My First Face Palm Moment

18 March, 2009

Today I got to go to work in mufti, which is good.  I spent the entire day in planning meetings, which is excruciating.  On the way home, I stopped at Wegmans to pick up thick sliced corned beef, fresh sauerkraut (kinda like jumbo shrimp), some good Swiss cheese, and some really good marbled rye baked from the in-store bakery.  I’m looking forward to a really good Reuben.  But that’s not the point of this post. 

While walking from the deli to the bakery, I noticed that I was being watched.  A little girl was staring at me.  Cute as a button:  blond hair in braids over the top of her head, pink cheeks, Little House on the Prairie dress.  Basically, a pre-pubescent prairie muffin.  I caught myself stereotyping her and her father as right wing religious types.  Bad (((Billy))).

She continued to stare at me as long as I was in view.  I checked the sushi, but no veggie rolls for (((Girl))), so then to the checkout.

All my goods were on the belt, and, lo and behold, the little girl and her dad got in line behind me.  I could hear her talking to her daddy.

“Is he, Daddy?” she asked.  “Do you think he is?  Huh?  Do you?”

Daddy smiled.  “Well, honey, you could be polite and ask him.”

“Okay.”  She turned to me.  “Excuse me, sir?  Are you a cowboy?”

I smiled.  There I stood in my faded jeans, wide leather belt with a turquoise and wood inlay belt buckle, a western-style shirt, straw Stetson, and a circle beard, so I could understand the question (that hat (well, that style of hat) has garnered some strange comments over the years).  “No.  I’m a ranger.”

Her face flushed.  Her eyes goggled.  Her jaw dropped.  Then, in a voice dripping with awe, said, “Wow.  I really . . . .  Wow.”

Daddy came to her rescue.  “Our whole family just loves Chuck Norris, so meeting a real ranger, well . . . .”

I kept my smile.  Okay, so my stereotype was right on.  “No.  I’m a little different.  I’m one of those liberal tree-hugging park rangers.”  I didn’t even have to add that I’m an atheist to get a perfect reaction.

Daddy’s smile turned to a full-face frown.  “Oh.” he said.  Then he grabbed his little meadow muffin by the shoulder, turned her around, and the two of them went to a longer line.  Behind a little old lady with a full cart and a large hand full of coupons.

I carefully removed my glasses and performed a perfect face palm.

And people wonder why I wear a cowboy hat.



  1. Hehe, I’m amused greatly. I would have reacted offended at being compared to Chuck Norris. I’m sure they would have just LOVED that.

  2. Michelle: I was offended. That’s why, instead of just saying, “I’m a park ranger,” I put in the liberal tree-hugging part.

  3. Sadly, the best I’ve ever gotten was a little girl who asked me if I lived at the grocery store that I work at. Cause, as she informed me, mommies don’t work.

    I loved explaining that while I did live a guy, he wasn’t my husband and that I wasn’t a mother. 10-year-olds are old enough to know better.

  4. I only occasionally get little kids asking if I have a baby in my belly. It would probably be wrong to answer “no you little shit, I’m just fat!”

    I would probably rather be compared to Chuck Norris…

  5. gold, pure gold.
    would have loved to have got a photo of you doing the face palm.

  6. Michelle: How does one “live a guy”? Sounds kinky.

    Poodles: Don’t you wish you were in a sitcom where being rude to strangers is acceptable?

    Oz: Easy. Just picture the little guy hanging from the rope with his hand on his forehead.

  7. (((Billy))), don’t lose your sense of fun. I mean up where you are they could make you “face the moosic”.

    When my eye was out of commission I wore a patch and I had a lot of fun.

    I was in a pet store and a couple of kids were following me around. I stopped at the exotic birds, and one of them yelled, “I TOLD you he was gonna buy a parrot”!

  8. So you’re more an “Aragorn, son of Arathorn”-type ranger? How is that any less cool than being Chuck Norris? If I’d been the father, my line would have been: “Our whole family just loves Lord of the Rings, so meeting a real ranger…”

    Besides, Striders cover more ground than Walkers…

  9. Sarge: Oh, I have lots of fun. I don’t wear a cowboy hat to elicit reactions. I just feel uncomfortable not wearing a hat (holdover from the Army) but I detest baseball caps in most situations, and Fedoras just don’t do it for me.

    What kind of parrot? A Norwegian Blue?

    Yunshui: Yeah, but my nickname would be more along the lines of ‘Lymper’ than ‘Stryder.’

  10. When I rodeod and showed as a youngster we got recognised, all right. Just forget to take off your spurs when you’d go in somewhere to eat afterward, and you’d get recognised…

    “Get those damn things off, cowboy! I’ve had enough of my carpets and chairs chewed up”.

    Well, the Norwegian Blue doesn’t eat much…crunchy
    frog once a day.

    My cover of choice is an M1839 forage cap (or ‘wheel hat, as we renactors call them).

    If I need a ride home from my harp lesson I have to catch the bus in front of the court house. On one of those occasions a friend (he is a deputy sheriff) and some colleagues came out, and my friend said, “I TOLD you who it was” and I was invited to get a snack with them and they would give me a ride home in their official car. They had summons’ to deliver, so why not?

