Sometimes It’s Better to Pretend You Just Didn’t See It

Jeff SalterBy Jeff Salter

It seems I have interesting [true] experiences quite often. Take, as an example, this one from March 29th last year — which should have been an ordinary morning visit to my local credit union.

Even though most of the staff know me, I still pull out my billfold to show my I.D. (as several little signs instruct us to do). On this occasion, when I flipped my wallet open, there sat a tiny orange thing that resembled a short piece of a rubber band.

The teller lady seemed as surprised as I was.

She didn’t ask, but I could tell by her expression that she really wanted to know what it was.

I gently poked it with a finger.

“Oh,” I said, “that’s just a piece of shredded cheese.”

[Immediately I wished I’d just lied and pretended it was a rubber band.]

No doubt she wondered WHY my wallet contained any cheese shreds… but (politely) she did not inquire.

However, due to some perverse sense of conversation, I still felt the need to explain.

“Sometimes I sprinkle a little cheese over my grits,” I volunteered.

She just nodded, perhaps wondering why any of that activity could possibly involve my wallet.

walletAt that point, I figured I’d already said too much, so I just plucked the cheese shred and then began looking for a trash can. That’s the only credit union in this county with no visible public trash cans. So I just shrugged and started to put the cheese into my pocket.

“Would you like me to throw that away for you?” she asked nicely.

“Yes, please,” I replied… and handed her my cheese shred.

With great deliberation – touching the cheese with only the tips of her fingernails, she discarded it… then rubbed her fingers on her slacks.

As I’ve replayed this event in my head, I wish I’d just closed my wallet and pretended I never saw the cheese. Sometimes it’s better just to play dumb.

When I’ve retold this story I’ve been asked, “how did the cheese get into your wallet?”

As best I can reconstruct it, my wallet was OPEN and on the kitchen island, which is where I was stirring the grits and adding the cheese.

Aren’t you glad I explained?

One of my friends had a further thought of what that teller might have posted on HER timeline that day:

“Inquiring minds want to know: Can any of y’all come up with a way that a man (at work today) would have a piece of shredded cheese in his wallet from his grits???? Said individual is a local writer…I can’t say more because we have privacy standards.”

Do you have any odd / embarrassing / amusing anecdotes that you’ve worked into your stories?

Jeff Salterwho has written 12 novels and five novellas, already has 15 fiction titles released with three royalty publishers. His most recent is “Not Easy Being Android” released in Februaryby TouchPoint RomanceAt least one more title is due out this year and he has several works in progress.

2 thoughts on “Sometimes It’s Better to Pretend You Just Didn’t See It”

  1. Actually, I imagine the teller’s conversation to be more like, “I always thought my husband put the strangest things in his pocket, but let me tell you about the guy I saw today… “

  2. Thanks for posting this. So many interesting things happen to me and some — like this example — are so off-the-wall that I fear some folks don’t believe they really happened. But, take my word for it — this really happened. Stuff like this used to embarrass me but (in my “senior” years) I’m better able to laugh it off.

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