2018-06-08 / Commentary

Mr. Lonely Sweat Pants Guy

40–Something

I was doing what I always do. Yes, it’s lame, but Saturday night ice cream has become a tradition around my house.

It came about when I was struggling to lose about 40 pounds. At some point during the process, I realized I could not starve myself seven-days-a-week. I needed one day to “reward” myself. I needed one day to eat country ham biscuits in the morning, Oreos all day, an entire large three-topping pizza for dinner, and of course the pièce de résistance, wash it all down with Mr. Scotty Mayfield’s wonderful product.

Sure, I probably wiped out two or three days worth of dieting, but it kept me sane...and happy. The rest of the family didn’t mind either because six-days-a-week they got to keep eating what I couldn’t finish on Saturday.

I lost the weight and kept the tradition that lovingly became known as “Super Saturday.” I’m not technically dieting any more, but I do try to eat right...at least most days during the week, but I’m a traditional guy, and Super Saturday is now a solid family tradition.

So, like clockwork, I make my trip to the grocery store every Saturday to load up on chocolate and cookie dough. Sometimes the selection varies, but the trip never does.

Fortunately, at least one of my three kids is with me 90 percent of the time when I take these trips. The looks I get when I’m purchasing nothing but cartons of ice cream aren’t quite as weird when children are involved. We can tell folks we’re supplying a birthday party or family gathering, and the clerks never know we’re actually just satisfying my gluttonous habit.

That, however, was not the case last Saturday night.

I’d gotten so accustomed to buying four or five cartons of ice cream every weekend that I didn’t realize how my current circumstance might be perceived.

I was alone...in sweat pants...without a wedding ring. Yeah, some guy in black socks, sandals, and Bermuda shorts combing Holden Beach with a metal detector probably has my wedding ring. I forgot to take it off before charging into the ocean last summer. A couple of waves later, and it was sinking into the Atlantic.

It didn’t occur to me this young female grocery clerk was being a little too nice until I saw myself in the reflection of the sliding glass exit doors. Without a wedding ring, I looked like Mr. Lonely Sweat Pants Guy out for a “wild” Saturday night with a giant bag of ice cream. All I needed to complete the ensemble were a copy of “When Harry Met Sally” and some Fancy Feast for my best buddy, Fluffy the cat.

As I stared at myself, I realized the clerk was not showering me with kindness but with sympathy.

She felt sorry for me.

Suddenly, I was very thankful my wife was waiting in the car for me in the parking lot, the kids couldn’t wait for me to get home, and I had two dogs and no cats.

Sure, I still wasn’t exactly the “Most Interesting Man in the World,” but I did have my ice cream.

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