Aw, Nuts! / by Courtney Mehlhaff

When I was in high school, I worked at a drug/variety store that carried everything from medicine and cosmetics to fabric and household goods. It truly was such a wide spectrum of items that it was easy to get confused.

Hence, this story that I hope is still being handed down as drugstore lore.

One of my coworkers passed a young boy, maybe in his tweens, standing mystified in the aisle that held all the cake decorating and party supplies. When she asked if she could help him find anything, he was suddenly quite embarrassed. He turned three shades of red and mumbled under his breath that another employee had directed him there in pursuit of a particular item.

"What are you looking for?" my coworker inquired, unaware that frostings and candles could require such a hushed tone of voice.

"Ummmmm . . . well . . . nut cups," the boy confessed.

And in an instant, my coworker realized the error, a slang term misinterpreted. What he wanted was an athletic supporter with a protective cup. What he was staring at on the shelf were tiny paper cups intended to hold nuts and candy as a complement to a festive table setting.

"But these seem kind of small," he said.

Somehow, in that moment, my coworker maintained her composure. She sent him, with reassurances and apologies, to the sports equipment section.

But I still think about that kid. How relieved he ultimately was, and how confused he must have been, wondering A) how everything was supposed to fit, and B) how such thin paper could possibly shield his testicles from harm.

He must have thought the initial advice was absolute bollocks.