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I WANT A BROOM • Southern Rural Route

As I approach my 65th birthday, there seems to be a conspiracy afoot to make me feel OLD.

I went into a big box store for a broom. What I wanted wasn’t on the broom racks. I consulted two clerks who were nearby. When I asked for a “regular” broom I got blank looks as though I had asked them for a manual typewriter and really, just what was a typewriter? See what I mean? It was a conspiracy to make me feel old.

I couldn’t describe a regular broom to them.  I just knew I had always owned one and I sure hoped it hadn’t followed that manual typewriter into the black hole.

Finally, the guy said, “You mean like a straw broom?” He emphasized straw as though I had asked for a broom right out of the Middle Ages.

“Yes, yes, that’s it!” I exclaimed.

They looked over the broom rack and decided there MIGHT be such an antiquated broom somewhere in the dimmest reaches of the back room. The clerk who knew about straw brooms turned to the other one and they seemed to synchronize their walkie-talkies as though the One With Knowledge was about to begin a trek into the unknown and might need back-up.

My wrinkles were getting deeper by the minute and I was now fearful that if I hung around, a dinosaur might bust out of the stock room door from whatever black hole this guy disturbed.

“I’ll be in the paper towel aisle if you find it,” I told him and promptly took the remains of my shriveling self-esteem with me before I admitted to these youngsters that I still drove a car that required a key for the ignition.

I hadn’t been in the paper towels very long when the clerk reappeared with a big grin on his face while dragging a large cardboard box.

“I only want one,” I told him.  I also thanked him for his efforts but you know my heart wasn’t in it. He made me feel OLD and it was all I could do not to ask, “Slay any dinosaurs, did you?”