I sometimes offer advice to visitors and newcomers called "How to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist in New Orleans."
I tell them, "Don't wear your convention badge in the French Quarter; don't consume Lucky Dogs while sober and before 2 a.m.; don't wear dark clothes when eating beignets," etc.
Ronnie Stutes, of Baton Rouge, chips in with this advice:
"On more than one occasion I have encountered visitors to New Orleans referring to the 'trolleys.'
"I have advised them that in New Orleans they are called 'streetcars.' Here's an easy way to remember:
"Can you imagine Marlon Brando in something called 'A Trolley Named Desire'?"
Hear him roar
William Weldon (former LSU cheerleader, I assume) responds to my story of a Bear Bryant comment after an LSU game:
"I can assure you that in 1954, we did not 'poke the tiger with a stick' as per Bear Bryant!
"All one had to do was whisper 'Sheik' (his original name) in Mike’s ear and he’d rear up and roar."
It never fails. You're in a line of 20 or more vehicles, waiting patiently, or impatiently, for the traffic light to change and let you move up the line.
Just as you near the light, a driver comes flying up and squeezes in front of you, to avoid spending time in line, as you have. You can let him in line or hit him.
Since few people want to go through the hassle of a fender-bender, you let the creep sneak in ahead of you.
This is why I'm in the market for a tank. It can be a small, used one; doesn't even have to be in very good running condition. Just once I want to dare that pushy driver to break in line…
Joyful Noise Dept.
Melvin Henry says that when he was in Air Force Officer Training School in San Antonio, Texas, in 1966, he discovered he could avoid the dreaded Saturday morning inspection if he joined the OTS band:
"My roommate was the band leader, and asked why I didn't join the band. The reason was that I had never been within 100 feet of a musical instrument.
"He said not to worry, and when I showed up for band practice he gave me cymbals to 'play.'
"We only had about five numbers, which included the National Anthem and Air Force Hymn. It's obvious when cymbals come in, and who is going to notice if there are a few extra bangs? My lesson was: 'When in doubt, slam 'em!'
"I still have a soft spot for the cymbal player when he marches by in a band."
Which reminds me
I was a cymbal player in the LSU Military Band in my ROTC days, joining when I discovered it meant I would not be issued an M1 rifle and be expected to keep it clean for inspections.
I had been a percussionist in the Istrouma High band, so I knew my way around a pair of cymbals.
I wonder how many other cymbalists were like Melvin and me, playing them for reasons other than a love of music…
Special People Dept.
- Anna Salvaggio Palmisano Cuccia, of Mandeville, celebrated her 100th birthday on Oct. 11.
- Erin Ory Harelson celebrates her 97th birthday on Friday, Nov. 2.
- Frances Lithgoe, of Sunrise Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 95th birthday on Saturday, Nov. 3. She is a World War II veteran, having served in the Navy WAVES.
- Francis Burch, of Denham Springs, celebrated her 92nd birthday on Sunday, Oct. 28.
Tears and laughter
Ernie Gremillion, of Baton Rouge, says, "Recently a friend made the comment to me that based on some my 'Smiley' stories, I could have been some sort of journalist specializing in humor.
"I responded that maybe before I retired I could have had a second job, and my business card would have read 'Tax fraud investigator and humor journalist.'"
Speaking of humorists
Chip Landry, of Baton Rouge, sent in this extremely timely Will Rogers quote:
"I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."