Years ago, there was a funny TV commercial (for what, I don’t recall) about a football referee forgetting the coin for the pregame coin toss.

Jeremy White was officiating, as field judge, at a junior college football game in Mississippi a couple of weeks ago when he observed life imitating art:

“As I stood there on the sideline with the visiting team’s captains, waiting for my referee to signal us toward the center of the field for the coin toss, he looked at me with a grin and gestured in such a way that I immediately knew he had forgotten his coin.”

Jeremy says he checked with the other officials, the visiting team coaches and the chain crew: “Nada.”

He says, “We weren’t about to hold up the game while someone from the crew ran to our locker room to fetch a coin. Being the consummate professional that he is, our pocket-change-free white hat flipped his game card, the captains made their decisions and the game was soon underway with no one in the crowd the wiser.

“The referee said it was the first time in 20-plus years of officiating that he had ever forgotten to bring a coin onto the field. I’m confident that from now on, his coin will have a higher priority on his equipment checklist than even his whistle or penalty flag.”

Wrong word blues

A few more malapropisms from our erudite readers:

Robert Day recalls one from Sheriff Cat Doucet, a colorful character who once ruled St. Landry Parish:

“When he was asked by a reporter if had any concern about an upcoming re-election, he replied, ‘No, mais cher; me, I’m gonna win in a landscape.’ ”

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says when Euda Delcambre was the sheriff of Vermilion Parish, “he fought hard to have one of the best ballparks in the state built, and had the International Babe Ruth tournament played in Abbeville. At a Sheriff’s Association meeting, he stood up and said, ‘I want to invite all y’all to the Baby Ruth tournament in my parish.’ ”

Ladye White, of St. Francisville, says, “Back in the ’60s, my husband, Capt. Scotty White, became a member of the 7th Special Forces Unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. To his horror, his mother, Meme White, told everyone he was in Special Services!”

Shrinking span

Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, addresses the issue of modern attention spans:

“I watched ‘Dr. Zhivago’ (while texting) on TCM. It’s listed as 3½ hours long.

“Makes me wonder — in this age of TV clickers, Facebook and many other distractions, how DID we sit through movies?”

Night riders

Dale Eichelberger says, “Jim Dumigan’s comments (in the Tuesday column) about older-model cars having distinctive looks remind me of when you could be driving at night and tell what model car was behind you by the way the headlights looked in the rearview mirror.”

(True. I once owned a 1966 Pontiac LeMans with two headlights, one above the other, on each side. There was no mistaking that rascal when it was behind you at night.)

Flat nice kids

Dr. Joe Ricapito says, when he came out of his LSU office and found one of his tires flat, he knew his back troubles ruled out changing it himself:

“I approached three male students and asked them, ‘Do any of you know how to change a flat tire?’ They answered casually, ‘Yup.’

“They rolled up their sleeves and in nothing flat changed the tire. When I offered them some money, they all answered chorally, ‘No thank you. Wouldn’t think of it.’

“I didn’t get their names, so I hope you will publish this episode and if they see it, they’ll know how much it meant to me.”

Special People Dept.

Dr. James F. Hudson, a former professor of agricultural economics at LSU, celebrated his 95th birthday Sept. 8. Known as the “Rock Hound” at the university, he still enjoys his rock collection.

Inquiring Minds Dept.

Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs, asks, “If you are a person of good character and someone asks you a question about your morals, does this automatically mean that you are now a person of questionable morals?”

Calling Miss Manners

Perry Snyder says, “Our daughter Sarah and son-in-law Aaron make special efforts to instill manners in our grandson Anderson, 6, especially table manners.

“Recently, they had a somewhat formal dinner at which Anderson was reminded, for instance, that if he wanted more of a given item, he should say, ‘Will you please pass the (whatever)?’, followed by ‘Thank you.’

“After dessert, the lad was asked what he should say at the end of the meal. His parents expected him to say, ‘May I please be excused?’

“Instead, he said, ‘Where’s the check?’

“Back to the drawing board. …”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.