Spot of teeeeea?
I tell you people, I’ve been misunderstood about the matter of my shameful foray into tea drinking, as I described in a recent column. In one recent letter, received on Monday, the writer commiserates on the miseries of “refraining from coffee,” and goes on to write, “you mustn’t be despondent, dear one.” But I haven’t quit coffee, I tells you! I would never! I’m still drinking five cups a day and will stick my head directly into the pot if it’s a particularly groggy morning. I only started drinking tea because I miss coffee late at night when the caffeine gets me jitterbugging. At any rate, this letter writer also offers a tea recipe with an intricate preparation method. I’m intrigued, tea buddy, but also wary: The last time I tried a recipe offered from a reader, I ended up hallucinating for three days and crouching next to my bed believing I was a house slipper.

Drawn and quartered
And speaking of abuse, I got another masterpiece from the talented and lovely (presumably) sketch master Bill Eldridge, who has captured so many of my foibles in pencil. Chalk? Graveyard moss? I don’t know what he uses to draw things, but they’re delightful. In this one, Bill offers an image of me, dressed in the formal garb of an opera critic, snootily holding a cup of steaming tea with pinky extended. “Ace ‘former’ macho reporter Mark LaFlamme,” according to Bill’s caption, “now a dainty relic; regal and polite tea-drinker.” It’s quite hilarious and possibly hurtful, like most of Bill’s offerings. Bill himself acknowledges as much on the envelope, which contained the sketch: “Been a fan,” he writes, “drawing and insulting you for many years now!”

Cuffed and stuffed
On Monday, a man walked into the Lewiston police station for help after getting himself stuck in a set of handcuffs he had just bought at a pawn shop. I am shamed to say that this happened to me many years ago under circumstances that were waaaaaay more embarrassing than this guy’s. Instead of calling on police and fire guys for help, though, I called a trusted buddy who was handy with a set of tools and who could be trusted to keep The Incident to himself. Of course, every time I see him these days he makes annoying handcuff clicking sounds, but hey. Small price to pay.

New Auburn superintendent ready to roll up sleeves
I have no doubt the new super duper will be superb, but I’ve always wondered why rolled sleeves are taken as a symbol of hard work and determination. I roll my sleeves mainly to get them out of something I have spilled, slopped or accidentally maimed. People roll their sleeves to shoot up, show off scars or get hideous tattoos etched into their flesh. It’s just such an arbitrary description. From now on, I say we go with something more meaningful, such as: “New superintendent ready to take late-night calls from needy, whiny, near-tears reporter who doesn’t know Jack about the education system but has to file a story anyway.”

The sketchy magic of Poland artist Bill Eldridge. Screen capture

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