What’s in YOUR wallet … er, package?
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“Have you ever gone to a clinic to buy condoms?” I asked Husband-Head honestly while he was watching TV the other evening.
Husband-Head slowly turned his head and gave me that look which literally translates into “What the HELL are you talking about now?”
“Do you ever stop asking really weird questions right while I’m trying to watch ‘American Pickers’?” Husband-Head countered.
But I asked because I had been on the phone with my mother earlier and the subject of condoms had come up.
My mother – a devout 75-year-old Mormon woman – lives in South Carolina and volunteers several days a week at a local health clinic. This is very much in keeping with her personality and her beliefs. Her job at the clinic, however, is a little surprising.
She is in charge of distributing condoms to those who request them.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but my sister and I get a big kick out of it because, let’s just say that sex – the “S” word – was not mentioned much when we were growing up.
However, now that we’re all older, it seems to be OK to say the “S” word. In hushed voices, or in Pig Latin … with all the drapes drawn in the house…
“Did I tell you what happened at the clinic today?” Mom asked.
Oh no. Not again.
Not long ago, she had told me a story about how some guy had come up and asked for a package of condoms.
“We have different kinds – skins, colored and tuxedos,” she explained to me. “He didn’t say which kind or size he wanted.”
“What are ‘tuxedos’?” I asked, having never heard that term.
“Those are the black ones,” Mom whispered into the phone.
The man took the condoms and drove off, but was back within minutes.
“He said they were too small and he wanted to return them,” Mom said. “He must’ve been trying them on in the parking lot!”
I could only imagine that returning condoms was, like, right up there with trying to return used underwear.
“What did you do?” I asked Mom curiously.
“I gave him a box of extra-large and told him to give the others to his friends!” Mom said.
I asked how she even knew what to dispense to people when they asked for the condoms.
“I don’t. And I don’t want to discuss it.” she admitted. “I just give them what I think they need.”
The idea of Mom looking someone up and down and assessing what size and color of condoms they might need made me laugh, although I didn’t even want to ask what her criteria was…
“Did you realize that Mom can judge what size condom a guy wears just from looking at him?” I asked my sister.
“That’s no big deal,” my sister said simply. “Everyone knows you look at their feet.”
In this latest incident, a guy from the local Naval Base came by the clinic to pick up a “package.”
“That’s what we call them, you know,” Mom informed me. “When someone comes in and wants condoms, they ask for a ‘package.'”
Mom sized him up and gave him a package.
A little while later, she got a call from someone at the Naval office.
“He said he sent one of his men over to pick up some health forms and he got a package of condoms,” Mom laughed, thinking it was quite funny. “But the guy didn’t tell me that – he only said he wanted a ‘package.'”
Mother, mother, mother.
But these kind of things don’t only happen to her in the clinic.
A couple of days later, Mom called to tell me that she had been shopping in a furniture store.
“I asked the guy if he had a card table,” Mom explained. “And it was weird because he stood there for a moment and had to think about it. You’d think these people would know their inventory.”
The people who work there probably DO know the inventory. But apparently, this guy was simply a customer like Mom.
“Mother, you can’t just go up to anyone and think that they work there,” I reprimanded.
“Well, people shouldn’t wear the same color shirt as the employees, is all I have to say,” Mom huffed.
At least she didn’t offer him a “package.”
– Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column runs every Thursday in the CT and Friday in the PI. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com to see more columns or purchase her book collection. Contact Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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