Haiku Hijinx

We are taking a detour from our traditional Saturday Evening Post for me to share something with you. A laugh? A sneer? A rant? Why, yes. All of the scoffing laughter and indignant outrage you can muster over what can happen on any given Wednesday.

I have been very blunt about my ineptitude in the area of haiku. I watch with fascination when the haiku challenges come ’round. It has never been a format which struck me. In total, my aversion to it is odd. Why? (snide, dimpled chuckle) Because I am odd.

Yes, I am that kind of odd, but when it comes to rhyme, I prefer odd feet to even. Go ahead. Laugh. I did.

So, when I came home on Wednesday and tucked the day into bed, I picked up Mantra’s notebook to pen what follows. No one was more surprised than I to discover the entire thing is written in haiku.

No, not the sprawling quatrains and octets. No repetition of sonnet bodies without the couplet. What to hear something funny? You have been there. Oh, yes, you have. We all have. Let’s go shopping.

This is the size cart we use in the grocery.

The name of this little ditty is Check out. Precisely what you are thinking…the beeping UPC hades at the end of most nearly every shopping spree. The time when your credit card groans. The time when ill-mannered people consider you a captive audience for their drama du jour. Or worse, a hand warmer.

And your livelihood is left in the hands of a teenager who is avoiding biology homework, with designs on a different sort of biology when the shift is over for the night. How much faith do you have in the system? Me? I will let you read it for yourself.

Check Out

Standing in the check out line,
Eyeing candy shelves,
Reading tabloid headlines scream.

The beeping driving me bats.
Teenage employees’
Eyes glazed as the wares are packed.

Swipe the card once, twice, again.
Computer is down.
Sigh and write a paper check.

The bags splitting on floorboards,
The telephone rings.
“Welcome to Mobile Banking!”

“Your account is overdrawn.”
The store is smiling.
You bought three little bags,

Bread, juice, cantaloupe and cheese,
Cereal and milk
Cost one thirty-eight eighteen.

And that’s before all the fees.
Technology rules…
Only in the hands of those

Who know how to use it right.
Computer’s only
Smart as the operator.

Of course, you must realize,
Those handling your
Money are techno-challenged.



Have you ever been caught in the switches in the check out line? Ever been charged too much or too many times? Ever paid 1,288% of the listed price for something because of a scanning error? Do you agree with banking policy of “guilty until we say otherwise, proof notwithstanding”?

© Red Dwyer 2012
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