I was taken aback by the headline: “Burton Richter, a Nobel Winner for Plumbing Matters, Dies at 87.” I was amazed that the Prize was awarded for, perhaps, developing a laser guided snake for the commode. Then I thought again.

The TV ad for the drug Repatha told me not to take that medicine if I am allergic to it. How do I know if I am allergic to Repatha if I never take it?

          Was he right? A distinguished academic who had spent most of his career in New Haven had moved to New York. He stated that in New Haven he saw lots of movies because there was little else to do. Now he seldom had time for them, partly because his wife had mapped out an extensive social life for him. He indicated that sometimes it seemed a bit too much, but still he said, she is filled with all this energy, and she knows lots of interesting people. His luncheon companion agreed that his wife knew lots of interesting people, but there was a failing in the people she knew.  The companion continued, “You would think better of the social life if she knew more twenty-eight year olds with cleavage.” The academic laughed and laughed and said, “Twenty-eight with cleavage.  What a great movie title.”

The acknowledgements by the best-selling novelist started: “I would like to express my most sincere thanks to the following:” He gave no explanation for why he could not thank them.

“The Sicilian language is the only one in Europe that has no future tense.” Albert Mobilio, “Introduction” to Leonardo Sciascia, The Wine-Dark Sea.

The server was new. She said that she served at the restaurant a few days a week. She also worked for a service that cleaned rental cottages. The cleaning work had taken a turn for the worse. The cleaners had been allowed to take the food and toiletries left behind by the renters, but no longer. She said that some renters had come early and stocked the place before the cleaners had arrived, and the cleaners did what they had always done and took home what they had found in the pantry and refrigerator. The renters were upset, and the police were called. That got worked out, but now the cleaning service forbade the workers from taking anything out of the rental cottages. This was a blow. The half loaf of rye bread and the leftover deli ham had been important perks for the cleaners.

“I like to think that I’m an honest man, but in the modern world you can’t carry honesty very far without taking a break from time to time.” Walter Mosley, Charcoal Joe.

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