Thoughts from the ammo line

It feels like we have had to wait too long for relief by Ammo Grrrll this week. She arrives just in time with THE THRIFTY TEXAN. She writes:

The Paranoid Texan is my regular morning walking partner whenever the temperature in our Dusty Little Village is lower than body temperature. We have our limits, even here in Arizona. Mr. Ammo Grrrll is a runner, not a walker, plus he runs with headphones in which he is hearing and repeating Hebrew dialogue as he runs. Which is not companionable, but does complete the picture along with his running outfit, of making him resemble a recently escaped mental patient. The outfit includes a bush hat which, when anchored by the headphones, turns into a Little House on the Prairie style bonnet.

I have heard many people say, “I don’t care what other people think of me.” Most of them are lying. Mr. AG truly does not care if he is hip or cool. He cares if people think he is honest, ethical and kind. Beyond that, he doesn’t mind channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder if she had up and left her little house on the prairie and moved to a little kibutz in Israel.

So, one day, I go to collect the PT for our walk and he informs me that he’s sorry that he can’t go because he spent the entire previous day either on Hold, or talking with a variety of bureaucrats at a motley assemblage of insurance companies and HR departments in order to save $1,000. A goodly amount of money and well worth a day’s effort, no matter how tedious.

He had only one tiny part of that task left, he said. Today, he was fixin’ to spend just four hours to save $9.00 on some refresher driving class for seniors. I offered to GIVE him a ten-spot (which only has an old dead white guy on it, anyway) and said he could even keep the change. I’ll probably win it back at the next poker game. He insisted it wasn’t about the money, but there was some cockamamie principle involved. A “principle” that involves working for a little over $2.00 an hour?

“What about the principle of committing to exercise so we don’t turn into the dreaded roly-poly Walmartians?”

“One day won’t make any difference in that.” The Paranoid Texan has the strongest resistance to being ripped off of anyone I have ever known, except for Mr. Ammo Grrrll.

Mr. AG’s bargaining skills have made grown car salesmen cry. I also witnessed a memorable conversation in the Sears Home and Garden Department when we bought our first modest home. When we moved into the house one cold April day in Minnesota, we bought the most basic electric lawn mower Sears had on offer.

The salesman had started with a riding John Deere that cost more than either of our crap cars and reluctantly worked his way down. The only grass-cutter more basic than what we selected would have been a Garden Weasel or, possibly, a goat.

He then tried to sell the young Mr. AG a year-long “extended warranty” for about half of what we had just paid for the lawn mower. “A year?” asked Mr. AG, with hardly a trace of sarcasm. “That should come in handy in Minnesota from October through next April.”

When The Paranoid Texan lopes down to the mailboxes, he often stops by our house to get our mailbox key too. So we have had occasion to open our electric and water bills at the same time. This month our electric bill was exactly double his! I was pretty sure it was blatant anti-Semitism, and not the fact his identical house is dark except for the room he is currently in, while I keep mine well-lit enough to guide small aircraft to a safe night landing within.

Being a Texan, he also has his air conditioning set to 86, whereas if I accidentally left the milk out for a couple days, it would be perfectly safe. Once when we lived in an apartment on the East Side of St. Paul, Mr. Ammo Grrrll took me somewhat forcefully by the arm into the basement to see all the electric meters ticking slowly away, save for one. In Apartment 107, it appeared that the meter was actually spinning. Uh-oh. That can’t be good. Must be defective.

The PT is far from poor. But he believes buying food is a waste. Especially if it has to be cooked, which squanders electricity. He is not a fussy eater. One of his favorite meals is tacos from Jack In The Box – that famous purveyor of fine Mexican food – six for $3.23. He asks: Is it fast? Is it easy? Can it be microwaved? Sometimes he also asks if it’s cheap, but fast and easy are more important. He eats on paper plates. In the dark, he says. (He rarely accepts our nearly daily dinner invitation, because usually – catch this, ladies – he says he is “not hungry.” Like hunger has anything at all to do with eating!)

But back to our topic: What is it about guys and fear of somebody taking advantage of them? Maybe we women are just used to it. A multimillionaire friend of mine pitched a fit when we had lunch in a popular Mall of America restaurant that charged a $1.00 apiece “mixology” charge to mix two cocktails. He never returned. (“Well done, management! Lose a customer over $2.00!”) And that was about the same time he donated $10 Million Dollars to the University of Minnesota for scholarships. So, clearly, he was not cheap. He just refused to be ripped off. “Millions for defense; not one penny for tribute,” and all that.

Friends: Under what circumstances would you spend four hours to save $9.00? Discuss. Show your work.


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