Reading in the bathroom is a national pastime. Days of bashfulness and cover-up are long gone. In fact, many proudly announce their destination and ask advice on the type of reading material to take with them. As volumes accumulate, bathroom libraries emerge to accommodate varieties of newspapers, magazines, technical reports, books, medical articles, photos, and personal correspondence. Most popular bathroom fare are comics, sports, and People magazine. Books have an attraction for long-term users and those who are required to make frequent return trips. Literature is replete with stories resulting in educational benefits from bathroom reading. The annals glowingly report a recent Ph.D. recipient boned up for his degree behind closed doors. A role model.
A boardwalk is a sidewalk with wooden planks. It supports as many events and activities as you find on the midway. The boardwalk population comes and goes, disappears and reappears. There are walkers, of course, as solos, duets, trios, quartets–all boardwalk regulars. There are as many activities as on the midway. Probably more customers, too. They line up for franks and fries, frozen custard, bumper cars, Ferris wheels, side shows, thrill-and-chill rides, photo machines and sketch artists. And all these are located on one block! Most boardwalks face beaches, but they don’t like each other. Kids spring up, spreading sand and dirt on the boards. Their hijinks give boardwalks a bad name. The ideal time to enjoy boardwalk life is when the kids are in school and the weather is cool. The worst time, although most festive, is during the holidays. Noise, bumping, swirls, and gridlock. Rolling chairs and bicycles cannot move. No place to go. Truly a still life.
Toddlers in food carts attract and distract.
Attract? Shoppers favor the little ones. They make funny faces, talk to them and offer a toy or two to show their affection. Those nearby march their kids right up to the toddler, an experience in bonding with the young.
Distract? You better believe it. In the cart the toddler performs certain antics that only a toddle can perform. He hurls overboard most items that parents selected and stored on the way to checking out. He hums and whines unrecognizable tunes, he insists on having a Coke, Pepsi, or Sprite, the drinking of which results in a stained shirt from the overflow.
Toddlers in a cart make sense when you consider the alternatives.
Barbers, beauticians and dentists talk to you in the midst of the noise they make when using the tools of their trade. Shavers on your head for haircuts and trims. Blow dryers for styling. Drills for fillings, bites and crowns. Overall, their discourse earns high marks.
They mix up dialogue with news, gems, jokes, complaints and an excerpt or two from an old Hollywood musical. Most chair occupants endure, but have problems answering questions. This upsets the operator.
How can I respond, since I couldn’t understand a thing above the racket? But answers are expected. In the chair: Your job is to convince that you’re hanging onto every word using these signals–hand-clapping, foot-stomping, shoulder-shrugging, finger- exercising. The louder and more forceful, the better.
After the chair: This is tricky. Stand tall, smile and say, “Ah ha,” and leave the premises immediately.
Dinner with friends at a restaurant. Who pays the check? Split it?
Who can figure out how much each of the sixteen diners owes? And who can remember who ordered what? Some say, “Waiter!” Try her and listen to what you get–a befuddled account of what took place at your table. So, who pays the check? All turn to Sidney–he holds the best job, makes the most money. Larry works at a miserable job and makes the least money. Yet he asks for the check. And he receives it. Who finally pays? Claude. His rich uncle died and left him a fortune!
What’s with this 99-cent pricing policy?
Ads are full of it. Do merchants think consumers lack the arithmetic skills and don’t know what’s going on?
Examples: Hagger Wrinkle-Frees, $31.99; Sterling Chokers, $19.99; Oil Drainers, $8.99; Straw Handbags, $39.99; Men’s Designer Sports Coats, $169.99; Pound of Lox, $22.99; Vanity Fair Bra–all cup sizes, $16.99; and so on.
The true price reveals itself at the cash register. Ninety-nine centers of this world, wise up! Consumers want to know the exact cost. Send the 99ers to numbers heaven for much-needed R&R.