The Nuts

A young woman like me once lived in New York City. One day she boarded the Fifth Avenue bus to go downtown when a gray-haired woman got on with her grandson—a young man in his late teens and apparently an out-of-towner. He hesitated a moment, seeming uncertain about the correct procedure of swiping his MetroCard, and she set him straight.

He then started to take one of the seats in the front, when she reminded him that those seats were reserved for the elderly.

“Well, Grandma, you’re elderly,” he said. “We could still sit there.”

“Don’t be a nut,” she replied as she guided him toward the back of the bus. “I’m only 76.”

The young woman couldn’t help but laugh. Then she jotted down the event for future reference and traveled on. Later, at a supermarket, a clerk stocked shelves as she wandered in vain through the cereal aisle, looking for oatmeal with raisins. After almost 5 minutes, she found it. Then she spent another 5 minutes wandering the snack aisle looking for peanuts.

“I’m only 21,” she mumbled to herself, “too young to be senile. Why can’t I find what I’m looking for?” Then, “Where are all the nuts?” she finally asked when she saw the clerk.

“Wandering up and down every aisle,” he replied. “Wandering up and down every aisle.”

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