When I was about 25, some friends and I planned to raft down the Chattahoochee River. It’s not like white water rafting; it’s a lazy beer guzzling float down a stretch of the river north Atlanta.
You must have at least one life jacket for each person in your raft. You don’t have to wear them, you just have to have them with you in the raft. The park rangers love to write pricey tickets for non-compliance.
So, I had the task of obtaining some cheap life preservers for the group. I went to the K-Mart nearby. In the outdoors section they indeed had the standard issue orange life preservers. Except they were all children’s sizes. But since all you have to do is hold them up to show the rangers when they ask, it didn’t really matter what size they were. They’d never know the difference.
I had one other item I needed to get on this shopping trip, which I grabbed on the way through the store.
So, checkout time. I dropped seven children’s day-glo orange life preservers on the belt. And a box of 12 condoms. (I was ambitious and optimistic at 25.) Only at this moment did the incongruous pairing of these items occur to me. The checkout guy gave me a legitimate what-the-fuck look, and I looked right at him and said, “Be Prepared.”