Friday, December 31, 2010

Honey, I'm 42 and Still Wondering the Same Thing

A couple ring in the New Year with party blowers and streamers, circa 1930. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: by Jennifer Mendelsohn

At: a Baltimore Party City store

Two college-aged girls buying New Year's Eve supplies.

"So when do we get, like, 'serious?' I wonder when that happens."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ho Ho Ho! That's The Spirit, Mom!

Three year old Linda Kitta of Poplar is awed by Father Christmas at a London store. Decades 50's 0895-070   (Photo by Monty Fresco Jnr/Getty Images)

Overheard: In the Santa Line

By: Nichole Bernier

"I don't know why we bother year after year. All you do is cry. Then you cry that you cried."

Editor's Note: This will one day be the subject of a therapy session. Mark my words.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

See, Jimmy's Always Been Tricky That Way...

A little girl takes tea with her doll, circa 1935. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: Outside a Sherman Oaks, California school

By: Wendy Liebman

Three year old girl: There's Jimmy!
Mom: I don't see him, honey.
Girl: It's not the visible Jimmy.

Editor's Note: "Visible Jimmy" is totally joining my long list of possible band names, led by the perennial favorite, "Who By Beast."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When It Comes Right Down To It, What Else Is There?

A little boy sits on the floor and stares intently at the TV, circa 1950. (Photo by V. Prazak/FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: in an Austin, TX elevator.

By: Marla Erwin

"All I want to do is watch 30 Rock and eat cheese."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

No, See, That's Called Haiku. No, Prose! No, no! It's A Play!

Circa 1600, William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), English dramatist and poet. Born and spent his early life in Stratford-upon-Avon. Established in London as actor and playwright by 1592. His plays include 'Macbeth', 'Romeo and Juliet', 'The Merchant of Venice', 'King Le (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)

Overheard: at a Hunt Valley, MD card store

By: Greg Abel

20something woman at the customer service counter flipping through a teen romance novel. "I don't like books like this. I like real stories. What do you call that, fiction?"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not Exactly the Word I'd Use, But...Whatever

The cast of Jersey Shore hangs out in Miami, Florida on May 7, 2010 doing what they do best, GTL (gym, tan and laundry)! Fame Pictures, Inc

Overheard: in a New York City editorial meeting

By: GCP Editor

"But Snooki has, like...culture

Oh, Honey. It Happens To The Best Of Us

1957:  An alcoholic stares into the bottom of his glass while two bottles of spirits stand at the ready in front of him.  (Photo by Frank Martin/BIPs/Getty Images)

Overheard: on a Los Angeles street corner. Two young women waiting to cross the street.

By: Jason Thompson

"Every time I burp, I taste vodka."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Doh! Everybody Knows That's Stu Sutcliffe

Overheard: at Broadway Pizza in Potomac, Maryland.

By: Alison Buckholtz

Two guys looking at the famous poster of John Lennon in his "New York City" shirt.

"Who is that guy?"

"I think it's John Kennedy or something."

"He must be so old now."

"Yeah, he's like 80 years old."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Don't Know. Let's Defer to Emily Post

circa 1945:  Formal portrait of a bride and groom posing with their bridal party outdoors.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: in a NYC hotel elevator

Two 20something guys discussing the makeup of a bridal party.

Guy 1: "So I guess her brother has to be in there, too. That's kind of expected, right?"

Guy 2: "Yeah." (Beat.) "Unless you want to piss people off."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oh, I Remember! They Also Played Moe-Zart

Circa 1722, German organist and Barouque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: at an Austin nail salon

By: Wendi Aarons

Large Texas woman talking to a Vietnamese nail tech: "Oh, this classical music y'all are playin' is Patchy Bell's Canon. It's from my weddin'."

Editor's Note: My brother lived in a Binghamton, NY neighborhood where all the streets were named for composers. One of them was called Bee- (rhymes with see) thoven Street. The h was not silent, either. (Details!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You Know What? I'm Just Going to Take Your Word For It

American singer and actor Bing Crosby (1903 - 1977) slides to bolt on one of his guns as he sits on the edge od his gun rack, while dressed in a heavy suede coat and a stetson, 1950s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: in a Baltimore diner

"Next time you go to your Dad's house, look at his gun case. You'll see."

