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Crucial omitted detail: He was wearing bright red shorts and had tucked a yellow Polo shirt into them.

[ 199 ] October 11, 2013 |

SEK was driving to the Winn-Dixie, about a block away from his house, when a man ran into the street waving his arms wildly. SEK pulled over, thinking the man’d just chopped off some vital extremity with his lawnmower or something.

SEK: You need help?

MAN: Hey, you don’t live around here, do you?

SEK: I — are you all right?

MAN: I don’t know you.

SEK: I live just around the corner (SEK said, pointing to his domicile).

MAN: Your music was really loud.

SEK: I’m deaf, so sometimes it gets a little loud. Sorry about that, I’ll try to —

MAN: What’s with your hat? Is that a gang thing?

SEK: !?!

MAN: Well?

SEK: It’s a lazy thing. Didn’t feel like combing my hair this morning. I’ve gotta get back home soon, get to work, you know?


And SEK drove off. On the way home, this Zimmermaning neighbor waved at SEK as he drove by.


Comments (199)

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  1. rea says:

    MAN: Your music is really loud.
    ALTERNATIVE SEK: So are your clothes.

  2. sharculese says:

    Ah yes, the traditional mating plumage of Homo southernus.

    • sharculese says:

      Females will select a mate by determining which male most rigidly confirms to stereotypical notions of masculinity. The more garishly plumed males are assumed to have the least respect for concepts such as design, or color coordination.

      When conflict arises, males compete for dominance and the attention of the females by ostentatious displays of disdain for all things feminine, as well as an esoteric ritual experts refer to as ‘sports trivia.’

      • sharculese says:

        Although Homo southernus typically mate for life, paradoxically, acquisition of a long-term mate by one of the males may lead to loss of status or even ostracism from the pack.

        This male, having inadvertently revealed to absorbing his partner’s fondness for the television program Grey’s Anatomy, has been driven from the group with ritualized cries of ‘whipped’ and ‘queer.’ To regain his position, he must resort to out-sized displays of aggression, in this case by deliberately overcooking slabs of meat over an open flame.

        • The Dark God of Time, AKA DA says:

          Flavored with overpriced, oversugared, oversalted material known as BBQ sauce.

        • Bartleby says:

          These are great comments. Well done.

        • Trollhattan says:

          A. Hey now, watch that “homo” stuff.
          II. I think I have a potential girlfriend for lawnwatch dude but she’s just an honorary Southerner, so there are geographical challenges to overcome.

          BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A woman is charged with felony drunken driving after police in Billings, Mont., say she called 911 and said she was too drunk to get out of her vehicle.

          The Billings Gazette reports ( ) 55-year-old Carol Frances Omeara made an initial appearance in Yellowstone County Justice Court on Wednesday. She remained jailed Thursday on $3,000 bond.

          Omeara was arrested Tuesday night after a woman called dispatchers and said she couldn’t get out of her vehicle.

          The dispatcher asked if she was having medical or mechanical issues. Court records say the caller replied that she was too drunk.

          Prosecutors say Omeara’s blood-alcohol level was 0.311 percent, nearly four times the limit at which a driver is considered legally intoxicated. The Billings woman had the keys to the vehicle in her pocket.

          Court records say Omeara has three previous DUI convictions.

          • cpinva says:

            i’m amazed she was even conscious enough to dial 911. with that level of alcohol in he bloodstream, she should have been in a coma. the difference between an amateur and professional alcoholic, I suppose.

            • The Dark God of Time, AKA DA says:


              Bulgarian doctors tested a man’s blood-alcohol level five times before accepting it was 0.914 – nearly twice the amount considered to be life-threatening.

              The 67-year-old man landed in hospital on Dec. 20 after a car knocked him off his feet in the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, police and doctors said Tuesday.

              A breath test indicated blood-alcohol levels so high that police thought their equipment was broken, because the man remained conscious and talked with them.

              The head of Plovdiv police, Col. Angel Rangelov, said five separate lab tests taken the same day confirmed the man’s blood-alcohol level of 0.914.

              A blood-alcohol level of 0.55 is considered potentially fatal.

