by Jon Pine
Although gloomy gray clouds fill the Vero Beach, Florida, sky this morning, and a light rain falls, the sun is shining brightly in my heart, dear readers. Because I, too, have found it – the heretofore mythical Holy Grail of discount store artifacts (emphasis on art): The elusive Microwave/Clock with Hotdog Accent.
Its existence was first revealed here on this blog by fellow DM Refugee Robert Smith. So passionate was his dissertation that I found myself lusting after it the way a sailor long at sea lusts after… well, pretty much anything in a skirt and pumps. Such is the power of the written word. And such is the power of a great sophist like our own Robert Smith.
So I stocked up on K-rations and Grape Crush and set about to find it. Our Family Dollar is located in a busy community marketing complex, sometimes referred to by scholars as a “strip mall.” I scoured the shelves high and low, but to no avail. Fortified by bland but nourishing freeze-dried military food and sweet carbonated grapeness, I was able to resist FD’s other temptations – generic breakfast cereals, tainted Chinese toothpaste, plastic kitchenware.
I left, crestfallen. Then I remembered Vero also has a Dollar General store – Family Dollar’s deep-south, inbred cousin! Although the Dollar General seems to specialize in similar everyman delights, alas, the Microwave/Clock with Hotdog Accent was not to be found on its fluorescent-lit shelves, either. Damn the luck!
My second Grape Crush failed to console my grief. Should I move on to higher-end stores like Kmart or Walmart? The Woolworth chain, sadly, closed more than a decade ago. But then I remembered my trusty iPhone! Perhaps a Google search would help me in my sacred quest.
Eureka! Splendor, right there on the tiny screen: Vero Beach has been blessed with TWO Family Dollar stores! Oh happy day! Take that, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills! In your face, Worth Avenue, Palm Beach!
I took off so fast for the other FD I nearly spilled my Crush. My heart racing and my palms sweating, I pushed open the door, breezed past the checkout counters and began cruising the aisles. And then, there it was, just as Bob had written! Nestled in its tasteful chartreuse box with cellophane cover. Not quite marked down as low as Bob’s $2.88, but at $3.60 still an amazing bargain. I eagerly forked over a crisp five-dollar bill to the kindly check-out marm, struggling to conceal my glee lest she realize how utterly underpriced this piece de resistance was, and insist on charging me its actual worth.
Now it hangs next to the Elvis Presley clock in my studio. Purchased during a visit to Graceland with Bob’s lovely wife, the Elvis clock’s swiveling hips and legs had, over time, slowed to a mere vibration. Nevertheless, it was my most chic accoutrement. That is, until today.
And guess what? Elvis’ hips have begun to swivel again! It’s a Family Dollar miracle! (As evidence, you’ll notice the legs are a blur in the photograph). It’s as if the King of Rock is as overjoyed with his new wall mate as I am. In fact, I think I’ll do a little dance myself. Thank you, Bob, for bringing the joy back into our lives.
But you’re right – that fucking thing is loud!
© 2009 Jon Pine