Also overheard from same guy: "It would hurt me more to see you get hurt than it would for me to be hit by a bus." (Ed.'s Note: We're calling questionable.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Well, With Subtle Differences, But Yes

A woman kneels in a chair dressed in her brassiere and stockings, admiring herself in a hand mirror and arranging her hair, 1940s. (Photo by George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Overheard: by Ed Shahzade

13 year old boy: "So, bras and batteries go by the same system, like A to D's?"

Ed's Note: An appreciative hat tip to Lisa Bonchek Adams for sending this one my way.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Well, Naturally...

13th September 1952:  Six women, with Gloria Nord (right), star of Tom Arnold's Ice Circus in Brighton, under the driers at the hairdressers. Original Publication: Picture Post - 6052 - An Ice Girl Gets Up - pub. 1952  (Photo by Thurston Hopkins/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Overheard: at a high school reunion

By: Katie Rosman

Anne: "Your hair color is so pretty!"
Rachel: "Thanks, it's really expensive."

Beatrix' Keen Grasp of the Obvious Was Her Most Endearing Trait

circa 1934:  Nancy Debenham setting off for a motorcycle rally in Nottingham with her pet dog Bill on board.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: in South Dakota during annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Week, which attracts more than 500,000 bikers

By: Julie Kleckley Hummer

A lovely lady with an English accent:"There are so many motorcyles. I wonder if there's an event?"

Friday, September 3, 2010

Physician, Heal Thyself?

21st October 1950:  The graveyard at Bywell near to the River Tyne. Original Publication: Picture Post - 5138 - Down The Tyne - pub.1950  (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Overheard: on the 9:04 N.J. Transit train to New York

By: Bruce Fretts

Breathless overweight man on cell phone: "Hello, yes, I'm on the train...he died two days ago...wait (huff huff), let me get into my was a blessing..."

Adds Bruce: "Upon further forced eavesdropping, I learned this man is a doctor, it was his father-in-law who died, and he's planning to work from 11-7 today and be reachable via phone while the family sits shiva. Upon turning around, I discovered this was the same obese man who earlier had needed a stranger's help to extricate himself from his too-tight backpack. Oh, doctor!"

Editor's Note: We're wondering if we should just give hand over the blog keys to Bruce, who always seems to find us the best stuff. Or maybe we just need to start riding N.J. Transit more.

Additional Editor's Note: Why do people on cell phones on trains always feel the need to start conversations by stating the fact that they are on trains?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rule of Thumb: When Hamsters Are Involved, The Story is *Always* Long

BERLIN - SEPTEMBER 13:  A pet hamster enjoys a brief moment of freedom outside his cage on September 13, 2008 in Berlin, Germany. Hamsters are among the most popular pets for children.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Overheard: in Philadelphia.

By: Bill Barol

Lobby security guard: "Kid comes by, he's like, 'Hey, where's my hamster?' I'm like, 'Dude, it's a long story.'"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shame, Shame

circa 1932:  American film actress Polly Moran whispering to a friend.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard by Katie Rosman.

"She's a really nice girl. It's not her fault her husband made so much money."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That Darned Spidey Sense Can Be *So* Annoying

404542 01: An inflatable Spiderman hangs on the facade of a movie theater April 26, 2002 in New York City. A film based on the comic book hero debuts May 3, 2002. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images)

Overheard: at a Baltimore playground

By: Jennifer Mendelsohn

Boy of four or five, deadly earnest, to two other kids:

"So, my spidey sense was tingling..."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

That's OK. Just Digg It, Then

Two pupils at Hardwicke School in Herefordshire using a computer terminal, June 1987. (Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: by Claudine Jalajas

Max, 7, (laughing hard): "Oh my God, Annabelle. That was so funny. You should put that on your blog."

Annabelle, 4: "Wha...t?"

Max: "Yeah, I don't really know what that means either."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Yes, Johnny. You'll Also Want to Avoid Putting Sticks in His Eyes

GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 12:  Children play in the fountain of water created by an opened fire hydrant in the East End of Glasgow on July 12, 2005, Glasgow, Scotland. Temperatures climbed above 30 degrees Celsius in many areas across the country. Temporary speed restrictions have also been put in place on the rail network after a summer heat wave hit Scotland.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Overheard: at the pool

By: Jennifer Mendelsohn

Distracted father on Blackberry: "Are you pouring water on his head? Well, you want to avoid that, because it makes him scream."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Well, Yes, Generally, That's Where These Things Happen

1909:  A poster for the film 'Roosevelt in Africa' which depicted the adventures of the former Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919), on safari in Africa.  (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

Overheard: at a Harrisburg, PA cafe

By: Amy Argetsinger

"My brother took his family on frickin' African safari -- IN AFRICA!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thanks For Sharing

A woman smiles while holding bottles of various types of alcohol, including peach brandy, port wine, gin, absinthe, and forbidden fruit.   (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: on a NJ Transit Train at 1:11 a.m.

