Thursday, June 27, 2013


"Party Line," Saturday Evening Post Cover, March 17, 1928

"Party Line,"...
Lawrence  Toney
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I love people-watching.  Even more, though, I love people-listening.  No, not eavesdropping.  Eavesdropping is when you are listening to someone secretly, when you shouldn’t be listening, like in the poster above.  But people-listening is the stuff of which great short stories are made.  Made, I tell you!

Now, I believe wholeheartedly that when people are having an audible conversation in a doctor’s waiting room, it’s because I’m invited to listen.  If they didn’t want anyone to hear, they would go outside.  And if I went to the door to listen to them secretly, that would be eavesdropping.

So, bearing all of that in mind, I share with you the following gem that I overheard in the waiting room of a doctor’s office this morning.  These ladies were sitting less than 10 feet from me.  They obviously wanted me to enjoy their lively conversation, and I did.  The very first sentence, which is pure poetry, drew me in.

Teenaged girl:  Some nasty boy put his fat foot in my flip flop and stretched it out.
Mama:  Tell that nasty boy he owes you $50.
Teenaged girl:  He don’t have $50.
Mama:  Send him to me.
Teenaged girl:  For real?
Mama:  Yep.  I’ll take that $50 outta his skin.  Who is he?
Teenaged girl:  Robert *****.  You know Betty *****?
Mama:  Yes.  She’s no longer living, though, is she?
Teenaged girl (laughing):  Yes, she is.  She’s Robert’s mother.

You’re welcome.  Have a nice day.

I love the south.