    My friend was quizzed as to how he knew it was me. I had been observed sitting on the bench at the stop and was wearing a singular hat. Mike came up to join them, they were in a place where I couldn’t be seen, but Mike said, that it was probably me, bet them lunch if he was right, and lo! so he was.

    He was asked how he knew, and he said that as a law enforcement officer he was trained to. He elaborated thusly:

    There were two people he knew whose headgear was commented on. Mine and the pope’s. Everybody had heard the by-words, “Does the pope wear a funny hat”, right? So it would be one of us they saw, and in this case it had to be me.

    Why not the pope, they asked.

    Well, the pope has a funny car (the pope mobile) to go with his funny hat. Everyone who knows me and my funny hats also know that I have a siezure disorder and don’t drive, so, logically it would be me waiting for the bus, not the pope.

    We both got strange looks.

  11. Sarge: Never wore spurs. Actually, I can’t ride for shit.

    When we go places with (((Wife)))’s family, everyone keys on my cowboy hat. Even my niece, from a young age, knew that if, in a crowd, she got separated, she was to head for the tall guy in the cowboy hat. Works.

    And didn’t you have a funny car? Seem’s to me, you used to have something called a gogomobile, right?

  12. More kinky than you’ll ever know, (((Billy))). Probably more kinky then that little girl will ever know. 😉

  13. I hear Wegman’s is great. I wish I had one closer, even if it had prairie muffins.

    As a former D&D player, all I can say is rangers are gay.

  14. Michelle: Well, you never know about the little girl. Some of those right-wing religious whackos can be a might strange. From what I understand, as long as she doesn’t enjoy it, anything goes.

    Philly: Wegmans is a great grocery store. And I really love the way they treat their employees.

    I wear gray, does that count? Oddly, I never played a ranger. I played a monk (named Outul Uck), a low-intelligence fighter named Ugh (if someone used a multisyllabic word, I had a 1 in 20 chance of misunderstanding the word per syllable), a halfling fighter/theif (name of Dick), and a mercifully short-lived magic user named Al Anon. So why are rangers gay? Or gray? (I misread your comment initially; OPD).

  15. I didn’t have one, but I rode in a lot of them. A collector I know owns one, he tells me that an open go-cart was safer than a Gogomobile.

    The “micro” cars were a lot of fun, though.

  16. What’s a gogomobile? I just picture a popemobile only with a gogo dancer instead of a pope.

  17. That brings up an important question: do Gogomobiles have a ‘boot?’

    Philly: At three in the morning, you will wake up with visions of Pope Benedict pole dancing. Enjoy.

  18. Pope Benny pole dancing! Does he strip right down to his silk slippers, or does he keep his beanie on too?

  19. I think he leaves the funny hat on. And the Papal Speedo.

  20. Philly, a Gogomobile was one of those European cars that were seen in the states in the 1950’s and 60’s.

    It was a micro car, I want to say made by Piaggio, had a little two cycle motorcyle engine, carried two people, was probably dangerous as hell. I used to drag race and drive midgies at that time, but getting out of my friend’s Gogomobile after we’d travelled on the Washingtom Beltway at a thundering 50 (well, so said the speedometer) mph gave you a tingle unknown in the rest of life. I never knew such a feeling until I’d been in combat and lived.

    They DID have a boot (well, a trunk lid…it got you into the space behind the seat…) and were meant to be a town car. The Isetta, LLoyd, and a lot of others were available.

  21. Sarge: So that would be a gogo boot?

  22. Probably, (((Billy))), but you needed two cars and had to have the legs to carry it off;-)

    One of the groups I reenact with has a young lady who goes as a guy. Very lovely young lady, she’s about 6’2″ and takes a men’s size sixteen shoe. We went ‘sutlering’ at one event to get her a new pair of brogans, and one of the sutlers said they could just slit open a couple of cows, dump them out, and she could just slip them on. He’ll be a little more careful in his words later.

    She could probably wear a pair of Gogomobiles like kids today wear ‘heelies’.

  23. Thanks, (((Billy))). I passed this one right along to one of my oldest friends, a park ranger in Texas.

  24. Postman: A park range in Texas. That could get confusing. Which park?

  25. Government Canyon State Natural Area, I think. He was the assistant park superintendent the last I checked.

  26. Postman: I’ve always really admired state park employees — low wages and almost no job security. Hope the Texas state parks are weathering the budget woes.

  27. I didn’t have a hat, but when I used to work as a printer the ink would seep in and semi-permanently stain my hands…which lead to odd looks (if not odd questions) when I’d been printing red for a while. Eventually, when someone like the grocer told me to “Have a nice day”, I’d just reply “No thanks. I have other plans”. I’m surprised the cops never showed up.

  28. MO: The trick is to wash your hands. Constantly. Compulsively. Hey, it worked for Lady MacBeth, and she turned out okay, right?

    And I plan to steal your response to,”Have a nice day.”

  29. It helps if you smell like solvent. So I’ve heard.

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