If you’re about to embark on a life of crime, you’d be wise to choose your victims carefully. Here are a couple of examples showing why this is a good policy:

— Mary Pramuk says our tale of Olga Hotz, of New Orleans, chasing a thief with her broom jogged her memory about a similar episode:

“I usually worked alone in a large studio on the third floor of a main public library, a floor closed to the public.

“It was difficult to find the way up there, but a thief did, and when I returned from an errand I saw him taking my wallet out of my purse (which had been hidden).

“I grabbed a large wooden T-square and chased him down from the third floor over several long stairways to the front door, yelling ‘Stop thief!’ all the way. We passed many librarians and patrons and the unarmed guard at the door — they all just froze.

“Mr. Saviers, the librarian at the top of the last stairway, thought of pushing off one of the giant dictionaries right over the stairs, but too late. I did not catch him: people got in my way. But petty theft stopped at the library for a while. I still have the T-square.”

— “Speaking of chasing burglars,” says Mary Vernoy, of Metairie, “years ago my dad lived off North Foster Drive in Baton Rouge.

“One day a burglar entered the house through an open back bedroom window. As the burglar made his way down the hall, Dad, hearing the noise, chased him back down the hall with his forearm crutch.

“The burglar escaped this enraged senior citizen by diving through the same window he’d entered through! For all I know he’s still running.”

A Louisiana thing

Pat Alba, of Metairie, says once when traffic was stopped on Interstate 10 between LaPlace and New Orleans for 30 minutes, it was not a problem:

“We spent the time tailgating. You can meet a lot of fun people in situations like that.”

Hollywood haze

Joe Cooper offers an example of how habits can change dramatically in a relatively short time:

He says he’s been watching old movies lately, and there’s so much cigarette smoking going on he fears getting lung cancer from second-hand smoke:

“In these old movies, the actors fire up a fag every 10-15 minutes.”

Right, Joe — what was the height of sophistication when we were kids is now regarded as a dangerous, foolhardy activity.

Booze Bay

“Every time I drive to Lafayette,” says Louis B. Gaudin, “I note ‘Whiskey Bay.’ I checked with Google, and there are several references to Whiskey Bay — but none explain where it got its name. Do you know?”

No, but here’s an intriguing answer I got when the subject of Whiskey Bay’s name came up in a 1990 column:

“Leo Lasserre, of Franklin, says his dad, Mingo, had a fishing camp near the Bay of Grosse Tete (the site is still called Mingo’s Point). Leo says that during Prohibition, the best moonshine, known as Opelousas Corn, was made by bootleggers in an area called Opelousas Bay.

“Whiskey Bay Cut, named for the bootlegging activity, was little more than a trench at that time. But it eventually drew water from the Atchafalaya River to gain its present size.

“The whiskey made there was so good, he says, that Gov. Huey Long used to send a state trooper to Anse La Butte Landing about once a month to pick up 10 gallons or so. The booze would be stored in a houseboat at Mingo’s camp and transported a couple of gallons at a time to Huey’s suite at the Heidelberg Hotel in Baton Rouge, says Leo.”

Special People Dept.

Bernice Weaver, of the Independent Living section of St. James Place in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 97th birthday on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Nelva LeBlanc celebrates her 94th birthday on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Frank H. Newchurch Sr. celebrates his 93rd birthday. A native of Paincourtville, he now lives in Labadieville.

Wildy Templet, of Pierre Part, celebrates his 91st birthday on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Going ape

Susan Koehler says, “When my nephew Roger was a few years old, he asked for the ‘monkey-troll.’ It took us a while to realize that what he was looking for was the remote control for the television.

“I think monkey-troll is a much better description.”

Bad location

Our discussion of dealing with robbers reminded Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut, of this tale:

The Quaker was awakened by some suspicious noises downstairs.

He grabbed his shotgun and crept down the stairs.

There was a burglar, filling a gunny sack with the household goods.

The Quaker cocked his gun and aimed it at the burglar.

“Friend,” said the Quaker, “I would not harm thee, but thou standest where I am about to shoot.”

Contacting Smiley

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