The Great Rebar Kerfuffle

re’-bar- a steel bar or rod used to reinforce concrete

ker-fuff’-le- an annoyingly trendy synonym for a dustup

Not so long ago my wife, the sweet and lovely Penny, and I went shopping for a new bed and ventured into one of the ubiquitous bedding stores that populate the strip malls around town. This particular store must have had special sensors embedded in the door frames that signal the arrival of fresh meat because instantly a salesman appeared out of thin air and blocked our paths.

“Howyadoin? great day to buy a bed iddnit?” burst forth before we could even get the guy in focus. The huge frozen smile on his face must have had a mesmerizing effect because we sort of nodded our heads and followed him into the bowels of the showroom.

“Now, what can we do for you today aren’t you just the neatest looking couple we have the best brands and the best prices anywhere so you don’t have to look elsewhere let me show you some of our best sellers I’m Brad what’s your names?” We were so worn out at this point that lying down on one of the model beds “to test drive it, heh, heh” actually seemed like a good idea. (Brad, of course, is a totally fictitious name, as we’ve blocked out many of the unnecessary details of the whole ordeal.)

We lay down on the bed, and as anyone who’s ever done this in a store knows, you lie there like you’ve just thrown out your back, all stiff and self conscious, and the guy says, “Now Penny, you may not know what this means, but Alan, you probably know what rebar is.” Penny went even more rigid, stiff as a magician’s assistant in the big levitation trick and muttered, teeth clenched, “I know what rebar is.” She’s nobody’s dummy. Obliviously he went on, describing in detail, to just me of course, the bed’s wonderful construction using the same technology interstate highways are built from.

So we tried a few more beds- no more mention of concrete reinforcement- and, against my better judgment, I blurted out something about frames. He gave me this conspiratorial look and motioned for us to follow him to the rear of the store, out of earshot of a poor unsuspecting couple that had just wandered in. He pointed to a bed frame hanging on a wall and whispered, “That frame is normally $99.99, but I’m going to throw it in for free.” His eyes bugged out on the word “free”.

Now things were getting serious. Fifteen hundred bucks for a bed, but the frame’s free. Meanwhile, Penny’s giving me that look, like “let’s get out of here now if you know what’s good for you”. If it’s possible for eyes to have clenched teeth, this was it.

So, being the head of our marriage since I know all about rebar and all, I said that we had just started our search and we “would think about it”. Brad immediately whipped out his cell phone and said, “Let me call my manager and see what I can do.” Who knew car salesman DNA was so pervasive?

Penny immediately slammed her hand down on a nearby counter and said, no clenched teeth now, “I’ve had enough of this crap!”, and stormed out of the store. I turned to Brad, both our jaws dropped, and I meekly trailed after her, first holding the door for the other couple.

We eventually got our new bed, frame and all, but every time we go by a construction site we giggle and eyebrows are raised.

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