Robert DeBate, of Sorrento, who uses French to discourage annoying, unsolicited telephone callers, didn’t have to resort to that when he got a call recently:

“The pollster asked me for my opinion on a political subject. I told him, ‘I don’t have an opinion; I’m married.’

“Then he asked to speak to my spouse. I replied, ‘She’s married, too’ — click!

“Smiley, I’m on a roll — the second caller to hang up on me.

“I’m running out of silly responses, but my wife is confident I will come up with an appropriate quip when needed.”

Pre-GPS days

Faye Hoffman Talbot, of Jackson, says, “In the ’70s, while I was an elementary school librarian, the physical education teacher came into the library to talk.

“She said she had let her high school daughter miss school that day to go to a funeral in New Orleans.

“This was before cellphones, so the lady got a call on the office phone from her child.

“Her daughter told her, ‘Mom, we found Lafayette — but we can’t find New Orleans!’ ”

A cynic is born

Paul Tullier, of “the upper left coast” (Portland, Oregon), says our stories of newspaper deliveries “reminded me of my time delivering the State-Times to state government buildings in the late 1960s.

“I would get in the elevator, punch the button, throw out my bundles of papers on each floor and ride to the top. There I’d get out to deliver my papers, then head down the stairs to the next floor.

“Some people didn’t want to wait and would come to the elevator and put their money on the stack of papers before I could get to their desk.

“When the price was raised from 5 cents to 10 cents, I can’t tell you how many times I found 6 cents instead of 10 cents on those stacks of papers.

“Perhaps that’s why I’m so cynical today. … Nah, it was probably something else.”

Thank-you note

Speaking of newspaper deliveries, “Weyanoke Will” Plettinger gives “a shout-out to our Advocate delivery person.

“She double-wraps our paper, even when rain is only in the forecast. We never have a wet paper, even when she throws it in the ditch.”

Weighty topic

Robert “Sonny” Harris, of Bunkie, says, “My wife and I were in the grocery store a while back when we met up with two ladies we had not seen in quite a number of years.

“We talked about many things, which, of course, since we are elderly (I am 93), included our health and ‘physiques.’

“I proudly told them I had only gained 3 pounds in 70 years. One of the ladies retorted: ‘I got you beat — I gained 70 pounds in three years!’”

Consider the alternative

Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, says, “Enough already with the liver talk! Yuck!

“As a child I was borderline anemic, so Mom tried to get me to eat liver for the iron. To me, it was the nastiest dish I ever tried to gag down.

“Finally I went to the library (no handy Internet in those days) to research foods that contained iron.

“There were quite a few tasty items: spinach, red meat, egg yolks, potatoes, raisins.

“I presented the list to Mom, telling her I would eat these iron-rich foods and she could ditch the liver.

“She was so amused that she complied.”

Memory aid

Keith Horcasitas recalls “a clever technique my dad taught me (he learned from his dad) to use when you are in a social situation and have forgotten someone’s name.

“Both Dad and ‘Tito’ (short for ‘Abuelito,’ grandfather in Spanish) were involved with many civic, governmental and social organizations, so they never wanted the faux pas of not recognizing someone.

“They would greet that person with pleasantries, then take them to someone whose name they remembered and say, ‘Let me introduce you to my friend, John Smith,’ who would then ask, ‘And what is your name, please?’ — reminding Dad and Tito of the name they forgot!”

Special People Dept.

  • On Monday, Marie Zu Chaney celebrates her 93rd birthday.
  • Henry and Carolyn Baxter, of Zachary, celebrate their 53rd anniversary on Monday.

Thought for the Day

From Dan Burkhalter, the Carencro Curmudgeon: “Velcro — what a rip-off!”

Incorrect corrections

Terri Karam Willett says, “With all the ‘proper grammatical usage’ comments flying around lately, how about our favorite autocorrections?

“Here’s one I got from my cousin Jholeen, whose name ALWAYS prompts the autocorrect function into action:

“ ‘Autocorrect has become my worst enema.’ ”

Fertilizing the column

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says, “When I read about the guy getting tagged with the nickname ‘Ear Full’ after getting hit in the ear with a cow patty, it occurred to me that I get an ear full of that every day — just call me ‘Ear Full’ also.

“You have probably noticed I pass much of it along to you.”

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.