Simon didn’t like confrontation. It was, then, perhaps a little unwise, a little nearsighted, that he had chosen to spend his summers as a clerk at the Acme grocery near his parents’ house, where he spent most of his summer vacation monitoring the self-checkout stations at the front of the store. One of the first things Simon had learned during his first summer as a sales clerk–now five years ago–was how to finesse any and all packaging across the scanner. Simon thought anyone who wanted to use the self-checkout station should have to go through the same sort of training: it would sure minimize the number of times the scanner got kicked at, cussed out, pounded on, and it would definitely eliminate all malice toward Simon, who always tried to intervene whenever the scanner got the better of a customer. Simon of course knew there was no where to establish and enforce any kind of customer training; he had seen how Gary, the manager, had tried to train customers to bring their own reuseable bags. That program had started three years ago, and Simon knew for a fact that Acme still spent more than a thousand dollars each year on plastic bags because no one was interested in saving the earth. So Simon was thinking about taking up boxing lessons and adding “pugilist” to his resume.


There is nothing so salutary, at the end of the day, as a nice tall glass of Southern Comfort and ginger ale. Or Southern Comfort and tonic. Or Southern Comfort and Coke. Or, really, Southern Comfort and anything, as long as it comes in a tall glass with no strings attached. Southern Comfort is, perhaps, a strange beverage of choice for a Midwestern gal, but it’s Southern Comfort that makes my fingertips numb, my mind tingly, my toes spry. It’s Southern Comfort that gives me a little distance from the anxiety of being a part-time stay-at-home parent for a diabetic cat and a skittish kitten, a little depth for the evenings of writing, editing, and revising. It’s Southern Comfort that reminds, no matter what, that I am an adult who, without human children can still afford to relax with a little alcohol, can still manage to feel numb, tingly, spry.