There are times in our lives when we hear of experiences that are so surreal or other-worldly, that we wonder if they really occurred. Did Moses really see a burning bush? Did Mohammad really see God in a cave? Did Christian Bale really freak out on-set like that?
In the same tradition as these events I've just listed, something similar happened to me waiting in the check-out line at Walmart.
As a side-note, for someone that consistently rips on Walmart, and professes disgust with everything relating to the store, I sure go there a lot. Does this say more about the store, or myself? I'm sure I don't know either.
Our older boy was turning 4 years old, and we needed to get him a new bike, as he'd out-grown the previous one. We shopped around at all of the local stores for the cheapest bike. After visiting Fred Meyer, Shopko, and K-mart, we found that the average price of a 16" kids bike was $413. Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but it was ridiculous.
So we hit the Walmart, and found a Huffy for 46 bucks. Now I realize I'm a poor parent for purchasing my son a Huffy, but I'm not going to spend $120 dollars on a bike that will most likely get backed over by our Suburban, or end up getting left out in every major snow-storm. If a store sold a bike that was just labeled "bike" and not painted, I would purchase it to save a few bucks.
As we waited in the cashiers line to pay for the bike, the gentleman standing in front of us decided to strike up a conversation with us. I don't understand this, as I try to look as unfriendly as possible. Perhaps alcohol was already flowing freely in his system.
As the guy looked like George Carlin in his 20's, with crack scabies and definitely un-showered, I quickly shielded my youngest from the spittle droppings every time he stumbled across the letter P.
He looked at my 1 year old son, and said "Looks like you got a new bike."
"Yeah, we usually start them out with riding before walking." I said.
Actually I didn't say that, but the un-feeling Republican half of my mind tried to make me.
Instead my wife and I feigned conversation with the guy until we realized he had to send his buddy back for Coors Light instead of Bud Light. (I tended bar for 5 years, and only the truest redneck could tell the difference)
We ended up switching to the next aisle as it appeared to be moving faster.
What transpired next was amazing.
A large overweight man resembling John Kruk with a goatee walked by George Carlin's aisle. Carlin hollered over to the guy, and Kruk looked back at him with aggression, wondering why some stranger would impede his journey to find the latest issue of "Tattoo" magazine.
Kruk -- What do you want?
Carlin -- Hey, were you in that movie--Over the Top?
Me -- (I braced for the fight to begin. I could only imagine the fists flying, tic tacs and certs scattering across the floor. It would be well worth the visit to Walmart.)
Kruk -- No I wasn't, but everybody asks me that. (beaming with pride)
Me -- (What?? Who else in the world would ask you that?)
Carlin -- Oh. I totally thought you were that guy in the movie.
Me -- (You mean Bull Hurley?)
Kruk -- Yeah, after the first 400 people asked me that, I decided to go get a t-shirt that said "Arm wrestling champion."
Do you realize the cumulative probability in this whole concerto playing out?
Odds that you stop a stranger in Walmart without hair-pulling breaking out: 153,000 to 1
Odds that 401 people have actually seen Over the Top, and remember the villain: 263,000 to 1
Odds that you ask a stranger if they are a very unattractive movie star: 8600 to 1
Odds that someone would take pride in resembling Bob "Bull" Hurley in 2009: 426,000 to 1
Odds that a Walmart patron would purchase an "Arm Wrestling champion" t-shirt: 2 to 1
The fact that all of these things took place in succession defies all belief.
Luckily I didn't see a "in case of rapture, vehicle is unmanned" bumper sticker on the way home, or I would have been down to visit Father Mulcahy for some last-minute penance.