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Mon May 3, 2021, 12:18 PM


Circle Line
Dear Diary:

Some years ago, my wife and I drove down from Connecticut to take the Circle Line around Manhattan.

Once aboard, we noticed some groups of people sticking together. We learned that they were engineers from other countries who had come to the United States to study the traffic patterns in large cities here.

Approaching one nattily dressed, well-groomed member of the group, I bent forward slightly at the waist and began to speak to him in a halting tone.

“And. What. Country. Are. You. From. Sir?” I asked.

“I. Am. From. Phoenix. Arizona. U.S.A.,” he said. “I. Am. In. Charge. Of. This. Group.”

— Jack Lupkas

Cherry Tomatoes
Dear Diary:

I was shopping for groceries when I noticed an older woman who was picking through the cartons of cherry tomatoes, just as I happened to be doing.

“I’ve gotten burned by these before,” I said to her.

She opened one of the cartons, pulled out a tomato and popped it into her mouth.

“You just need to make sure they’re fresh,” she said.

“But those don’t look as good — they’re wrinkled,” I said, motioning to the pricier heirloom tomatoes. “Try these.”

“You know,” she said, popping another tomato in her mouth, “not everything with wrinkles looks bad.”

— Michael Rossano

Nevins Street
Dear Diary:

When I was growing up in Brooklyn in the years following World War II, my father commuted back and forth to Manhattan by subway every day.

One day when he arrived home, he said he’d had an unusual experience on a crowded train. He had managed to get a seat in downtown Manhattan, but when the train reached Nevins Street in Brooklyn, a young woman had leaned down and asked whether he would be willing to give the seat to her. She was, she said, pregnant.

My father gave her his seat, and as the train pulled into our station — Church Avenue on the I.R.T. — he wished her good luck and remarked that she didn’t look pregnant yet.

“Well,” she said, smiling, “it’s only been about an hour.”

— Jay Neugeboren


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