“No, I’ll Manage…..”

…a surefire way to make sure that you have an accident is to say the above words to someone who offers to help you.

I got rained out of my contracting work today, so we decided to take the day and accomplish a bunch of errands including a trip to a Book store to replenish The Narrator’s supply of books- he’s outgrown most of his current library, as I’ve mentioned.

While we were out, we decided on a small treat of a fast-food lunch. A sucker for advertising, I had recently seen a commercial for Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich, and had been craving one since then. Not far from the bookstore was a Wendy’s, so we stopped in. The place was packed, so we waited online. When we got to the counter, I placed the order for everyone while my wife took the kids to a table. As food has a tendency to do when you have two fast-growing boys, it accumulated on the tray to the point where a second one was needed. The man behind the counter added the drinks and very kindly offered to help me carry the trays. “No, thank you….I’ll manage.” I told him. Partially because the place was busy and I didn’t want to tie him up any, but mostly because I’m a macho grande man and can do everything by myself.

Cleverly, I laid the two bottles of water down, knowing they were the most unstable of the merchandise. I lifted the two trays, turned, walked three steps, and promptly dropped the tray carrying the kids’ meals and two cups filled to the brim with lemonade.

The crash it made hitting the floor was followed by two other sounds. The first was my extremely audible “fuck!” ….the second sound? Silence. The entire place was staring at me as I stumbled around like a drunken ass attempting to pick up what I could and bin it while mumbling self-depreciating curse words. My wife and kids stared in horror from across the room.

Three seconds later, nobody gave a damn and was back to eating their food, the only thing crossing their minds was undoubtedly “Better that dumbass than me.”

The guy who had offered to help me sprung into action and immediately replaced the kids’ lunches, then dismissed me when I asked for a mop to clean up the mess. I had no intention of making him do it, but he insisted. “Go eat” he told me, “This’ll take me three seconds to clean up. Please.” He was magnanimous enough not to mention his offer to help me twelve seconds earlier, although this was perhaps the single most deserved “I told you so” in my entire life. There’s been a lot of guff about fast-food workers in my state going to be earning $15 an hour, but if anyone ever deserved it- it’s this guy. He was friendly and helpful even when he had every right to be annoyed with me.

I slunk back to the table where my family sat feeling a mixture of mortification and chagrin.

My only consolation was the fact that the spicy chicken sandwich I had so craved did not disappoint, and I left there feeling embarrassed, but extremely satisfied.

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