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Jump the season at your own risk

November 18, 1999

I was walking through the supermarket over the weekend when I saw a sight that made the Dinty Moore economy sized can of beef stew slip right out of my hands.

There, right in the middle of the aisle, between the discounted Halloween candy and the tank full of anorexic lobsters was a 15-foot long mountain of red and green two-liter soda bottles decorated with artificial evergreen garland, stockings and candy canes.

Involuntarily, my left hand began to quiver. The tic in my right eyelid began to act up and I could feel my pulse begin to race.

Then, without a moment's warning and to the astonishment of fellow shoppers, I charged down the aisle as fast as I could and launched 200 pounds of human tomahawk missile directly into the heart of the display. I opened my mouth and roared like a wounded mastodon in a prehistoric tar pit as plastic bottles flew across the store.

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Fortunately, I was near the utensil aisle, so I reached up and grabbed a wide-grip serrated carving knife for one hand and a spring-loaded dual cutting action anchovy filleter for the other and tore wildly into the plastic bottles, sending geysers of spraying foam towering toward the ceiling like a NASCAR winner's circle gone mad.

Panting, I sat in the middle of the destruction, looking wildly around. But I wasn't finished. Oh no. I took three long strides and dove on my stomach down the trash bag/ethnic food aisle on a sheen of spilled soda, sending a sparkling rooster tail of effervescence from each outstretched arm until I came to rest at the checkout, where green and red crepe was draped from each register to the ceiling.

I leaped up, screamed and ripped open my shirt. I saw the manager running out of his office, so I had to act fast. I tore open a Bic lighter and a jumbo package of C batteries. Then I fashioned a crude nerve gas bomb by mixing beef jerky (saltpeter), breath mints (sodium benzoate) and the highly reactive chemical lubrication strips off a half-dozen disposable razors. To the mix I added common doughnut holes as an inert protein-binding agent.

Then I chewed a handful of Bubble Yum for an adhesive and fastened the batteries to the mop handle I was using for the bomb canister and stuck the whole contraption on the end of a red strip of holiday bunting. Using a Camel filter cigarette as a time-delaying fuse, I set it afire with the lighter and swung the whole mass across the checkout area.

It worked perfectly. As the crepe went up spectacularly in flame, the bomb swung from register to register like a monkey on a jungle vine. As each battery became overheated and exploded, it sent a shower of disabling chemicals from one end of the store to the other.

Breathing through a torn sheet from the National Enquirer to protect my own lungs, I watched in horrified fascination at the brutal efficiency of my plan.

Coughing prodigiously and nearly overcome, the manager staggered over and said "What in the world are you doing, man?" I cuffed him by the lapel and threw him up against the paper towel display. "Sorry, pal," I said. "But I am a self-deputized member of the EARLY CHRISTMAS POLICE, and you're going down under an official charge of DWI - Decorating for Christmas When It's not even Thanksgiving yet."

And the only reason I'm telling you this story is to illustrate that I have rather strong feelings about people who are already hanging their stockings with care. And if you have your decorations up, you may want to hold off on asking me over to your house, because people tell me that sometimes I have a tendency to overreact.

As sirens began to rise and fall in the background, I turned on my heel and walked coolly out of the supermarket through the smoke and still-flickering fires. I stopped at a counter where one last clerk was still barely conscious. "Excuse me, Miss," I said brightly. "Could I trouble you to validate my "Frequent Shopper" discount voucher?"




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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