Politicians like to yammer about "faceless bureaucrats" who don't care about people, but in my experience "bureaucrats" are mostly just folks trying to do a job — and in many cases thwarted by rules laid down by the very politicians who are attacking them.

Nina Carazo Snapp, of Baton Rouge, tells of her encounter with bureaucrats:

"I called the Social Security Office early one morning, and the automatic answering system stated it would be a 55-minute wait.

"I decided to hold on, and after a while I laid my head on the couch and fell asleep.

"When I woke I was disconnected; obviously I had slept through my turn.

"Several minutes later my phone rang. The person on the phone said he was from the SS office, and someone from this number was unresponsive when they came on the phone. They were concerned, and wanted to know if the person was all right.

"I thanked them for their concern, and told him I had been holding for so long I had fallen asleep."

Half measures

Mariano Hinojosa says this happened in his wife Bertha's class at La Belle Aire Elementary in Baton Rouge, when she asked students to discuss their ethnic origins:

"The first little girl said, 'My mom and dad are from Vietnam, so I am 100 percent Vietnamese.'

"The next student said, 'My parents are from Africa, so I am 100 percent African.'

"The third student said, 'I am half Honduran and half Mississippi.'"

Fancy pants

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, "Coming from a family with five kids, and a mother and father who worked very hard to rear and educate us, it was essential in our early years to wear hand-me-down or even 'given-me-down' clothes.

"On one occasion my cousin from Lafayette sent a lot of clothes to me. He was also tall, and his clothes were usually expensive and in good condition.

"I wore some 'new fangled' pants he had sent to me to my elementary school one morning. I had never seen 'knickers,' and can assure you none of my classmates had either!

"Talk about bullying and harassment! I told my mom I would wear anything, but never again knickers!"

Which reminds me

When my family moved to Baton Rouge from Natchez, Mississippi, I started fifth grade at a school in north Baton Rouge, where all the boys wore blue jeans — a garment not allowed at schools in conservative Natchez.

But after I wore my corduroy knickers to school, I came home and informed my parents they had to get me some jeans — and quickly!    

Special People Dept.

— Rose Malarcher celebrates her 100th birthday Saturday.

— Boris F. Navratil celebrates his 90th birthday Sunday.

— James and Catherine Brasseaux, of Carencro, celebrate their 63rd anniversary Saturday.

— Audrey and Dick Mendel, of Kenner, celebrate their 62nd anniversary Sunday.

Pat loves me

On Monday I received quite a few greetings regarding my milestone birthday (never you mind which one), but none were more treasured than the one from Pat O'Brien's Bar in New Orleans, offering best wishes and a complimentary beverage the next time I'm down that way.

A mint julep on the patio — now THAT makes for a most happy birthday in my book!   

Change of plans

Several readers (two is several, right?) say they learned that Lady K and I were spotted at the Flora-Bama, Lulu's and other Gulf Coast hangouts, when I had told of vacationing at Bubba's Exxon, Motel and Bait Shop in Back Brusly.

Well, what happened was that Bubba's chef, Maxine the Knife, ran off with her tattoo artist (Bubba said they fell in love while the artist was writing "Bad to the Bone" on her, uh, body …).

While he doesn't cook, Bubba informed us he had found some TV dinners in the bottom of the freezer that he had bought for watching "Bonanza" but never got around to eating.

He told us the Salisbury steak was especially tasty, but by then we were packing for the coast … 


Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0371 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.