By: Bruce Fretts

Drunk woman: "My hands are always clean. I wash them every time I wipe!"

Also (to her even drunker friend): "We're almost home. We'll be landing in 10 minutes."

Writes Bruce:
Need I add she had a tramp stamp?

I thought not.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

They Really Do Say The Darndest Things...

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s:  Indoor portrait of yelling boy.  (Photo by George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)
Overheard: in Monterey, Mexico

Daniella, eight, with authority: "I'll handle this."
Douglas, eight: "Don't be a fool."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why Does This Sound Vaguely Like a Pickup Line?

July 1902:  Miss Leigh Pemberton dressed as Bo Peep, with a crook and all, for a fancy dress party.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: at a party in Charlottesville, Virginia

By: Amy Argetsinger

Four-year-old girl eating a fruit kabob:

"As soon as I finish this strawberry, I'll show you what this dress can do."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Well, Clearly, Given The Options...

Weight Watching Tot

Overheard by: Heather Spohr

"I'm OK with looking crazy in pictures, I just don't want to look FAT."

Is This Some Sort of Political Correctness Thing?

Proud Granny

Overheard at: A Towson, MD playground

By: Jennifer Mendelsohn

"Now let's play 'Super Senior Citizens!'"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oh, Honey, Aren't We All?

Gloria Swanson

Overheard: On the 5:52 NJ Transit Train to Newark

By: Bruce Fretts

A twentysomething woman walking through the crowded train car, talking loudly into her cell phone: "I am a magnet for unavailable men!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dude! We Can Totally Go Viral!

Overheard: in Raleigh, NC

By: Leslie Gartenberg

Noah (5) encouraging Eli (1): "OK, I've got the camera, now dunk yourself in something."

Monday, May 17, 2010

And The Cat's Name is Betty Crocker

Cataract Cat

Overheard: At a McLean, Virginia vet's office

By: Kate Rapaczynski Karafotas

Woman: "Yeah, I brought my dog in because he just drank almost a whole box of wine and he's trashed. He can't even walk."
Tech: "What's your last name?"
Woman: "Hines."
Tech: "And the dog's name?"
Woman: "Duncan."

We Get This Mixup A Lot

Seated Figure of Hatshepsut

Overheard: at IKEA Brooklyn

By: Liz Gumbinner

"Which Nefertiti are you talking about? Your cousin or the one from work?"

(This one goes nicely with this one, btw. Ah, the diversity of Brooklyn.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Know Somebody Who's Not Getting Any on This Vacation...

Bathing Beauty

Overheard at: Maui resort pool

By: Wendi Aarons

"Oh, honey, that li'l swim skirt ain't foolin' anyone about the size of yo' big ass."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

We Wonder What They Talk About at Thanksgiving

Kentucky Grace

Overheard at Mother's Day brunch.
By: Susan Orlean

"I like your boyfriend!"

"Yeah, well, he's married. My dad fixed us up."

He's the Mayor of that Slide on Foursquare

Climbing Ladder

Overheard: by Matt Mendelsohn at a DC-area playground

Child slides down slide, then turns to his mother:

"Mom, are you going to put that on Facebook, what I just did?"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No Decaf. But Iced Coffee is Fine.

Overheard: at Starbucks in Boston's Theater District

By: Delia Cabe

Guy: I'd like a decaf tall.
Barista: No coffee because of boil order.
Guy: Decaf, too?

Monday, May 3, 2010

But How Does He Feel About Liza?

Overheard: in a Richmond, Virginia restaurant

Man orders a mai tai, woman companion orders a beer.

She then felt compelled to tell the waitress, "He's not gay."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And Next Week in High School Health Class...

June 1955:  Model Sylvia Shelley (real name Tessa de Chair) portrays an anxious mother hovering behind a sulky teenager.  (Photo by David Olius/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard: Through a wall in St. Paul, MN

By: Alexa Stevenson


And…door slam!

