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–In which our hero is accosted late at night and forced to listen to uninsightful blather as his provisions are bagged.

As anybody who’s read these essays or any of my other writings knows, I have a lot to say, and I know it may not be to everybody’s tastes. But this is the Web, I’m not bagging your groceries, and you can leave whenever you want. (But not now, please)

You see, last night as I was at a gas station filling up the IITBmobile, I remembered the IITBcave needed milk. I’ve been to this station before, and the 20-something clerks have been friendly, so I felt no qualms about doing a little late-night one-stop shopping. I find the milk, I pick up a sandwich because I’m hungry (and I can get 300 bonus [certain gas station chain] Rewards points).  And since it’s after midnight, there’s no wait, and I can get out and on my way quickly.

Or not. What follows is a rough reconstruction of the actual conversation the overweight, middle-aged (he told me his age) late-night gas station attendant had, as I’m tired, hungry and eager to get home, and he is holding my two gallons of milk and sub sandwich hostage as he “bags” them.

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One thing I’ve learned throughout my travels is that celebrities are just like the rest of us, only with better jobs. And yet we never cease to be surprised when one of them snaps and does something “out of the ordinary.” Trust me, Britney Spears not wearing underwear is notable only for the fact that she’s sung a couple songs you’ve heard of, and isn’t somebody’s secretary.

But for all the crimes celebrities commit (drugs, shoplifting, armed robbery, drugs, assault, drugs, battery, drugs , prostitution and trying to give up a successful acting career to “concentrate on (their) music”), the one that doesn’t seem to come up is stalking. And I’m not talking about one of us invading a famous person’s privacy repeatedly or, God forbid, killing yourself after getting booted off a TV show. I mean when someone famous actually stalks someone else.

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I’d like to apologize to all of you for all the time you’re eventually going to waste here. Not because I’m immodest enough to think you’ll be riveted by what I write (although that is my fondest hope), but because I’ll admit up front that there aren’t any animal pictures or funny videos or photos of celebrities breaking my nose as they try to steal my camera (yet!). Scientists hard at work on Research have shown those are the real reasons people surf the Web. Maybe would still be in business if they’d had some pictures of stuff on cats.

With the economy the way it is, maybe you’ve stumbled here because you were laid off and have lots of time to just browse for idiocy such as this. If this is the case, I can only assume you’re here on a break between posting “First” on the forum for the upcoming Perfect Strangers “re-imagining” and trying to figure out which of the job postings on Craigslist are legitimate. Helpful hint: you won’t find a career in the personals section.

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