MyStoryYourStory: Little bit of joy, pain in this and that

Heading off to work on cold winter mornings, I experience an ancient reflex to lug a shoe bag with me. I don't even own one and haven't seen shoe bags in stores for years. You see, a shoe bag was a handy little canvas sack with a zipper and vinyl handle for hauling a pair of shoes to and from work or school.

Once inside, we would shed our boots and put on our shoes. At the time, snow boots weren't waterproof and no one wanted to walk around all day with cold, wet feet.

This old-time exercise was practical, too, as it reduced the amount of dirty melted snow along hallways and aisles in offices, classrooms and factories.

Today it's fashionable to wear boots all day, so shoe bags have been rendered extinct, I'm sorry to say.

Talk about extinction, whatever happened to the etiquette of only wearing slippers, PJs and sweats at home – never in public? I just can't get used to seeing people clomping around in their slippers and pajama bottoms at the grocery store, quick shop, mall and post office. Why they feel comfortable doing this is a mystery to me.

Speaking of mysteries, why in the world do nurses, doctors, hygienists and dentists say, "You might feel a little sting…"? I suppose they think it helps, but it doesn't.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no "little bit" in hurt. The warning, "You're going to feel a pinch," should be "This is going to hurt like the dickens, so hold on." Go ahead; use the "P" word and say, "You're going to be in a world of pain when this is over."

While at the doctor or dentist, I try thinking of cute stories to distract and humor myself. Like the time my daughter stopped by school to pick up elementary children for her after-school program. She had our three-month-old grandson bundled in a Moby Wrap, similar to a papoose, only tied on her front. The baby's face was snuggled close to her chest, when a youngster walked up to her and belted unabashedly, "Are you milking that baby?"

When I think of cute, the word "clever" comes to mind, since what's cute usually is clever, too. I have a thing for cute and clever business names, like the unforgettably funny "Sherrill's Eat Here and Get Gas" restaurant and gas station in Tetersburg, Ind., the clever "Sew What" quilt shop and "Copy Cat" printing business in Buffalo, NY.

There's the "Dog and Cat Repair" veterinary clinic in Edwards, Col., a dumpster rental and junk hauling business named "Humpty Dumpster" located in several states, "Merchant of Tennis" in Toronto, Canada, and "BoKay Florist" in Texas. And the cutest, cleverest name of all is the "Curl Up and Dye" beauty salon in Detroit. Love it!

Cute and clever goes a long way to help us get over life's speed bumps. When the road is long and boring, I pass the time by deciphering mind-twisting vanity license plates, like HIOFECR BYOFFCR.

Try figuring out these plates: OHRLY, NOWUCME, ANBYOND, WUZHIZ, GOOD&U, HORZ4ME, NVERLA8, SONG MKR, IBCNU, PPUL and NOTDADZ. Then there are special-cause plates, like this one for Right to Life: IM4IT. Vanity plates also can be political, such as FR SPCH.

Recently, I was simultaneously humored and taken aback when I overheard two female clerks chit-chatting at a local dollar store checkout counter.

With complete and utter conviction, one clerk said to the other, "My next husband will be deaf, mute and do dishes."

Nodding in full agreement, her co-worker chimed in, "Yeah, mine too."

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Their sarcasm was a sad commentary on marriage as a disposable commodity and equally depressing was the reality of the one-sided, self-focused nature of relationships.

With fewer and fewer couples getting married, I suppose tying the knot someday will become extinct, too.

Ouch, that hurts!

2012 © Copyright Paula Damon.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email  boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at my-story-your-story@blogspot.com and find her on FaceBook.

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