I have witnessed many rages in my life: phone rage, road rage, bad-haircut rage, offensive-smell rage. You name it and I have seen it. At times, I may have even been involved in some indirect way.

I have witnessed many rages in my life: phone rage, road rage, bad-haircut rage, offensive-smell rage. You name it and I have seen it. At times, I may have even been involved in some indirect way. 

 

But last weekend, I encountered a rage that topped them all: Blue Slurpee rage. Indeed, I feel fortunate to be sitting here today, considering what went down at the mini-mart.

 

Looking back, I should have picked another mini-mart for my lone purchase of milk, but I specifically picked this one because it was off my beaten path and looked a tad downtrodden. Looking scruffy myself from a morning of planting vegetables in my parent's garden across town, I thought it was a good fit.

 

Nonetheless, there were a few "red flags" about this mini-mart that I should have paid more heed to. A taped front window was one of the flags; lollygaggers swilling Bud out front was another; and a planter with a human skull in it was yet another. Oh, all right, maybe it was just a chicken bone, but it sure looked suspicious.

 

The family needed milk, however, so I ignored the warning signals, waltzed in and headed to the back of the store in search of milk. While nosing around, I noticed a middle-aged man at the Slurpee machine. I recall thinking: He must be getting a frozen drink for one of his kids.

 

Right or wrong, I assumed he would not be drinking the Slurpee himself. Go ahead, call me a prig, but I believe there are certain things we must say sayonara to as we age -- bubble gum, cotton candy, popcorn balls, gummy bears -- and Slurpee drinks is one of them. For goodness sake, the name alone should kill the desire!

 

Well, I was wrong. The guy wanted the Slurpee for his own drinking pleasure. I discovered this fact when, while standing next to him in line, he got agitated over a little price discrepancy. Apparently, the price advertised on the Slurpee machine was 10 cents less than the price at the cash register.

 

Okay? We're talking ten pennies.

 

The thing is, the guy at the cash register upheld the higher Slurpee price and would not budge. As you can imagine, this did not sit well with Mr. Frozen-Drink Breath.

 

In a matter of seconds, his agitation ballooned into a full-blown rage of volcanic proportions. Oh, the words that spewed forth from his blistering lips! Ghastly, ear-curdling utterances! And, oh, the way he moved his hands! Chopping the air after every declaration as if he were Bruce Lee! You would think those angry hands alone would have prompted me to drop my milk and split.

 

But, no, I stayed. Standing there with my milk, quaking in my garden Crocs, staring straight into the Eyeball of Danger, I had an epiphany: Hey, I thought, maybe I can squeeze a column out of this experience. Plus, I knew that my family was counting on me for milk, and I did not want to fall prey to yet another rage: lactose rage. 

 

Lucky for me and everyone in that mini-mart, the guy finally stormed off.

 

In conclusion, today's rages can sneak up and erupt out of nowhere. So you need to pay attention to "red flags" and get going when things get too hot. That's right -- leave! Do not stay around as I did, even if it's for something as important as a humor column. Got that? Vamoose! DO AS I SAY -- NOT AS I DO! Otherwise, I will come after you.

 

Anne Palumbo writes this weekly column for Messenger Post Newspapers. E-mail: avpalumbo@aol.com.