It’s not easy being a headline writer, due to the multiple meanings of many words.

For example, on Tuesday we had a front page story in which the state superintendent of education denied that Louisiana teachers were bailing out due to the Jindal administration’s education policies:

The headline was “Instructor levels stable.”

Here are a few responses to that perfectly acceptable headline from my readers:

Doug Treadway: “Imagine my disappointment when, instead of reading an exciting piece about some riding instructor going all Hulk and destroying his place of employment, it was just another story about the state of our education system.”

Frank Fronczek: “Why would a teacher do such a dastardly thing? What became of the horses?

“Then I read the article …never mind.”

Ed Collins: “I wondered if he (the instructor) might have been like my arithmetic teacher back in 1932. He leveled his stable after he sold his horse and bought a bicycle.

“Then I turned to Section B and saw ‘Dead horse prompts cruelty investigation’ and thought the poor guy must’ve gone crazy or something and murdered his horse.”

Liquid assets

Robert Day says, “Reading the comment from Chuck Falcon about their milk dispenser reminded me of our own milk dispenser that we had on Siegen Lane that serviced my family of 11 siblings.

“We moved from Melrose in 1959, where Lily Creamery delivered our milk in a dense urban neighborhood.

“On Siegen Lane, Kleinpeter’s was our only available service in a sparsely populated area, and our house was a quarter-mile off the road.

“After several months, Mr. Leon Kleinpeter came to my father and claimed that we were killing his delivery man.

“He offered us a dispenser that held two five-gallon metal containers.

“Ever after, we drank milk instead of water because it was so cold and refreshing.

“Mr. Leon was a smart man.”

Hard bargain

Ernie Gremillion says, “After reading about Archie Dickson’s 10-cent sale of half a 5-cent stage plank cookie, I was reminded of a similar incident in my youth.

“During World War II, we lived in New Orleans and my parents operated a small grocery store.

“Because of the sugar shortage, bubble gum was very scarce and in great demand.

“When I went home for lunch one day, the store had received a box of bubble gum.

“My mom gave me three pieces to bring back to school, one for me and the other two for my brothers.

“When the word got around at school that I had bubble gum, I was besieged with requests to sell my one piece.

“One student offered me a quarter for my piece, and when I turned that down she raised it to a quarter for half of my piece, which I accepted.

“I probably should have pursued a career in advertising, since my parents’ store was overwhelmed with students from my school later that day looking for bubble gum.”

Books for sale

Pat Hoth says no more books will accepted after Friday for the Friends of the LSU Libraries’ annual Book Bazaar:

“We stop collecting to finish preparing for the Bazaar on Feb. 28-March 2.”

Help the kids

I got a couple of letters from out-of-state students with projects involving our state and city:

  • Hailey, a fifth-grader in Washington state, chose Louisiana for her state in a “Parade of States” project.

She asks, “Would it be possible to receive a used license plate, postcards or anything you believe would help me with my report?”

Send to: Cascade Christian School, 601 9th Ave. S.E., Puyallup, WA 98372, c/o Mrs. Kidd’s Fifth-Grade Class, Attention: Hailey

  • Rishi Myneni, a fourth-grade student in New Jersey, needs “a letter telling me about life in Baton Rouge” for a class project on states and capital cities.

Send to: Rutgers Preparatory School, 1345 Easton Ave., Somerset, NJ 08873, c/o Miss Kazal,

Attention: Rishi Myneni.

Special People Dept.

Bonnie and Glynn Gautreau celebrated their 50th anniversary Saturday.

Stay thirsty, my friend

John Morgan says, “Eating at a local restaurant, we were asked our drink requests.

“Sara, my oldest, asked for a diet water. The waitress brought her an empty glass with a straw.”

Quick thinking

Algie Petrere came across this tale:

A fourth-grade teacher was giving her pupils a lesson in logic.

“Here is the situation,” she said. “A man is standing up in a boat in the middle of a river, fishing. He loses his balance, falls in and begins splashing and yelling for help.

“His wife hears the commotion, knows he can’t swim, and runs down to the bank. Why do you think she ran to the bank?”

A girl raised her hand and asked, “To draw out all his savings?”

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.