At the supermarket, the guy ahead of me had turned his pockets inside out searching for his wallet. He handed over a handful of change to the cashier.
As the cashier began canceling the few small items he had selected, he snatched the pack of cigarettes from among them. He still came up short.
The shoppers behind me were getting restless.
Finally, I asked, “How much do you need?” to which he replied, “A dollar and eighteen cents.”
I handed the cashier $1.20, only to be told, “He needs $2.18.” I forked over another buck.
“God bless! God bless!” he said almost reverently as he left, clutching the cigarettes as if they were his passport to paradise.
“I did a stupid thing, didn’t I? I enabled a terrible addiction,” I said to the cashier. She merely smiled.
On the drive home, reprimanding myself mentally, I wondered why I had done such a thing.
It may have been because Marlboro was my brand during all those years of my addiction. But more so, it probably was the memory of those desperate moments when at night I’d reach for a cigarette and find the pack empty.
Almost in panic, I would rummage through dresser drawers, check ash trays for butts and walk the floor, desperate for just one drag of nicotine.
I had no idea then of the good life waiting for me when I finally kicked the disgusting habit.
Would I ever again come to the rescue of an addicted smoker? I’m not sure.
Men in the kitchen
After the column on males’ cooking, I learned that yes, “men do do dishes” and also enjoy cooking. Thanks for your responses.
Raleigh attorney Hugh Stevens wrote, “ I would have missed something very significant had my mother not encouraged me to help with the cooking. For me, preparing meals generally has been a relaxing and creative diversion from the stress of the daily grind.
“I seem to remember that sometime in the distant past I promised to teach you how to cut up a chicken, but after reading today’s column I don’t think you are ready yet.”
How true! I often feel my wife was short-changed when she settled on me as her mate. I’m no chef or Mr. Fix-it.
Speaking of cutting up a chicken, there was a time when no mother would allow a daughter to traipse down the wedding aisle without having first been taught how to cut up a chicken.
Every high school should require courses in home economics and basic mechanics for all students – girls and boys.
Stevens, a devotee of Winston Churchill, shared an exchange between Churchill and wife, Clementine. When Churchill proposed spending the weekend at his country home, Chartwell, rather than in London she reminded him that the kitchen staff there was not in residence.
“ ‘I shall cook for myself, I can boil an egg. I’ve seen it done,’ ” he responded.”
Good men expensive
Members of the UNC Board of Governors must have had the once- popular song, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” humming on the back roads of their minds when they renewed NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson’s contract:
When you find a guy worth keeping, be satisfied,
Make sure you treat him very kind
’Cause a good guy (Ow!) is hard to find,
You could always get the other kind.
The board gave the chancellor a $63,000 salary hike up to $495,000 annually. They added a one-time “retention” bonus of $112,630 and authorized the university to create a retirement savings plan for Woodson equal to 10 percent of his pay – nearly $50,000 – starting this year.
My land of Goshen! First thing you know Tar Heel taxpayers will be paying college types like Woodson a third as much as a college coach!
Who’d a thunk it?
I’ve told you how much I enjoy “colorful” writing. An off-beat expression, the turn of a word or phrase, and the use of similes or analogies can enrich copy and leave other writers envious.
The Washington Post once invited readers to take a stab at writing pseudo analogies.
My favorite came from Jennifer Hart of Arlington, Va.
“The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.”
I gave second place to Susan Reese, also of Arlington, for: “He was in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.”
Snow: 919-836-5636 or firstname.lastname@example.org