Smiley: Common language?

We’ve often remarked about how the English language in England can differ from English in America.

I once owned an Austin-Healey Sprite, a tiny British sports car, and had to translate “boot,” “spanner” and “bonnet” (trunk, wrench, hood).

Lorinda deVries says our recent slogans and business names “remind me of a trip that my dad and I took through the countryside of England.

“We passed a mechanic’s shop that had a big sign outside that read, ‘Let us screw up your car.’

“We got a big laugh out of that, and couldn’t decide if it was truth in advertising or if something was lost in translation!”

Short answer

After I mentioned callers to newspapers seeking to settle bets (in the pre-Internet days), I heard from retired newspaper guy Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, who recalled “a certain sports editor who shall remain nameless.” (Not here, I’m sure …)

“He would answer the phone, and a caller would say, ‘Do you know the score of the Notre Dame game?’

“The editor would reply, ‘Yes, I do,’ and hang up.”

Working man blues

Denise Savoie says, “A few summers ago, when gas prices hovered near $4 a gallon, we drove over to Lake Charles to visit our daughter Miranda, who was taking summer college classes.

“While out shopping, we ran into one of her friends working at a clothing store.

“Later in the evening, we ran into the same young man working the late shift at a restaurant.

“Stating the obvious, I commented, ‘Oh, your friend works two jobs.’

“ ‘Actually, he has four jobs,’ she said.

“ ‘Why in the world does he need to work four jobs?’ I asked.

“ ‘He needs the money, Mom!’ she said. ‘He has to pay for all that gas to get to his four jobs!’ ”

Rites of passage

It seems there is no end to the kind of pranks played on newbies, whether in the Boy Scouts or at a business or plant.

Mike Lukacin says one such prank involves sending a Scout, or a new worker, to get a can of blue whitewash.

Marvin Verbois says, “When I read about the left-handed monkey wrench, it made me laugh and reminded me about my son asking a brand new Coast Guardsman to hurry and sign for 200 feet of shoreline before they pulled out to sea.”

Then there’s the Skyhook Cafe, near Baton Rouge’s Exxon refinery.

Its name comes from an old gag at plants where a new employee is told to go to the warehouse and ask for a skyhook.

Casting for Kids

That’s the name of a fishing rodeo Saturday at Bobby Lynn’s Marina in Leeville to benefit the Palliative Care Foundation, which helps families with terminally ill children.

Janet Rhodus says Chef KD and the Hooters Girls will be on hand, and there will be adult, children’s and kayak divisions.

Contact Janet at janetrhodus@hotmail.com or (225) 413-4414.

Looking for stuff

  • Michelle Templet Dearie, who was a Jan’s Photography “Baby of the Week” in 1959 or 1960 (as was her brother Patrick in 1964 or 1965) asks, “Does anyone know what happened to the pictures, negatives, etc. when Jan’s closed?

Her photographs were hand-tinted and looked like paintings. My parents’ wedding pictures were taken in her studio in 1955.”

  • Dale Hair, of Orange Beach, Ala., issues this request: “Once again, please, before it disappears — we find ourselves in need of the Log Cabin coleslaw recipe.” He’s at (251) 233-9155.
  • Evelyn Lenard is having trouble finding a typewriter repair service that can bring her IBM Selectric II back to life. She’s at (225) 767-1597.

Thought for the Day

From Robert Smiley, of Denham Springs: “It is easier to forgive your enemies than to figure out how to limit their access to your Facebook page.”

Attention grabbers

Darrell Davis says, “My favorite business name was in Chelsea, Okla.: An auto shop named ‘Drag’um In, Drive’um Out.’

“My favorite sign in front of a business was in Ferriday: ‘Minnows, Shiners, Worms, Hamburgers.’”

Which reminds me

One of my all-time favorite signs was outside a little store in Glenmora: “Boudin, Shotgun Shells, Tuxedo Rental.”

Anaconda parenting

I was surfing through TV channels the other evening and came across a nature show on WLPB that held my attention.

It was about snakes, and I tuned in just as the anaconda in the Brazilian Amazon was being discussed.

The narrator explained, and the beautiful photography showed, how the baby snakes are born.

When they emerge from their mother, they are fully independent and swim away without ever looking back. The mother’s work is done.

Watching this miracle of birth, I wondered how many human parents were saying at that moment, “You know, those anacondas might be on to something …”

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.