Monday, January 25, 2021



A few months ago I bought a new 50-inch TV and had to carry it from the car into my house on my own.  

When my back was screaming in pain the next day and I mentioned it to one of my friends, she said, “I’ll bet you’re wishing your husband was still alive so you could have a man around to help you with stuff like lifting heavy things and moving furniture."

I had to chuckle because when it came to lifting things, I hate to say it, but my husband never was a whole lot of help.

I still remember the time back when we’d been married about 10 years, when I saw an ad for an oak wardrobe on sale for $79.95.  The place where we lived at the time had closets about the size of shoeboxes, so I thought buying a wardrobe would be a good way to add some additional storage space.

“At that price, let’s buy two!” my husband suggested. “We can put one in our bedroom and one in the spare room.”

“And how are we going to get them home?” I asked.

“We’ll take your car, the hatchback. Then you and I can carry the wardrobes into the house ourselves. They usually come packaged flat in boxes, and need to be assembled, so they should be pretty easy to carry. Besides that, you’re a big, strong girl.”

He made me feel as if I should be pulling a plow.

So against my better judgment, I accompanied him to the department store the next night.

Just as he’d said, the wardrobes did come in somewhat flat boxes…with “weight – 137 lbs.” printed on the sides. If I didn’t realize right then that there was about as much chance of us lifting those boxes as there was of us becoming the featured ballerinas in “Swan Lake,” I was convinced of it when the two young, burly employees who hoisted the boxes onto a dolly for us grunted like a couple of pigs at chow time.

I temporarily forgot about my box-lifting apprehension, however, during the drive home…because I was too worried about getting frostbite. Riding with the hatchback wide open on one of the coldest nights of the month wasn’t exactly the smartest thing we’d ever done. Neither was riding with two long boxes sticking into the back of my head. I was worried that if my husband slammed on the brakes and we got rear-ended, he’d have to chase after my head, which would be rolling somewhere down Route 3.

When we finally backed into our driveway, I breathed a sigh of relief.

But my relief turned out to be short-lived.

“Come on,” my husband said, practically leaping out of the car. “Start pushing the top box out of the hatchback while I pull.”

I tried giving the box a mighty shove, but the only thing that budged was something in my back…like maybe four or five vertebrae.

After 10 minutes of pushing and tugging, we finally got one of the boxes out of the car. My husband then decided to “walk” it over to the front steps. I giggled as I watched him bear-hug a six-foot tall box and waltz it up the driveway. When he reached the front steps, he laid the box on top of them.

“Come help,” he called out to me as I stood freezing by the car. “I’ll push the box up the stairs while you pull it.”

I climbed the stairs and tugged. We managed to move the box an inch at a time until it finally made it through the front door.

“Am I still breathing?” my husband gasped as he sank red-faced against the wall.

I nodded.

“Good, then I didn’t have a heart attack.”

Unfortunately, there still was another box out in the car. By then, it was after 9:30 PM. Even though we used every ounce of strength we could muster, which by then wasn’t a whole lot, the box refused to move. For one thing, we just couldn’t seem to get a good grip on it.

“What does a hernia feel like?” I groaned, holding my stomach.

“I’m not sure,” my husband groaned back. “But I’m pretty sure I have one.”

The neighbor’s porch light suddenly popped on and he stepped outside. “Need any help?” he called out. “I heard all the noise out here and got worried.”

My husband looked embarrassed. “Were we that loud?”

“How else would he know we were out here?” I muttered. “He must have heard you screaming, “Oh, God!  I think I’ve lost all of the feeling below my waist!”

The neighbor, who wasn’t even half my husband’s size, walked right past us and over to my car, then dragged out the box, hoisted it onto his back and carried it up the steps and into our house…while we stood there with our mouths hanging open.

The next morning, I was awakened by what sounded like the painful cries of a woman in labor. It was only my husband, trying to bend over to put on his socks.

“Having problems?” I asked him.

“My back hurts. And my knees, my legs, and my neck.” He continued to list body parts until he ran out of parts.

The two boxes containing the wardrobes sat unopened in our living room for weeks…until my father came over and helped my husband assemble them.

So I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself when I managed to carry the new TV into the house all on my own a few months ago.

Still, I think it might have been a lot more fun to watch my husband attempt to do it.


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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor,” “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation” and “Christmas, a Cabin and a Stranger.”  Contact her at:



Tuesday, January 19, 2021



There was a surgeon on a TV talk-show the other day who said that until he moved to New England, he’d never heard of Bag Balm. He said he first became aware of it when he noticed that a lot of his patients were coming in for their post-operative visits with the balm smeared over their incisions.                                 

Bag Balm originally was manufactured in New England as an ointment to help relieve the cracking and chafing on cows’ udders. Over the years, however, it became touted as a cure-all for humans, for everything from burns to psoriasis.

“I swear I’ll never cease to be amazed at some the strange home-remedies people come up with,” the doctor on TV said, chucking and shaking his head.

