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The Bang Bang Theories

Played The Game

Last Saturday I visited Sophie. Sometime this summer, her friend Ruth who lives down the street told her that the local grocery store, I.G.A., was selling canning jars for $12 a dozen. That, People, is a DOLLAR A JAR, and Sophie’s head almost exploded by that news. She was so bothered by this that she went so far as to call I.G.A and get the facts for herself. While they weren’t $12, they were $7.99 plus tax, and the lady on the phone did the exact calculation for her reported back the total cost for a dozen canning jars.

Sophie’s brain must have been spinning. She has DOZENS of canning jars in the basement, so she of course saw dollar signs on her little goldmine. She mentioned to me that she’d like to put ’em out at the end of the driveway with a For Sale sign, but I just pretended not to hear this request and muttered something along the lines of “good luck with that.” I just knew if I got involved with that, I would be venturing into her cobwebby basement, which scares the living fuck outta me, cleaning and polishing jars, making signs, and then some yahoo would drive by, steal the jars and I would somehow need to compensate her for them. Not too far fetched of a scenario, Reader.

Well, as luck would have it, she read in the “Wanted” section of her little local newspaper that someone was looking to purchase canning jars. She called the number jackrabbit fast and the transaction was arranged. Now, all sorts of bad coulda broke – she’s an old woman (92), inviting strangers into her home, etc etc. But she did have the foresight to call my father, who’s two doors away and let him know when they were on their way over. It was a man and woman, in their fifties or so. Ever cautious, my father did a “drive by” and took down their license plate number in the event something went awry. There was a whole lotta activity going down on that little piece of country land.

Sophie managed to sell eight dozen canning jars for $4.50 a dozen. JACKPOT! If the story only ended there.

For my faithful reader who knows the stories of Sophie, she’s always working some sort of angle to get something for nothing. We’ll never know what actually transpired in that house during the Great Jar Sale of ’09. But I do know this: Whatever went down, whatever was said, somewhere along the lines this couple felt compelled to come back and bring her two sackfuls of groceries. Sophie proudly showed me the list, she wrote everything that they gave her down on a scrap of paper. It went something like this:

2 halves of watermellon (sic)
5 large onions
2 bag noodles
1 great big head cabbage

I can’t even remember what else, and don’t want to make stuff up, but lemme tell you, it was a lot. She tried to give me a bag of noodles, but I refused to take ’em. If she wove a story so dire that they brought her food, she can keep the goods for herself.

The woman also told her to call her if she ever gets lonely or needs to go to the store or any other little thing she may need. I can just hear that couple twittering (not Twittering) about her on their way home: “What a darling little old lady! She’s on her own! No family to look after her! Look at how good she does for herself! Selling her basement jars for a little extra money!!!”

People, if you only knew. I called Sophie on it, I asked her if she painted a picture of a dire little old lady, all alone in this world with barely enough to get by on, and she just shrugged her shoulders and turned away. She’s a player. A 92 year old player.

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