“…They Pull Me Back In.”

Just when I was taking a little semi-retirement from blogging, I encountered a tableau today that demanded that I share it with the masses.

Though I generally like to avoid tense and potentially violent confrontations with strangers, I couldn’t help but laugh aloud, drawing the attention of the subject of this post, when I heard her story.

It will come as no surprise to you that I was at Wal-Mart when this occurred. (As a general rule, I never shop at Wal-mart for philosophical and politically active reasons, but in this case I decided to compromise my ethics to pick up a $350 prescription for $4.) While waiting in line at the pharmacy counter, there was a young lady (we’ll call her “Lurlene”) with what I presume to be her sister in line ahead of me. I assume they were sisters, or at least related, as they shared the same long-rooted “blonde” hair, pear-shaped physique, slack-jawed countenance, and trailer park drawl. When it was their turn at the counter, the nice blue-haired old lady pharmacist in her kitty-cat scrubs was assisting them. The pharmacist commented on Lurlene’s tattoo, asking her what it meant. On her forearm Lurlene had the word “BRAND” in big, bold, outlined letters. While I am usually a fan of DIY projects, this does not extend to tattoos, and this one was clearly of the “getting high after junior high and letting your friend’s brother tattoo you with a sewing needle and a ball-point pen” variety. When asked what her tattoo meant, Lurlene, responded, and I quote, “My honey’s name is Brandon, but I couldn’t take no more pain.”

I guffawed, betraying my amusement at her story. When she turned to face me I quickly looked away at the weight loss shakes and dietetic snacks in the aisle next to me. Fortunately, Lurlene didn’t address this insult, and went on her merry way with what I presume to be either methadone or the makings for meth. Maybe she’ll stop by the cooler on her way out and pick up some Keystone Light for Brandon.

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