I couldn’t help but wonder what he would have thought if he had been able to see me at that very moment, sitting there with a piece of aloe plant duct-taped to my shin.

Allow me to explain. About 10 years ago I developed this tiny red bump on my leg. When it grew to be about the size of a pea, I had my doctor take a look at it. He said it was a harmless cyst that eventually would go away on its own. Over the years, it did get smaller, but it never completely disappeared…which really bugged me.

Anyway, a few days ago I happened to complain to one of my friends about the huge, ugly, disfiguring cyst on my shin (okay, so maybe I exaggerated just a tad).

“I know how you can get rid of it in less than a week,” she said “You take a clipping from an aloe plant, turn it inside out so the juicy part is on the outside, then tape it over the cyst using duct tape, making sure it’s air-tight. After that, do not, not under any circumstances, peek underneath the tape for five days. When you finally take off the tape, you’ll be amazed at the results. It works on skin tags, too."

I still don’t know whether it was curiosity, desperation, or simply a desire to prove that my friend should be locked up in a padded cell, but I actually ventured out of my house to  buy an aloe plant. As I write this, I’m on day four of Operation Cyst Removal. The burning desire to peek underneath the duct tape on my leg is keeping me awake nights, but I’m holding back, mainly because I’m afraid of what I’ll find underneath there. I mean, for all I know, the aloe has sprouted roots and is growing somewhere deep beneath my skin.

In the past, I’ve done even stranger things in the way of home remedies. I still can remember, back when I was about 10, my friend’s father telling me that if I wanted to get rid of the wart on the back of my hand, all I had to do was cut an onion in half, rub it on the wart, then spin around three times and toss the onion over my left shoulder. This, he said, should be done three days in a row.

In retrospect, I think he was just joking with me, but being a kid, I believed him because after all, he was an adult. So I secretly borrowed a couple onions from my mother’s 5-lb. bag underneath the kitchen sink and did exactly as my friend’s dad had instructed. The problem was, we lived in the city at the time, so when I flung the half-onion over my left shoulder, it went flying over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard. I can only imagine what he must have thought when he saw an onion lying in the middle of his walkway.

Then there was the onion smell to contend with. The first day of my wart-ridding secret ritual, my mother kept wrinkling her nose every time I came near her.

“Go take a bath,” she finally said. “And then we’re going shopping to buy you some women’s deodorant. I think you’re old enough now to start using it.”

I ended up having the wart removed by a dermatologist.

The juice of the mighty onion wasn’t used solely for warts, however. One of my ex-boyfriends used to squeeze it into his ears whenever he had an earache. Believe me, it was a great way to discourage me from ever leaning over to whisper sweet nothings into his ear.

There were many other remedies when I was growing up that were so bizarre, I would have preferred to suffer a slow and agonizingly painful death rather than try any of them. My grandmother, for example, firmly believed that leeches were the answer to everything that possibly could go wrong with the human body. Leeches, she said, sucked only the “bad blood," allowing fresh, healthy new blood to replace it. So she always kept a big jar of the squirmy creatures handy on her kitchen counter just in case something like an infection or an attack of lumbago popped up. 

And my other grandmother, who was from Canada, swore that for a sore throat, swollen glands or the mumps, nothing beat the “old sock” remedy, which involved filling a long stocking with baked beans or salt pork and tying it around the neck, leaving it there for several days 

I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect that the reason why the sock remedy resulted in so many speedy recoveries was because the smell of old baked beans and rancid salt-pork made the patients so nauseated, they completely forgot about their sore throats.

Kids nowadays don’t realize just how lucky they are not to have grown up during the “oil” era, when parents shoved castor oil and cod-liver oil down their kids’ throats to keep them healthy. It’s a wonder we didn’t create oil slicks whenever we went swimming, because I’m pretty sure the stuff was oozing out of our pores.

And if, heaven forbid, after choking down all of that nasty-tasting oil, we still caught a cold, there was Father John’s Medicine to combat it. 

If you had a good imagination, it kind of tasted like oranges. It also was a heck of a lot better than my grandfather’s cure for a cold – drinking a shot of kerosene. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised when he died of a severe stomach ailment.

For “female” problems, especially those that involved heavier than usual blood loss, my mother was a fan of a tonic created way back in the 1800s, called, “Lydia Pinkham for Pale People.” For the heck of it, I checked it out online just now, and it’s still being sold in a “modified” form. 

Sure, some of the old home-remedies might sound ridiculous in this modern day and age, but it’s not fair of me to “pooh-pooh” them until I’ve actually tried them myself.

Which reminds me…tomorrow I finally will be able to take a peek under the duct tape on my shin…and see if my aloe plant needs watering.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor,” “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation” and “Christmas, a Cabin and a Stranger.”  Contact her at:





Monday, January 11, 2021



I received an e-mail the other day from a business that specializes in helping people get rid of stuff they don’t want any more.

