Archive for February, 2014


The parking lot was empty as I pulled into the AutoZone at dusk. Inside, the place looked deserted, which suited me fine.

I started to stroll the aisles, looking, when a voice from the back room broke the silence.

“Can I help you?” he asked in a nice, friendly way.

He startled me while I was intently scanning the aisles for a chartreuse can.

“I’m not sure,” was my reply.

“Are you looking for anything in particular?”

“Yes,” I said, still scanning the shelves and suddenly feeling like I was 18 and back at the Shop N Bag on St. Mary Street in Thibodaux whenever a new issue of Hustler magazine came out.

There was silence.

“OK,” the clerk said nonchalantly walking to the front of the store while drying his hands on a rag. “Just let me know if I can help.”

“I’m looking for hand cream,” I finally said. “You probably hear that every day.”

He laughed.

“This time of year, I actually do,” he said. “Front of the store right by the door.”

I felt stupid. I walked right by it and missed the bright green can.

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands.

This has been a brutal winter, marked by wide swinging temperature extremes. It can be 70 one day and 17 a few days later. It’s taken a toll on my hands. They get rough and chapped. At one point, it felt like I had a dozen paper cuts on the edges of my hands. All the hand lotions I found in stores smelled a little too dainty for me, actually irritated my sinuses and left my hands feeling greasy.

A web search turned up O’Keeffe’s. It promised to fix dry and cracked hands almost overnight without leaving a perfumey odor after you’ve entered the room. I figured I’d give it a try.

The clerk rang up the sale and I paid cash out of a lingering need to feel anonymous in this transaction for whatever reason.

“Can I get you anything else?” the AutoZone clerk asked.

“Do y’all stock foot cream?” I replied.

“OK,” the clerk said. “Now you’re getting weird.”

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