Step Into Applebee's and It's Curtains for the Right One

Overheard: in Austin, Texas

By: Allison Wright

"Honey, I would rather lose my left testicle than eat at the Olive Garden."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't Tell Snooki

Overheard on the street, from a fighting couple:

Man: "I guess you picked the wrong night to not be in New Jersey."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Um, Mom? Can't You See I'm Talking to Hudson and Sterling?

Overheard: in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

"Dashiell, say goodbye to Porter!"

Can Health Care Reform Fix This?

Overheard: At the doctor's office

By: Lisa Bonchek Adams

Woman in front of me at blood draw is asked for her doctor's name.

"Smith," she says.

Tech: "First name?"

Woman: "Doctor."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Maybe It's Time for "Disney on Ice," Then

Overheard at: Disney's Animal Kingdom

By: Matt Mendelsohn

"I don't wannnnnnna go to Africa. It's tooooooo hot there."

And Her Favorite Food is...Yellow!

Overheard: At preschool

By: Sara Doty Kamholz

Teacher: What's your favorite color?
Child: Cheese!

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee...

Ali In Vegas

Overheard: At Penn Station pizza place 9:15 p.m.

By: Bruce Fretts

Woman: I work in licensing with Muhammad Ali, which is pretty cool. He's kind of a badass.

Man: Well, not anymore...

Woman: Yeah, the Parkinson's doesn't really work with the brand.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Like, OMG! Zach! He's, Like, TOTALLY CRAZY!

Overheard: On the 12:34 a.m. NJ Transit Train from Penn Station to Dover

By: Bruce Fretts

Seton Hall sorority girl: "Guess who crashed our formal last night? Zach. I was like, 'Who are you here with?' and he was like, 'Nobody.'"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Well, That Typically Depends on the Occasion

Overheard at: Old Navy

By: Lisa Bonchek Adams (Ringing our ceremonial bell for our first repeat contributor!

"Do you want to buy the ones that fit or the ones that don't?"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pssst! Mom! Santa's a Fake, Too

Earth Day, part II

Overheard: In coffee shop line, during thunderstorm. (Again with the coffee shops!)

By: Marilyn Pollack Naron

Mom to little boy: "Mother Nature is crying on Earth Day."

Boy: "I think it's just raining."

Doh! And I Forgot to Send a Card!

Overheard: In Starbucks (I'm sensing a theme here, btw.)

By: Jodi Sternoff Cohen

4 year old boy: "Mommy, tomorrow's a big holiday. It's Earth Day."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

She Was Afraid to Turn Around

Overheard: on the bus today.

By: Katie Anderson

The man behind me said, "Ahh, nothing like sending a good naked tweet."

Hard to Say Who's Qualified to Make a Ruling Here

1953:  An elderly man and woman pose while eating from opposite sides of the same donut, during a Donut Dunking Association meeting. They have a plate of donuts and two cups of coffee.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Overheard at: Starbucks last Sunday

By: Lisa Bonchek Adams

One old man to another old man: "Do I look like a sugar daddy?"

(BTW, three postings since we started last night and two of them are conversations between old men? What gives here?)

And You're One to Talk?

Overheard: On the Avenue in Hampden, Baltimore city.

Tank-top clad full-on hon, shrieking: "Oh yeah?! Well that's why you can't KEEP A MAN!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our very first official entry

Overheard at: The library

By: Jana Chapman Gates

Two elderly men, sitting side-by-side in overstuffed chairs:

"She was the best bartender ever."

"And then what happened?"

"She just dropped dead."


Ten years ago I had what I thought was a great idea: a book of overheard conversation. Just funny snippets of things overheard on planes and in elevators and bars and from passersby on the street. I pictured it as one of those little stocking stuffer gift books, the kind you find in the front of the bookstore, next to those compilations of inspirational quotes about sisters and cats. I remember telling my husband about it on one of our first dates. You know, to show him how cool I was and all.

My agent at the time was meh, at best. So I promptly forgot all about it. Married the husband. Had two kids and all that.

But leave it to Twitter, right?

This weekend Paul Campanella posted two gems he overheard in Concourse D of the Atlanta airport: "I love me some damn babies," and "My parents' house in New Jersey is 56,000 sq feet."

And then today, Judy Clement Wall chimed in with something she'd overheard: "My life is the bastard child of Groundhog Day and Kafka."

In journalism, we like to say that three things make a trend. So this, my friends, is a trend. And, because it's 2010, what else does one do, but start a blog?

So welcome to "Overheard..." You can share any gems you hear with me at And tell me where you heard it and, if you like, your name and website.

Can't wait to hear what you've heard.