Dear Smiley: Reading about not being able to lick your fingers because of COVID and having to wear a mask reminded me of something that happened the other day.

I was at a customer’s house to replace an alarm contact on a new door they were having installed. After drilling a hole for the new contact, I blew on the remaining sawdust to disburse it.

After nothing happened, I blew again. Still nothing. It was then it dawned on me I was wearing a mask.



Nothing personal

Dear Smiley: While sanitary practices are vitally needed in this time of pandemic, some can be awkward.

Three years of eating in a lot of squalid places during reporting trips around South Asia gave me what turned out to be an embarrassing habit on while on home leave in 1962.

The first time I sat down to dinner with my parents, I reflexively used my napkin to wipe my cutlery.

My mother, fortunately, was more amused than offended by the implication that hers was not a clean kitchen.

But I quit doing it until I returned to India.


Baton Rouge

Make ’em laugh

Dear Smiley: Two items in your column (about entertaining kids and naming pets) reminded me of my dad’s former boss, the man responsible for bringing my family from the Frozen Nawth to the Humid South (thank goodness!).

In the ’60s, when I was very young and my parents had cocktail parties, I would typically watch from the stairs, and eventually start this routine:

I’d bring Mr. Miller one of my stuffed animals, say a bear, and he’d exclaim, “What a fine looking elephant you have there!”

I’d get hysterical, and go get another stuffed animal for him to misidentify. Have no idea how long my parents let me keep this up, but we’d do it every time Mr. Miller was at our house.

He also had an ornery cat he called DC — for Damn Cat, which again I thought was hysterical. I loved that man. And so did my dad.



Surprise lunch

Dear Smiley: Granddaughter Kenley stopped by our house after her first day as a first grader at Chanel Interparochial School.

She was distraught because she'd lost a tooth in the school cafeteria. Despite help from the school principal, Mrs. Paula, plus cafeteria workers, teachers and classmates, she couldn't find the missing tooth.

Later her dad, David, texted to Buddy and me this letter she had composed:

"Dear Tooth Fairy, I ate my tooth at lunch. Please leave money. Thank you. Kenley"



Weighty topic

Dear Smiley: As a young kid many years ago, we had a dog named LB.

My two brothers and I could never figure out why Dad would name him that.

Finally, years later, he told us the long-awaited answer.

He named him LB because he got him from the pound.

Still funny 60 years later.


New Orleans

Bears and tigers, oh my!

Dear Smiley: Another animal story:

When the first Baton Rouge Zoo near City Park closed in 1948, the parks and recreation commission needed to rehouse two black bears, four deer, four raccoons, three foxes, five rabbits and a squirrel.

When attempts to return the animals to their donors didn't work, they were offered to anyone who would take them.

One of the bears was the Catholic High mascot, placed at the zoo in 1942. Maybe one of your readers knows what became of the animals, especially the CHS bear.

The zoo's most famous resident for a time, though, was LSU's Mike the Tiger. He was housed there in the 1930s while his original stucco house was being built.

A news article from back then reported a rabbit met its demise when it got too close to his cage.


Kansas City, Missouri

Mr. Multilingual 

Dear Smiley: Spending more time on my patio, St. Somewhere, has given me the opportunity to learn new languages.

I now speak dog, and several dialects of bird.

Of course “speaking” and “understanding” are two entirely different things.

And for some reason my neighbors are starting to avoid me.



Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.