OPINION COLUMNS

Overheard at the coffee shop, plus a little ‘code talk’

By Gerre Joiner | Published Wednesday, March 11, 2015
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The following comments were overheard at the coffee shop.

  • “My wife doesn’t think housework can kill you, but she’s not going to take a chance.”
  • “At our house, we figure the best way to get rid of kitchen odors is to eat out … so we do.”
  • “I want my kids to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.”
  • “My grown-up kids keep threatening to run away from home. That’s the only thing that keeps my wife and I from losing hope.”
  • “We spent 12 months helping to teach our grandkids how to walk and talk. Now we can’t get them to sit down and shut up.”
  • “My wife was first to ask me out. I got in her room by mistake.”
  • “That guy is so old, his liver spots show through his work gloves.”
  • “That guy’s so old, they’ve discontinued his blood type.”

For the record: I’d like to extend credit to Phyllis Diller for the original thoughts that prompted my “adapted” thoughts.

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On another topic: have you ever noticed that many of the people who love you most dearly just don’t know how to show it?

I figure I may get in trouble at the coffee shop for writing this, but I’ve lived a long life.

We do “code talk” at the coffee shop.

When one of our guys goes missing for a while because of illness and one of the “attendees” says, “Have you heard anything about (sipper’s name here),” he’s using “code talk” to express love.

When one of our guys gets sick in the coffee shop and loses consciousness, every one of the men in the bunch tries to do something to help. They’re phoning or fanning or fretting about what they can do to help. Some of us are praying. I don’t pretend to know which ones of us are praying. Each of us is expressing love by way of “code talk.”

We’ve passed the hat for folks whose needs for groceries or clothing have come to our attention. Doesn’t happen often, but every time it happens, there’s an expression of love from men who don’t talk about it much – “code talk.”

When one of our guys has had surgery or a reverse of some sort, making it impossible or unsafe to drive, there’s always someone to offer a lift either to the shop or from the shop. It’s not planned. It’s not always the same guy offering a ride. It’s always a “code talk” expression of love.

When there’s a death in our coffee shop family, there’s a good number of our guys in attendance at the funeral. Most of the time, someone buys flowers, and we all pitch in and pay for the floral gift. That’s “code talk” for “love.”

I probably use the word “love” more often than the other guys. That’s just the way I’m tempered. I think the world would be a better place if we spoke about it more regularly.

But my crusty old coffee drinker friends do a pretty good job of expressing love using “code talk.”

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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