              In comparison, the Bulgarian man’s level was more than 11 times higher than the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers in Canada, which is 0.08.

            • Trollhattan says:

              Definitely pro-level performance. That kind of BAC kills prospective fratboys during rush. Wonder whether she’s achieved the Boehner orange glow?

        • rea says:

          Homo southernus typically mate for life

          Close observation reveals this to be inaccurate; however, the male of the species is typically serially monogamous.

  3. Mark says:

    I’m a lurker who never comments, but I must this time, just to complement SEK’s taste in music.

  4. Barry Freed says:

    SEK: I live just around the corner (SEK said, pointing to his domicile).

    I’m concerned for you, my friend. NOW HE KNOWS WHERE YOU LIVE!

  5. Linnaeus says:

    What hat were you wearing?

  6. joe from Lowell says:

    What’s up with the hat and the music?

    You’re one of those riot grrl gangsters, aren’t you?

  7. Vance Maverick says:

    I’d like to single out the opening here for admiration:

    SEK was driving to the Winn-Dixie, about a block away from his house

    Could any framing be more concise? For this reader, “Winn-Dixie” is a pure genre signifier, like gas “fires” that take “shillings” in midcentury English novels, but it’s a flavorful one.

  8. bspencer says:

    What a stupid post. I can’t believe you’re wasting our time with this frivolous shit. You’re a front-pager? Geez, you should pack up your shit and quit blogging forever. You’re a terrible person. I hate that you took my hand and forced me to click on this post. I especially hate that you held my eyelids open with toothpicks leaving me no choice but read your idiocy.

    Oh wait. SEK is a dude? Oh, well, then nevermind. Carry on.

  9. Anderson says:

    See, real Southerners are friendly. They’ll chat you up before they shoot you. (Unless you’re black.)

  10. Manta says:

    “Zimmermaning neighbor”: was he packing heat?

  11. Major Kong says:

    I was in Springfield Missouri a while back.

    When I was eating dinner at a restaurant I noticed a large table full of young men, probably in their 20s.

    They were all dressed in jeans, work boots, a t-shirt with either a Harley Davidson logo or something hunting related and a baseball cap, likewise with a logo.

    They might as well all have been wearing a uniform.

  12. Sherm says:

    He should have yelled at you for driving one block to the store rather than walking.

  13. Johnny Sack says:

    I grew up in Florida and yet I still think it’s hilarious that there’s a southern grocery store named Winn-Dixie. I’ll take a Pube Licks when I can.

    I don’t think I’ll ever move somewhere without a nearby Wegmans now. Growing up I never realized grocery stores were allowed to be that good, and I don’t want to lose it.

    • Lee Rudolph says:

      Where, oh where is the love for Piggly Wiggly???

      (ObThreadTie: checking the spelling, I learn from the corporate website that PW was “America’s first true self-service grocery store”. Wow.)

    • ironic irony says:

      I’m a displaced Yankee in Florida, and having lived in the South during my enlistment (and my husband’s Army career), nothing beats Food Lion for grocery store nastiness. Nothing.

      • ChrisTS says:

        Oh god. There is one on Topsail Island, NC, and it is the worst of the worst. We don’t even go in there because the ‘vegetables’ and ‘fruit’ might reach out and consume us.

        • sharculese says:

          You must never have encountered a truly awful IGA.

          • Sherm says:

            Some IGA’s are excellent. Plus, where I grew up, the not so excellent IGA never carded us when we were 16, so IGA’s are generally ok in my eyes.

            • Barry Freed says:

              Thanks for that comment, this subthread was in danger of turning into the Four Yorkshiremen sketch.

            • sharculese says:

              Well yeah, the I part assures that IGAs are going to vary widely in quality. But the truly bad ones are the nastiest places I’ve ever seen.

              • The Dark God of Time, AKA DA says:

                We had one in my home town here in CA, but they’re not a chain like Safeway or Ralphs:

                IGA is a brand of grocery stores active in more than 30 countries. Contrasting with the chain store business model, IGA operates as a franchise through stores that are owned separately from the brand. Many of these stores operate in small town markets and belong to families that manage them. It was founded in the United States as the Independent Grocers Alliance. The headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois.[1]

                You probably just went to IGA stores that had shitty maintenance.

