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An unfamiliar rumble drew me to the alley. It was a ComEd truck idling next to the garage of a neighbor, who had also come out to investigate.

"Are you 21?" the truck driver asked the neighbor, a retired fellow. The neighbor beamed, sucked in his gut, and replied, "Not quite, but I eat sensibly and exercise a bit."

Unimpressed, the driver shot back, "Are you one-twenty-nine-twenty-one? I'm here to move your electrical service."

The neighbor dejectedly exhaled, pointed south, and replied, "Next door."


Reader to Reader welcomes (and pays for) anecdotes, overheard conversations, and slices of city life from 20 to 200 words in length. Send yours to Reader to Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611, or E-mail to

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