By BEN R. WILLIAMS
Sometimes I have stories that are too good to keep to myself but too short to make a full column. Please enjoy two of them!
Awhile back, I was poking around in one of my favorite used bookstores. The clerk at this bookstore was a young man, probably in his early to mid 20s.
This clerk was excellent at his job, but he saw the world a little differently from the rest of us, and this led to one of the greatest exchanges I have ever witnessed.
The clerk was sitting at the front desk sorting through a few books when a woman and her daughter approached the counter. The daughter was perhaps in third or fourth grade.
“Did you find everything OK?” the clerk asked.
“We sure did!” the mother said, and she laid a book on the counter. He picked it up to ring it up for her, and I noticed it was a book about Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who famously explored the western U.S. in the early 1800s.
“Oh, I know Lewis and Clark,” the clerk said. “Clark is a man who wears blue tights and a red cape and has superpowers, and Lewis is his girlfriend and they work at the newspaper.”
The mother paused, perhaps thinking this was a put-on.
“Oh,” she said, “actually, that’s Lois and Clark.”
The clerk pondered this for a moment.
“No,” he said, “I’m pretty sure it’s Lewis and Clark.”
It was at this point that the clerk had my full and undivided attention. I pretended very hard to be looking at a book.
“I think you’re thinking of Superman,” the mother said. “Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Lewis and Clark were explorers.”
“Oh, I always get those two confused, Lewis and Clark and Lois and Clark,” the clerk said.
The mother smiled. “Yes, my daughter and I recently watched a movie about Lewis and Clark, and now we’re wanting to learn more about them.”
“Oh,” the clerk said.
“In the movie, did Clark use his heat vision?”
I felt one of my eyes begin bulging out of my head as I struggled not to laugh.
“No, no, that’s Superman,” the mother said. “Lewis and Clark were explorers. They didn’t have superpowers, they explored America.”
“Oh,” the clerk said. “That’s sort of a rip-off, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” the mother said, “I guess so.”
“Well,” the clerk said happily, “enjoy your book!”
One time several years ago, my friend Bradley was visiting with some family at their timeshare at Myrtle Beach. His mom and his aunt decided to go shopping, so his aunt asked him if we would keep an eye on his cousin, a little girl of about five years old.
Bradley said he would be happy to, and the next thing he knew, he was alone in the condo with a five year old.
As Bradley told it, he didn’t really know what to do to keep a five-year-old girl entertained, so he just grabbed some snacks and put on a movie, some sort of light comedy appropriate for a little kid. They sat down on the couch and watched it.
At one point, Bradley said, there was a scene in the movie where the main guy kissed the main girl on the lips. He didn’t think too much of it.
About the time the movie ended, the front door opened and Bradley’s mom and his aunt stepped into the condo, shopping bags in hand. His cousin leapt off the couch, jumped into her mother’s arms, and kissed her right on the lips.
“Well, where did you learn to do that?” Bradley’s aunt said.
“Bwadley showed me how!” his cousin replied.
“NO!” Bradley shouted, staggering to his feet in horror. “The MOVIE! We watched a MOVIE!”