05/21/2014 04:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Navy SEAL Training Has Left Me Completely Unprepared for This Trader Joe's Parking Lot


Please forgive me. I am not commonly known as someone who is reduced to a weeping, incoherent puddle. In fact, as a Navy SEAL, I have trained for and participated in some of the most daring and logistically complex military operations of the last 30 years. I am a proud member of an elite fighting force that stares down danger without even blinking and routinely puts itself in harm's way to protect others.

That being said, I have no idea how to deal with this Trader Joe's parking lot.

The whole mission was doomed from the start. These TJ's parking lots are unsettling and, yes, even frightening examples of man's hubris gone awry. Each one is a new definition of debacle, instantly raising the heart rate and stress level of all who come into contact with it. Half of the lots start on one side of the store and end up on the other, leading to tense, midway confrontations with everything from confused Subaru-driving soccer moms to confused Smart Car-driving lead singers from indie rock bands. Sure, several of the parking areas have some hapless uniformed functionary directing a line of twitchy, addlepated Tahoe jockeys into the one available space that makes itself apparent every 45 minutes, but this is a largely symbolic gesture that proves about as effective as telling Justin Bieber to stop punching paparazzi.

Let's say you are able to squeeze into a parking space without having to get out and exchange insurance information with another customer hell-bent on getting his weekly ration of hummus and artisanal bratwurst. Then you still have to run the gauntlet of everyone else who is still trying to put their cars somewhere -- and believe me, they are so intent on marking out their little corner of the world that they would not see a pedestrian if he or she was doing a lap dance on their hood. I have been involved with some pretty mercenary characters, and while I legally cannot say that these clueless parking lot denizens are intent on running me down, I would suspect that they might get a damn fine kick out of doing so.

Then there is getting back out of the place, and merging into a traffic jam of long-suffering locals who are so fed up with what Trader Joe's has wrought upon their mobility that they would rather gridlock the entire town into non-existence than let you in. And all this to be told by a cheerful employee in a Hawaiian shirt that the one item you have come to love and depend upon has been discontinued.

I'm sweating. The veins in my temples are creating bas-relief bumps on my skin. I am filled with a rage I can barely contain. I want my mommy.

This is not how I normally do things. Again, I beg your forgiveness. I swear I will continue to kick ass when it comes to protecting you. But do not make me face another Trader Joe's parking lot. I will not make it out alive.

More of James Napoli's comedy content for the Web can be found here.