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The Runaway Grocery Cart Armageddon

August 27th, 2022 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, if we all pitch in, can we stave off Armageddon?

I went grocery shopping on Thursday afternoon as usual. I had the grocery cart filled with bags and was wheeling it through the parking lot to my car while momentarily distracted thinking about a side trip I planned to make on the way home.

A gust of wind swept up the grocery receipt, which I had tucked into one of the bags, and sent it skittering across the ground. Instinctively, I let go of the cart and started chasing the receipt. The wind kept blowing it just out of my reach. I finally managed to stamp my foot down on it so I could retrieve it.

As I did so, I heard the sound of the grocery cart rolling away. I quickly turned and realized that the parking lot slopes away from the store. Shit! Shit! Shit!, I muttered under my breath as I pictured several disastrous scenarios:

The grocery cart angling right and slamming into a car putting a sizable dent in it – in which case I would be liable for the cost.

The grocery cart angling left and running down the little old lady causing her to do a spectacular backflip before crashing to the pavement – in which case I would be calling 911 and explaining my moment of distraction to the police officer.

The grocery cart plunging straight ahead achieving terminal velocity as it reached the end of the parking lot and vaulting the curb into the street causing a multi-vehicle collision – in which case, see above.

Fortunately, I managed to chase down the cart (much to the displeasure of my temperamental back which forbids me to run) and corral it before any of these disastrous outcomes unfolded. The only damage was to my back which was in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

It occurred to me that the runaway grocery cart was a living metaphor for the state of the world today. On any given day, there are several ticking time bombs at home and around the globe that could quickly escalate with catastrophic results. Plenty of content for the 6:00 news which thrives on these events.

We elect politicians to prevent such things from happening or to wrestle them under control if they do. But the politicians insist on devoting their efforts to pretending the problem does not exist or will resolve itself, finding someone else to blame when the shit hits the fan or preparing their pre-emptive I told you so statements for the media.

So what can do? Perhaps each of us can commit to chasing down one of the runaway grocery carts that are gathering speed and merging course. None of us can solve all the problems. But all of us can help solve one problem and together staff off Armageddon.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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