Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Impaled on the Horns of a Dilemma

            “I stopped off at Publix on my way home from work today.”

            “I appreciate it,” Chris answered, swallowing his mouthful of chicken smothered in mushroom gravy. “Dinner’s great!”

            “Thanks. Anyway, while I was at Publix I encountered a moral dilemma.”

            “Really? At Publix?”

            “Yes. It’s Wednesday, right?”

            “Has been all day.” He put down his fork and gave me his undivided attention. “What happened?”

            “On Wednesdays senior citizens get a 5% discount.”

            “Oh dear.” Chris tried his hardest to hide a smirk. I knew it was there.

            “I was finished checking out when I realized that the cashier had assumed that I qualified for the discount and simply gave it to me.”

            I narrowed my eyes at him when he started to chuckle.

            “This is no joking matter,” I said sternly. “Aside from the fact that I must look….” I shuddered.

            “Mature?” Chris interjected helpfully.

            I shook my head.

            “Experienced?” he suggested.

            I shook my head again and sobbed. “…old!”

            “Oh honey, you do not look old.” He had nearly thirty years of marriage behind him, and he recognized a cue when he heard one. “You’re just as beautiful as the day I met you.”

            “Um…right. As I was saying, aside from the disturbing fact that I must look elderly enough for the senior discount, I feel like I stole from Publix. I’m only 49 years old. They gave me a discount I didn’t deserve and I didn’t say anything. You see my moral dilemma?”

            “Not really, no.”

            “It wasn’t right for me to take the discount when I wasn’t old enough. I feel like I need to return that $4.16.”

            “I’m sure the cashier thought she was being nice by not asking your age. Lots of women don’t like that. She saved you the embarrassment of having to ask for the senior discount.”

            “I wouldn’t ask for the bloody senior discount because I’m not bloody old enough!”

            Chris nodded and chose the least formidable path. He popped a large bite of chicken into his mouth. “Got it. Then take the money back if you feel so strongly about it,” he mumbled.

            “But then I’d have to explain that the cashier thought I looked old so she automatically gave me the discount and the whole thing would be humiliating.” I’d thought about my dilemma for hours and hadn’t been able to come up with a solution I liked. I guess that’s the problem with moral dilemmas.

            “I don’t know what to do,” I whined miserably.

            “Good luck with that.” Chris swallowed his last bite. “I’m sorry to leave you with the dishes, but I have to…um…go finish up that …uh…paperwork that I didn’t get done before I left the office.” He kissed the top of my head as he passed by me to put his plate in the kitchen sink. “I’ll see you later.”

            “You haven’t been very helpful,” I called to his back.

            He pretended that he didn’t hear me as he jogged down the stairs to his basement office.

            So I sat there alone, contemplating impending old age, senior discounts, right and wrong. I finally reached a decision. What I decided was... to get up and do the dishes. Chicken with mushroom gravy is revolting when it gets cold and congeals. As for my moral dilemma, I decided that I would think about it tomorrow. Putting off until tomorrow is a time-honored Southern tradition that started with Scarlett O’Hara. It’s one of my favorites.

Want to know where the expression "horns of a dilemma" comes from? http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-hor2.htm            


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