Uptown Rantz

Don't Wanna Be No Uptown Fool

I Should’ve Bought the Damn Popcorn

“No, thank you,” I said to the little Cub Scout without even really looking at him. He was skinny with bony knees, messy hair and was probably in the second grade. He asked me if I wanted to buy some flavored popcorn and said the money goes to the Cub Scouts. I almost didn’t go into Kowalski’s when I saw him outside the entrance.

I walked inside and then turned around to watch him. He was earth tone from head-to-toe in the khaki uniform with knee-length shorts and green socks. I’ve seen kids his age doing much cooler things like skateboarding, playing soccer, and maybe this Cub Scout spends his other weekends doing those things too for all I know. But today he was awkwardly trying to sell popcorn and getting rejected over and over again. He would approach someone and they would wave him off before he even finished a sentence. Just like I did.

My Sunday was waking up at around 12:30PM, creeping around on Facebook and then watching the sole season of Saved By The Bell – The College Years, on Hulu. I didn’t even shower, let alone put on a clean shirt before driving the two blocks to Kowalski’s to buy some ice cream that I didn’t even really want. I couldn’t even manage to walk the two blocks on a sunny afternoon.

And this kid, on a Sunday afternoon, put on his Cub Scout uniform, had his parents drive him to Kowalski’s where he set up the table with fold-out legs and a home-made sign. He displayed the various bags of flavored popcorn and managed to approach adult strangers and ask them to spend money on something they really didn’t want. At that age, I could barely talk to adults that I knew, and rejection of any sort reduced me to tears.

I got home, sat down on my couch in my dirty t-shirt. The pint of Blue Bell sat on the kitchen counter in its paper bag. I felt bad about not buying the popcorn. I know the feelings of alone and helplessness, and they have nearly destroyed me at times in the past. I thought that kid likely felt helpless and alone, and maybe I was making too much out of it . . . over-thinking it. Either way, I shot up from my chair with my first burst of energy all day. I ran out the door and didn’t even bother to shut it behind me. I had $15.00 cash in my hand and was ready to buy as much popcorn as that would allow. I slowed down as I approached the parking lot. He wasn’t there. He had packed up and left.

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