Smiley: No flipping trucks

While I’m now engaged in cultural enlightenment rather than news coverage, I was once a reporter and therefore feel qualified to offer this advice to those in the news business.

In order to avoid repetition and save valuable space and airtime, why not just ASSUME there’s an overturned 18-wheeler on the interstate every day, and only report when there’s NOT one lying on its side blocking traffic:

“BREAKING NEWS: Police report that all lanes of I-12 are clear and all 18-wheelers on the highway are upright and moving. This is the first day since Jan. 12 that this has happened. Police offered no explanation for this unusual occurrence. Details at 10. …”

Russo giveth

Sherry Wilkes offers a great St. Patrick’s Day story:

“Years ago, an ice chest with the name ‘Russo’ written on it was left behind at a St. Patrick’s Day house party.

“It was full of cold beer.

“Thanking the leprechaun who left it, guests helped themselves to the beer.

“Every year, the empty ‘Russo’ ice chest was left out, in hopes of a refill.

“This year, Russo showed up at the party and was thrilled to know what became of his ice chest — and even more excited that the entire crew was wearing ‘Russo Ice Chest’ T-shirts, saying ‘MAY THIS COOLER AND ALL THEREIN PROVIDE LIBATION AND MANY A GRIN.’ ”

Creative study habits

Harold Mayeux’s recollection makes me wonder if most college towns have a bar called “The Library,” just as many cities have one called “The Office:”

“A follow-up on James Derrell Ehlers’ story about Voorhies Roof Garden at SLI (later USL, now University of Louisiana at Lafayette).

“Every time my girlfriend, who was working in Baton Rouge, called, my roommate always told her I was at the Library, which I really was.

“This worked fine until she found out it was a bar.

“(Hey James, I bet we were both studying there together many times!)”

Remedial scamming

John LaCarna adds to our “Unwanted Phone Calls” file:

“A while back, a female caller claiming to be with the IRS (that always gets attention) asked me to give her my Social Security number over the phone.

“I, of course, refused, realizing this was an attempt at identity theft.

“She said, ‘But I need it to make sure you’re who you say you are.’

“Since it was SHE who had called ME, I laughed and hung up.

“Hopefully, someone that stupid will eventually get caught.”

Hu’s on second

With thoughts turning to spring and baseball season, Perry Snyder came across an appropriate tale.

It’s one that brings back fond memories of Abbott and Costello’s classic “Who’s on first?” routine:

Perry tells of Chin-Lung Hu, a second baseman from Taiwan, the fifth major leaguer from that country:

“His time with the Dodgers and Mets in the bigs was brief. Most of his American career was on the farm in AA and AAA.

“He’s now playing for the Eda Rhinos, of the Chinese Professional Baseball League.”

Wartime memories

Muriel Martin, 96, tells of a “small world” event that reminded her of days long past:

“In 1969-70, I went to Vietnam, where I served as a civil service secretary at Long Bihn Army Supply Depot.

“I had both a military and civilian supervisor.

“My military supervisor was very busy. However, he was always very courteous to me.

“Recently, while watching TV, I saw a retired general speaking. His name was Bob Scales.

“I realized in surprise that I was looking at the son of my Vietnam military supervisor, Robert C. Scales.”

Worthy causes

The Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center holds its fourth annual Circle of Support walk and 5K run at 9 a.m. Saturday from LSU’s Alex Box Stadium parking lot.

Visit or call (225) 924-1431.

Special People Dept.

Joan Oppenheim, of Metairie, celebrates her 93rd birthday Monday.

Surprised parents

Tom Toddy says, “My wife and I were sitting in the kitchen when my son came home from school.

“As he passed through the room, he said: ‘I got elected Mr. Personality at school today!’

“After he was out of earshot, my wife looked at me and said, ‘He must save all that personality up for school, because he does not waste any of it around here!’ ”

Mistaken identity

Joe Guilbeau, of Plaquemine, adds to our collection of “kids in church” tales with the one about the time the collection plate was being passed and little Mary’s father gave her $2 “to give to Jesus.”

As the usher approached their pew, a concerned Mary blurted out, “Daddy, that’s not Jesus; it’s Sophie’s daddy!”

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