June 27, 2007 at 7:47 am
Yesterday I was in line at the grocery store watching the cashier check out my items. The teenage clerk with slicked-back black hair picked up a clear bag containing my produce and looked for the sticker code on the item. She turned the bag all around and then asked, “What is this?”
“It’s a parsnip,” I replied proudly like a two-year-old at a pond who had just learned the word “duck.”
“A what?” the clerk replied.
“A pars-nip,” I enunciated more loudly over the background noise of the supermarket.
The clerk started searching the plastic-coated produce sheet which contained item codes looking for the right number to punch in. A burly, man who appeared to be her manager happened to walk by.
“Hey, Dave, how do I enter this in?” she asked him.
Dave stopped mid-stride and approached the register. He looked at me and asked, “What is that?”
“A parsnip,” I said for the third time.
“Parsley?” Dave asked. Granted, I’d only been able to identify the thing for a month, but in what universe could a big, white carrot be mistaken for a leafy, green garnish?
“A pars-nip,” I repeated. The clerk eventually entered in the correct item code. I left the grocery store wondering when I became the vegetable guru. I wish there were a game show called “Name that Veggie” because I would obviously stand a good chance of winning. Maybe the prize could be a lifetime supply of rutabaga, but only if you were able to identify it.