                • sharculese says:

                  Yeah, I know they’re all independently owned. That’s what I meant by ‘vary widely in quality’.

                • sharculese says:

                  Also, I should note the IGA I’m thinking of was previously a Piggly Wiggly.

                • sharculese says:

                  But that was back before the really southern grocery chains started to disappear from Atlanta.

                • The Dark God of Time, AKA DA says:

                  Here in California there were chains like Mayfair, Brentwood, statewide, and in the San Francisco Bay Area there were some local chains, they usually had full deli service before it became the norm for the larger trans-state chains.

                  The IGA here had to compete with a large independent grocery store and a Safeway until the late 50s, so they had to be clean. Californians have a low toleration for filth, outside the political system.

      • Rigby Reardon says:

        All the HEB stores in Austin, Texas that I’ve seen are easily Food Lion-bad.

        • Shwell Thanksh says:

          I’m guessing you are probably completely unaware that the posh and upscale “Central Market” grocery stores here are HEBs too (or perhaps have never been inside one).

          To steal a quote from Bobby Hill, “Dad! Dad! They have eight kinds of ketchup, and three kinds of catsup!” Also too: very fresh arugula.

        • Shell Goddamnit says:

          This term “bad” applied to grocery stores…what does it mean, exactly? It’s like “drives nice” in regard to cars. People often mean, apparently, that the car is quiet and rides smoothly, while for me “drives nice” means that it moves fast and is agile, and fuck all that smooth and quiet shit. So I’m wondering if a lot of people want something entirely different from their grocery stores than I do, which is 1) decent produce, including the markers: kale and flat italian parsley and 2) adequate meat, including non-frozen fresh chicken and 3) a dairy case that doesn’t stink and keeps the dairy items cold. I just haven’t seen the HEBs as bad stores. Is it the lighting? Your fellow shoppers? What’s actually better that isn’t Upmarket Whole Central? I mean, I like Fiesta okay too, but it’s not much better than HEB.

    • Sargasso Sink says:

      What about Harris-Teeter? Since you said “Pube Licks,” I feel comfortable sharing that H-T makes me think “Harry T*ts.” That’s probably just me. Still, it’s a funny name.

      • cpinva says:

        rumor has it that piggly-wiggly and harris-teeter once considered merging, with the resulting entity to be named “Piggly-Wiggly Teeters”. fortunately, for the quality level of stand-up comedy everywhere, the merger never went through.

        i’ll go sit in the corner in shame.

    • bspencer says:

      Wegmans is the best place on earth. Srsly.

      Although I recently visited my first Whole Paycheck and kinda wanted to move in.

      • Lee Rudolph says:

        Sometime or other in the last decade, I had occasion to be put up in an extended-stay motel (for, as it happened, a not particularly extended stay) a few blocks away from the Whole Foods mothership.

        Dear god, it is huge. Providence has a small Whole Foods, and a large Whole Foods. The fresh produce section at the Austin store is larger than the large Providence store.

        Pity that the owner is such an asshole.

        • bspencer says:

          The Whole Foods I went to was small…but had some of the most gorgeous produce I’d ever seen.

          Wegmans has a ginormous produce section. That’s why it’s the best place on earth.

          • Sherm says:

            I stopped in there last Spring to pick up some organic jelly beans for my son (it was my first time in the store), and was pretty damn impressed. I wondered around inside thinking, “damn, I really need to reconsider my boycott.”

          • Matt_L says:

            Wegmans is easily the best grocery store in the known Universe. I miss it terribly. They are far superior to any Whole Foods I have ever visited. I think of the emptiness of my life now that I do not live near a Wegmans. The absence of Whole Foods has never filled me with existential doubt.

            The Price Chopper in Binghamton NY is the best for people watching.

      • JoyfulA says:

        Yes, Wegmans. I went there yesterday for apples. The biggest selection and lowest price, in the nicest grocery store environment ever. (As I approached checkout, an employee dashed over to a closed register: “I can help you here!”)

