A Front-Page Oops - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Front-Page Oops

Sometimes it seems like any line I get into, there’s estate planning going on at the front of it. Even the express lane at my favorite supermarket.

On one of my recent twice or three-times-a-week trips to Publix to pick-up a few items, I was obliged to idle a while in the express lane, which, all too often, is not all that express. When Publix finally decides to put me in charge, I’ll issue new rules for the express lane, to include but not be limited to: no checks, no coupons, no cashing in your penny jar, and no pictures of or stories about your grandkids. The cashier isn’t interested and the people in line behind you will want to loosen your tie-rods.

In the instance in question there was little for me to do while the lady two parties ahead of me in the line and at the register plowed through her purse multiple times in search of her credit cards. I was reduced to reading the front page teases on those check-out-lane magazines, some of which make the National Perspirer read like serious journalism. You know the kind of things — diets that allow you to lose weight quickly while eating anything you want, tease to articles that will teach you how to have a better sex life, and of course, the latest lineup of stars who are falling out with each other or have been caught out with someone else’s spouse.

Publix being a high-class supermarket, there are none of those hard-core tabloids. You know, the ones with banner front-page headlines like LEPRECHAUN RAPES QUEEN — ESCAPES IN SPACE SHIP FLOWN BY ELVIS. But one less imaginative but unfortunate front-page come-on caught my eye. The current issue of People, the class of the check-out lane, blares: BETTY WHITE TURNS 100! The subhead tells us: “Funny never gets old.”


Quite right. Funny never does get old. And the late Betty White was very good at being funny. The people at People had every reason, actuarial tables notwithstanding, to believe that White would indeed turn 100. And likely more. She seemed indestructible. Sadly, the much-loved funny lady died of natural causes just 18 days shy of the century mark. Like many others, I wish the headline were prophetic rather than a sad mistake.

E-People if you’re keeping score. But I’m sure People regulars — which don’t include me but most of my physicians keep their waiting-room subscriptions up to date — will forgive the magazine. Because I’m also sure the article about White was complimentary, which would be right and proper for a woman who gave us much to laugh about for the longest.

Betty White will be missed, even if I won’t miss People if my urologist forgets to renew. I’ll leave my thoughts on who really flew that spaceship for a later day. And if you have 14 coupons culled from various publications, please stay out of the express lane. I may be double-parked outside.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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