Publix employee, “Turkey is for both Thanksgiving AND Christmas.” Ruth’s brow furrowed as she shook her head no and looked into her purse for a tissue to blow her nose. Merle, a round bellied man, shook HIS head “yes” and picked up a huge turkey to look at the price presumably to make the purchase.

“”Ham…Christmas Ham” said a short lady with bright orange fingernail polish.
“Christmas is all about having a Christmas Ham on the table! “she said emphatically. “Jerry and I always have a Christmas ham on our table!”

The other Publix employee nodded, agreeing with Orange Fingers. A man whom I presume was Jerry, nodded to the affirmative as well as if to convince the group of the obvious fact. The others engaged in a debate as to having both meats as a compromise but I felt that Orange Fingers had been dismissed somewhat rudely by Bev; another relative, whose husband George along with her were weighing in favorably in the Turkey camp.

“We can’t get two different meats for Christmas…” said a younger woman who appeared to be Ruth’s daughter and a staunch ham supporter. I later discovered Shawna was her name and that her husband Todd was busy wiping the face of their 3 year old Zoey, sitting in the shopping cart. Shawna continued,

“We don’t have enough people to consume all this food, even when Kelly and Ray’s family get here with their three kids!” Inwardly I disagreed. Not knowing if Ruth and Merle, Orange fingers and Jerry, Bev and George and Shawna and Todd had any other children who were going to attend. Lord knows Kelly and Ray’s family could certainly put away some groceries on the Holiday’s! Shawna had obviously never held the family get together at HER house.

The debate continued to grow to a fever pitch, with Todd getting into dangerous territory with his mother-in-law Ruth looking at her and asking flippantly, “Why do you have to be so disagreeable?” Merle chuckled as did George. Tempers began to flare and the two Publix employees excused themselves so they could call the S.W.A.T. team if necessary.

It was evident that there needed to be an intervention. This is a job for an ENFP! Pressing my cart into the center of the circle and looking intently at a Turkey as if shopping for one, the group grew quiet as I rummaged through the birds and then, I looked at the most natural allies I would have in the group (Orange finger and Ruth) and said, “Why not have a Christmas Goose?” I smiled and realized, my work was done here. I began to move away as silently as I had appeared, content that I had contributed…peace on earth, good will toward men!

Ruth blinked at me, wiping her nose with the tissue she had fished out of her purse. Orange fingers, the other ally I had counted on, exclaimed, “Hey! What ABOUT a Christmas goose?” Shawna looked at me and a smile broke out on her face. She came over to the side of the cooler I was on and said, “Hey! How are you?! and gave me a big side hug like we had been long lost friends. Now I was confused and a little panicked. Immediately in my mind, the FBI facial recognition software that is wet wired into my brain began to scan all the faces in my memory banks trying to remember who this Shawna was. Was she a former tile customer?

Shawna looked at Todd and Ruth and said, “Y’all remember Kelly’s Uncle Troy?!” Ruth studied me as did Todd and then Todd shook my hand and said, “How ya doin’ man?!” I smiled nervously, trying to decide if I was going to tell them of their error, or if I was now sitting at the kids table this year at the Christmas get together in the role of Kelly’s Uncle Troy.

“I’m doin good!” I said and looked behind me to see if my way was blocked. It was. George and Bev had closed in behind me. There was no escape. I decided to fess up because the earlier you fess up the better your chances of getting a minimum sentence…just ask Robert Mueller.

“I’m not…” but those were the only words that got out of my mouth. George and Bev, evidently remembered Uncle Troy too and asked me if I was coming to the family get together. Now I was stuck I thought. Everyone is going to be embarrassed when they discover their mistake and then of course, ask me who I thought I was sticking my nose into the family Christmas dinner. It was just going to be a “drive by suggestion”, but now I was in the game and the crowd was watching.

“I don’t think I can this year” I stuttered to my own amazement, realizing at any moment now, someone would discover their error and label me an imposter.
Bev said, “Well I think a Christmas Goose is a really good compromise!” Ruthie (she told me to call her Ruthie) said she agreed. Merle was all smiles and said “You’d better be there!” Todd agreed and said he was making his “special” Egg Nog and gave me a knowing wink. (Note, I have learned that you do not wink in Tennessee especially at other men if you know what’s good for you. I was embarrassed and disappointed at Todd for his Southern social faux paus!) All this time Orange fingers had been strangely silent and continued to eye me over as if she couldn’t place me at the last family get together. “No Kidding!” I thought to myself…”I’m not Uncle Troy!” At this point I made a bold move and began backing out of the circle of trust because I knew; any second, Robert DeNiro was going to show up, give me a polygraph test and discover I was not Gaylord Focker.

Even though Bev’s cart tried to hold me there, I kept smiling and continued backing out and I said that I had to go, because I was going to be late for work. This was my first mistake.

Shawna, frowned and tilted her head sideways and asked, “Did you move to Nashville from Boulder?” Why did I not remember that Uncle Troy lived in Boulder?! I thought to myself.

“You mean Indiana…” I blurted out stupidly, correcting where I had moved from. She said something else about Colorado, but I pretended to misunderstand her, and kept walking backwards shouting back, “I sure will…you too!” waving goodbye. Frantically I began pushing my cart down the cat food aisle FAST! Reaching the end of the aisle, I ditched my buggy, (Northern Translation: shopping cart- Spanish Translation: “No Ninos en la Canasta!”), and literally ran out the door leaving my chicken breast and organic bone chicken broth and egg noodles behind.

Reaching my car, I could not start the ignition fast enough. I made sure to make a quick turn onto I-65 South to the Cool Springs exit as a slick getaway move, made another quick right and ducked (no pun intended) into Kroger. Sure that no one had followed me, I then went to purchase what I had left behind in Publix.

There were various groups of people talking to each other there too, but I was sure that Ruthie, Merle, Bev and George, Shawna and Todd, Orange Fingers and Jerry had sent out an APB to be on the lookout for an Uncle Troy impersonator. I pulled my collar around my face and did not talk to anyone.

I discovered they don’t sell Goose as an option in the meat department at Publix. The police are looking for someone fitting my description

“Be on the look out for a man making fowl suggestions in the meat department.”

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