        If only I had a Trader Joe’s closer than 60 miles north, 60 miles south, or 100 miles east.

      • News Nag says:

        I’ll share my pet name for it- Whole Foods Markup. If I had my druthers, every Whole Foods would be filled floor to ceiling with imported organic vomit.

      • Canandaigua says:


        Though it may lose a star depending on how the part timers
        make out on the exchanges.

  14. njorl says:

    SEK: I live just around the corner (SEK said, pointing to his domicile).

    MAN: Your music was really loud.

    You have to play it really loud if you want to hear it out in your car. Even so, I get a 1/4 mile from home and I can’t hear it at all.

  15. joe from Lowell says:

    Pro Tip: you can play Ministry as loud as you want, and nobody says shit to you.

  16. liberalrob says:

    I just love the fact that this gentleman thought flagging down a potential gangster thug for playing his music too loud while driving in the neighborhood would have no possible repercussions. That’s real Darwin Awards stuff, there.

  17. Shakezula says:

    MAN: Hey, you don’t live around here, do you?

    If he was white, this would have been the point where my flight or flight reflexes kicked in.

  18. Halloween Jack says:

    Did he threaten to put All Hands On The Bad One?

  19. JimmyZ says:

    In the neighborhood where I live, there was this inconsiderate chap who would impose the sounds of his automobile’s stereo system upon everyone within a mile radius. Even though he had no trouble walking, he would use his automobile to go to the store, only a mile away. I thought that had to be because he liked to impose upon others with excessively loud music, when an iPod would have sufficed for a pedestrian on a short walk. So I tried to talk to him and imply that he was not behaving as neighborly as he should be – I thought that if I simply commanded him to stop bothering everyone who had to live around his loud music, he would not do so. He acted as if I was the one with the problem. He told me the weakest of all possible excuses in the most condescending manner possible. I was taken aback with incredulity towards him. It shames me, but with such compulsion I subtly insulted his poor grooming and superfluous hat visor, which was worn towards the back in the stereotypical inconsiderate douche bro style. He didn’t get it.

  20. LuigiDaMan says:

    One word: Move.

  21. TapirBoy1 says:

    On the one hand, I am very sorry things like this continually happen to you, since you seem like a nice man and I enjoy your writing.

    On the other hand, I am grateful things like this continually happen to you since I enjoy your writing.

  22. Manju says:

    Crickets are chirpin’, the water is high
    There’s a soft cotton dress on the line hangin’ dry
    Strange fruit, Southern trees
    Bent over backwards from a hurricane breeze
    No word of hello, nothing of the sort
    Coming from the man
    In the bright red shorts

    Somebody seen him hanging around
    On SEK”s lawn, on the outskirts of town
    He looked into his eyes when he stopped him to ask
    If he lived around here, he had a face like a flask
    Somebody said, he answered to “Schwartz”
    He peed on himself
    And his bright red shorts

  23. KadeKo says:

    South Park’s latest has a title referring to Zimmerman. Anyone seen it?

    I’m hoping someone can tell me it’s not a waste of my time, given Parker and Stone’s “non-agenda” agenda and low signal-to-noise ratio.

  24. STH says:

    Do Suwanee Swifty stores still exist? I worked in one for a while when I was attending Florida State. Not the best job I’ve had, but not the worst, either.

    Had a conversation with my honey today about Southern food because we have a friend that’s in North Carolina doing a bike ride.

    Me: Hopefully he’s stocking up on Moon Pies and boiled peanuts while he’s in the South.

    Partner, who’s from the UK: I don’t have any idea what you just said; I’d starve to death in the South, wouldn’t I?

    Me: No, no, Southern people are proud of their rep for hospitality, they’d feed you.

    Partner: Then they’d shoot you.

  25. […] SEK’s NEIGHBOR? The one who thought SEK belonged to a gang because of his backward hat? Well, this morning SEK […]

  26. […] and SEK is rolling home from the store with a car full of cat litter and sushi when he spots his HAT-HATING NEMESIS wearing a hat while taking out the […]

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