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The Slice: May her creativity never decay

Jamie Laughlin’s 7-year-old niece had a dental checkup and the report wasn’t great.

It seemed young Riley had a couple of cavities.

The girl’s mother used the occasion to remind her daughter that she needs to do a good job of brushing and flossing, especially now that she is getting her permanent teeth. Riley’s mom added that the family could not afford to pay for an endless series of fillings.

Riley asked how much it cost to fill two cavities. Her mother told her it could be a couple hundred bucks.

The child was stunned. But then she hatched a plan.

“I know, mom,” she said. “I’ll draw the dentist a picture and maybe you can get half off.”

So what happened? Laughlin’s sister finished the story in an email: “The dentist appreciated the picture but I still didn’t get half off.”

And yet, one can’t help but predict a bright future for Riley.

Name game: “When I attended Marycliff High School, I had a classmate named Carmela,” wrote Liz Cox.

“Most of our teachers were Franciscan sisters, an order known for calling things as they see them.”

(Though Cox’s father often reminded her that she was lucky she didn’t have Benedictine nuns. He claimed that they carried tire irons.)

“Anyway, one day a sister called on Carmela but pronounced it KAR-meh-la. Carmela objected and said her name was pronounced Kar-MELL-a.”

The nun mulled this feedback for about half a second and then responded.

“If your parents wanted you to be called Kar-MELL-a, they would have spelled your name with two L’s. Otherwise, it’s KAR-meh-la.”

And that, Cox recalled, was that.

Workplace snacks: Monday morning is when people in certain offices find out just who is willing to eat almost any food left in a break room or communal treats repository.

“You know, I’d think twice about that. Those have been there since Friday. Could be active cultures.”

“Ahhh, they look OK. I’ll just trim off this mold.”

Today’s Slice question: How do you personalize the appearance of your luggage so you can spot it at baggage claim?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email What’s your personal record for the number of quarters used in one day of metered parking?

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