I felt sorry for him, really. Here I was, tickets in hand, smile on face. Laughing, HA HA, laughing it up. Oh, not a care in the world as I spun in circles on one foot, stopping once I felt his glare on me.
He was a tiny, wide man and he had no tickets. His ROSS DRESS FOR LESS collared shirt was tucked into his black pleated pants. A brown tweed belt wrapped around his large waist. Blondeish hair sat in angry tea-party tufts on his head. Large glasses cock-eyed to one side on his face. His right leg bent slightly inward so that his posture was off-kilter, like he was trying to strike the Miss America pose but had the weight on the wrong foot.
And then there was the look. Eyebrows raised as if he were a dog at the pound. I don't think he meant to look at me like that, it couldn't have been planned. It was so authentic and pure.
I stopped my celebratory dance.
A Top 40 song pumped in the background and filled the quiet between us. The neon lights cast alternating glows on his round face and in his spectacles. Pink, blue, green, pink, blue, green.
It was me and him. Me with too many tickets, him with too little.
He scratched his leg and sniffled. I couldn't hear the sniffle, but I could tell from the way his nose squashed upwards into his glasses and upper lip curled that he indeed did so.
Probably two hundred tickets dangled in my hand. I looked down as even more tickets poured out of the game. High score. Yay.
I motioned the man over. He didn't move. Another sniffle.
I held out my fistful of tickets. He looked at them. Pink, blue, green, pink, blue, green.
I motioned to all the tickets coming out of the game. This guy clearly needed them more than I did, I thought. It would make his day, hell, it might make his year. What am I gonna do with another plastic hopping frog or Chinese finger torture dealie? Nothing. I could probably get the big pellet gun or stuffed dragon with this last haul, but it didn't matter.
Do something good, Justin. Now's your chance. This guy's got no tickets and a tweed belt.
'Ya want all these tickets, dude?' I asked in my nice-guy voice.
His eyebrows lowered and he finally spoke.
'You beat my high score, you asshole.'
He then flicked me off and walked away.
And so begins my 'Lessons Learned' blog series.
This is Lesson #1: Don't Assume Anything or Just Take the Plastic Hopping Frog.
I will be sharing as many of these Lessons with you as I can, in hopes that you'll learn from my mistakes and be an all around better person in the game of Life.
Disclaimer: Not all 'Lessons Learned' revealed here will have actually happened to me, or happened at all. I like to use my imagination, so if that perturbs you and you get perturbed by me doing so, by all means, skip my 'Lessons Learned' blog series. This particular 'Lesson Learned' was fictional.