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Mere supermarket musings - Greg Gelpi

A deadly meteor is zeroing in on the United States with impending devastation and massive loss of life.

Or so says the tabloid I'm curiously checking out at the checkout counter of the supermarket a couple nights ago.

The tease on the cover hints at simple instructions inside on how to save millions of lives and avoid falling victim to the big falling rock.

As the constant questioner, I immediately wondered who would actually drop the pocket change to read such a rag and secondly who would write for such a rag.

The supermarket scene transported me to my childhood at my grandmother's house. Along with stashes of peppermints in an array of candy dishes, I could always count on a stack of tabloid and gossip magazines. Where would Elvis be spotted this time? Which rich Hollywood couple's relationship is on the rocks?

As my mind continued to wander in the present time, though, my eyes bounced between the cashier ringing up my ice-cream sundae pop-tarts and the tabloid, considering giving in to my curiosity.

Only a couple of days earlier, I sat nearly mesmerized as Will Smith and an all-star cast did battle with an invading alien army in an effort to save the planet. Just days before that, I watched a news special on UFOs.

It occurred to me in a flash, similar to those often seen near Area 51, that the tabloid my mind was so quick to demean and disregard was actually targeting folks such as myself, those with an unfaltering curiosity.

That question addressed, my mind still needed to consider the writers of such pseudo-news.

Again, my mind was transported, this time to one of the setting of my favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut.

Vonnegut's semi-autobiographical character Kilgore Trout publishes his science fiction short stories in adult magazines (for those who actually read them for the articles).

Among the smut, Trout tucked away his art, as if some buried treasure that awaited to be discovered.

With the mind-numbing "boop" of the cashier's scanner, my mind returned to the checkout counter and my eyes again gained focus of the impending doom of millions depicted on the cover of the tabloid.

Buried within the garbage of sensationalism, would I discover some little-known author publishing work deep inside, an author such as Kilgore Trout?

But, while my ponderings puttered on, the cashier had finished scanning my items and awaited my response of swiping my card and moving on.

Perhaps, I'll never know what was inside. Perhaps, my curiosity will break me and force me back to the supermarket checkout counter. Perhaps, that meteor headed for America will hit before either of these can take place.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.