Revenge at the checkout counter

IT was the near-perfect revenge; beautifully inspired and executed.
It came unexpectedly. My friend was waiting in line at the supermarket checkout when a young woman using her trolley as a battering ram, pushed ahead of him.
“Excuse me, you’re in my place,’’ he said.
She wheeled around and yelled a string of obscenities.
It was then my friend noticed that the woman was about halfway through the last of a weighty trilogy of science fiction novels—a trilogy he had recently read.
“Do you know,’’ said my friend, giving away the trilogy’s big secret contained on the final page of the last novel, “that the Starchamber is on Earth?’’
The woman was stunned.
“Dirty Harry had it right,’’ said my friend.
“Revenge really can make your day.’’
My friend said he felt instantly guilty about getting even with the rude woman, but also instantly gratified by the pained look on her face.
Swiss research recently concluded we feel satisfaction when we punish others for bad behaviour. In fact, anticipation of the revenge pleasure drives us to crack the whip.
That’s why revenge has long been fodder for popular dramas from Sophocles to Shakespeare to Seinfeld.
Percy Shelley said revenge was the “naked idol of the worship of a semi-barbarous age’’. But as Mahatma Gandhi noted: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’’.

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2 thoughts on “Revenge at the checkout counter

  1. What I feel guilty about is I have no guts to seek revenge, I’m a passive push-over. Too much childhood indoctrination in politeness!.

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