Arrested in Ohio was changing into a jail uniform...

A MAN

April 20, 1995

A MAN arrested in Ohio was changing into a jail uniform when a small boa constrictor fell out of his boxer shorts. The man said he was keeping it warm. The snake had no comment.

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IT'S often debated how much winning a Pulitzer Prize, generally considered the most prestigious award in journalism, helps a newspaper reporter's career. For some winners, it's a boost to a better job; for others it's a brief flash of glory that quickly fades. From this year's awards, we learn that it sometimes affects domestic tranquillity.

One of the new winners announced this week, Stephanie Saul of Newsday, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying her prize would have a direct bearing on the division of housework at home. Her husband, Walt Bogdanich, then of the Wall Street Journal, won a Pulitzer in 1988.

"It didn't help his career much, but he used it as an excuse to stop doing work around the house," Ms. Paul said Tuesday after learning of her award. "I told him just now on the phone that my seven years is just about to begin."

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THERE are significant differences between fiction and reality. Things that work well in books and movies just don't seem to have the same effect in real life.

Take a typical cliche: running off a plane at the last moment.

The scene is a common one in fiction. Two lovers are torn apart by responsibility and one must travel off to a distant land, never to return. She walks onto the plane -- head down, feet dragging -- and suddenly realizes she can't do it.

Her head comes up and her once-pale, sad face is glowing with happiness. She rushes past the stewardess and runs down the steps to the waiting arms of her lover and a warm embrace.

Unfortunately, reality doesn't work that way.

In the real world she runs down the steps, face glowing with happiness, and into the waiting arms of some nasty-looking men with guns. What follows is equally unpleasant.

Nuala Ni Chanainn discovered this when she left a Boeing 767 at San Francisco International Airport recently. What followed was a 3 1/2 -hour delay while airport security checked the plane for explosives and the FBI questioned Chanainn and her lover.

Love makes one act in mysterious ways, and suspicious ones, too.

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