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I was at Waldenbooks to use a much-appreciated Xmas gift card from a DD. A woman was in front of me, and a 20-something man was in front of her. (Yeah, this is starting off like I assure you it's different.)

The young man pointed to the girlie mags kept behind the counter. I was busy figuring up my gift card total, so I wasn't paying much attention. Why would I pay attention, anyway? His money, his decision, etc. But I did notice the lady in front of me was doing some slow side-to-side headshakes. Then I did look at the counter: a Playboy was disappearing inside a plastic sack.

She half-turned and said, "Imagine! Spending money on that." The corners of her mouth had headed south. Well, to be honest, I didn't have to imagine it. I had tossed quite a few bucks Hugh Hefner's way myself years ago. In front of other people. In front of people who, despite their personal feelings about my choice of "literature," had somehow kept their yaps shut.

The "offender" had headed toward the door, but I knew he'd heard. It was meant for him to hear. And back he came. Woo-Boy, here we go.

Actually, he was quite civil but also quite direct. I also thought he offered much more than he needed to under the circumstances. "I heard what you said. I'm a happily-married man with 2 young boys. I'm making pretty good money and so's my wife. It's not your business what I buy just like it's none of mine what you buy. Think about it next time." Then he gestured toward the counter. "These yours?" She was too taken aback not to nod.

There lay a National Enquirer and some type of horoscope magazine. The young guy smiled grimly, turned, and left the store without comment.

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