Fear ‘n’ Loathin’ in the Supermarket

Barry Dagman's Diaries 

Y’KNOW WHAT I like best about diaries? They’re private. You can write anything you like and nobody will ever know. I can write anything about me girlfriend, me job or me mates, and then I hide me diary under me laundry cos that’s the safest place in me room (trust me — no-one’s gunna wanna touch that!) And I hide it cos of me one great fear: Sheree. 

Talking about fears, I’ll tell ya a secret: me other great fear — only don’t go blabbing cos nobody ever admits to fear — is that I’m scared shitless of supermarkets. Yep. And why I’m telling youse this is cos I’m standing here right now in front of the toothpaste aisle! Straight up, there’s a toothpaste aisle! A whole fukking aisle with toothpaste on it. There’s so much toothpaste, I think it would take up three walls of me bedroom and just leave room fer the window! It’s just toothpaste, fer Chrissakes. How many different ways can there be to make toothpaste? 

When I was an ankle-biter, there was hardly any toothpaste. We had Macleans or Colgate, spearmint or peppermint, small or large; some powder stuff fer smokers; and sweet stuff fer us kids that me mum didn’t get cos I used to eat it. Instead she got me the one I didn’t like and so I didn’t use it and I got holes in me teeth instead. 

So I’m looking at the different types of toothpaste and a nagging fear hits me: What if I gets the wrong one? 

You might say it’s only toothpaste, but if they was all the same, why’s there so many different ones? D’you remember that bloke on the telly with the car engine oil? “Oils ain’t Oils,” he said.

I’m standing here and I’m reading the labels:

Sensitive. Yeah, right! Right poofta more like! 

Or with bicarb of soda. Have you tasted bicarb? It’s shit! So that one’s out. 

Pearly Whites. Too late, mate. 

Extra fluoride. Hmmmmm… maybe? 

Stripey! Now that’s more like it! 

On Special. Put the stripey one back and pick up that one. 

Stain Removal. Yeah, I really could do with that. Get that one too. 

Stain removal with bleach. What am I, a toilet? 

Oooooh look! One with Noddy on it. I remember that one. That’s the nice tasting one. I haven’t had that in years. I’ll have that one too! 

I haven’t got a basket so I’m walking down the aisle with three toothpastes in me hands when I remember we’re outta milk. So I go and get 2 litres. 

Back on the way to the checkout, I grab a loaf, which reminds me to get toilet paper. So I go back to the toothpaste aisle for the toilet paper cos they’ll put the bathroom things together, won’t they? Well, two trips up and down and I can’t find the stuff so I ask (yeh, I did!) and the girl sez: aisle 12, opposite the frozen foods. 

Yeah? What lame-brain thought of that? Get your frozen peas and arse wipe at the same time. 

See if I was designing supermarkets, I’d do it alphabetically. So if yer looking for peas, they’d be in the middle, more or less, and if yer looking fer toilet rolls, they’d be towards the end. Generally, each supermarket has about 12 aisles, so that’s about half an aisle for each letter. Easy! And some people think I’m not that smart. That’d show them. Maybe I can patent it and sell them my idea! Yeh! 

So I’m smiling to meself, sorta thinking about having some peas and having a pee on the way to aisle 12, and I start thinking about the Noddy toothpaste. I wonder if it tastes the same? No good — I gotta find out. 

I got the 2 litres under me arm and the bread dangling from me middle finger, and I shove the other toothpastes up me armpit, and I open the Noddy toothpaste. Not as easy as it sounds! Somebody has anticipated that some other body (like me) might want to sample Noddy toothpaste and made it as hard as possible to get into, sealing the whole bloody box in plastic wrap. I’ve just about got me thumb under the lid of the box and it’s stuck down with a clear glue and me thumb’s stuck and when I pull me thumb out, I get a paper cut right across the thumb crease! 

Yow! It hurts like buggery! Ram me thumb in me mouth and the milk under me arm hits the ground, the top flies off, the milk goes everywhere, and I drop the bread in it, and everyone looks at me like I’m some kinda idiot. 

Whaaaaat?! That coulda happened to anyone! 

See, that’s the real reason we have girlfriends. I tell Sheree to get me sumpthin’ and she gets it in three colours and they all fit (except the puppy-print board-shorts she got me once and I don’t know if they fit cos they never got round me bum to find out). 

Sheree loves shopping. Y’know she even goes on shopping trips where she doesn’t buy anything just so she knows where to look if she does wanta buy something one day. 

I said to her, “You’ve just spent five hours shoppin’ an’ all you’ve got is a hairbrush.”

And she sez, “I’ve been lookin’ for a good hairbrush fer ages. This one gets the tangles out. 

And I go, “They ALL get the tangles out, that’s what they do!”

Aaar, we’re right back to the toothpaste again — they all get yer teeth clean. 

I step back while some spotty kid mops up the milk and another one offers to get me a fresh one. I just stand there licking me Noddy toothpaste, and yep! It’s still good. 

The kid looks up at me and I’m foaming at the mouth, and he nods and runs and I don’t care. I got the cleanest teeth in the supermarket! Heh, heh, heh! 

article by Barry Dagman; illustration by Dr Jay Harley

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