The e-mail described some of the unusual things that people had kept for years and finally decided to part with, such as a seven-year-old pregnancy test, a prosthetic leg, cans of expired sardines and a diffused bomb from World War II.

The e-mail then suggested that seeing that a lot of people make New Year’s resolutions to “declutter,” I probably would benefit from doing the same and making a fresh, uncluttered start in 2021.

The e-mail definitely gave me food for thought. My first thought was that I hadn’t “decluttered” anything in about 10 years. In fact, opening closets or cupboards in my house has become so dangerous, I probably should wear a hard-hat to prevent a concussion from low-flying objects.

Still, out of curiosity, I decided to throw caution to the wind and browse through my closets and cupboards to see if I might find something I’d like to part with.

The first thing I noticed was a dress I bought on Carnaby Street during my vacation in England back in 1968. It’s bright orange, has huge puffy sleeves, about 50 buttons down the front, and is so short, there is no possible way to sit in it without inciting someone to start singing a chorus of  “I see London, I see France, I see someone’s underpants.” And even if I greased my entire body with lard, I couldn’t squeeze into that dress. Yet I don’t want to part with it. Why not? Sentimentality.

And then there’s the set of Teflon-coated pots and pans I bought way back when I got engaged (and Teflon probably had just been invented). There was a company called Fingerhut back then that would send its products to you and, with no credit check, allow you to make really low time-payments. I think I made payments on those pots and pans for about 11 years.

So maybe there is hardly any Teflon left on them and they are so dented, they look as if I flung them off the top of Mount Washington. And maybe I haven’t used any of them in over 20 years because the flaking Teflon makes everything I cook look as if it’s been loaded with black pepper. So why do I keep the pots and pans? Sentimentality.

Then in my bedroom closet, there’s a big box filled with all of the dance-recital costumes I wore back when I still was in grammar and took dance lessons. There’s my swan costume from Swan Lake, my Mexican Hat Dance costume, complete with a glow-in-the-dark satin sombrero; and my firefly costume with light-up wings. My tap shoes and a pair of castanets also are in the box.

Have I kept these costumes and tap shoes for over 60 years because someday I think I might have a sudden urge to squeeze into the tap shoes and scuff up my floors, or maybe wear the glow-in-the-dark sombrero on a shopping trip to the mall? No. It’s just pure sentimentality.

The biggest amount of clutter, however, is caused by my collection of videotapes. I have videotapes everywhere: in drawers, in boxes under the bed, in cabinets, in Tupperware containers under the kitchen sink, and in paper bags and shoe boxes in closets.  

Most of the tapes are so old and brittle I don’t dare put them into a VCR for fear they instantly will disintegrate. And that’s another problem…I don’t even own a VCR any more. A lot of the tapes contain TV shows and movies I recorded but never got around to watching, like the final episode of Cheers and the 1988 Miss America pageant.

The rest of the tapes contain hours of footage of my dogs doing exciting things like yawning or licking themselves, and endless hours of my failed attempts to capture something worthy of sending to America’s Funniest Home Videos.

So why do I keep all of the 4,756 videotapes? Because on one of them, which I forgot to mark, is the TV commercial I created years ago when I won the “Make Your Own TV Commercial” contest sponsored by a discount store called Building 19.

Someday, when I have about 700 hours of free time, I will find a VCR and then fast-forward through all of my videotapes until I locate that commercial, which is less than a minute long. Till then, not even one tape is going to leave my house…not until I locate my original, prize-winning masterpiece.  Yes, I have to confess, it’s another case of sentimentality.

So I guess there really is nothing I want to dispose of at the moment that will help me to declutter my house.

Well…actually, there is something…I happened to come across a manila envelope that belonged to my late husband…and it contains photos of all of his ex-girlfriends.

To heck with sentimentality.


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Sally Breslin is an award-winning humor columnist and the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor,” “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation” and “Christmas, a Cabin and a Stranger.”  Contact her at:


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Tuesday, January 5, 2021



I figure that every New Year’s Day, about 400 million people make a resolution to lose weight and become more physically fit…and that by the first day of February, all but 120 of those people will break that resolution. 

Considering the fact I have vowed every New Year’s Day for the past 45 years to lose weight, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably never live long enough to be one of those 120 people. 

But even though I’m pretty hopeless, my late husband was even worse.

Without exaggeration, if there were an Olympic medal for being the speediest at breaking a diet, my husband could have won enough gold to fill Fort Knox.

Barely 10 minutes into his diet, he’d become totally obsessed with food.

“Don’t they show anything on TV but food commercials?” he’d always complain, flipping through channel after channel of endless plugs for Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts. “Look at that!  Another lousy food commercial!”

“But honey,” I’d say, “that’s a commercial for bunion pads.”

“Yeah, and bunions remind me of corns, and corns remind me of corn chips, corn muffins and caramel corn!” he’d snap.

For years, my husband and I lived under the misconception that because we were tempted by totally different foods, we were perfect candidates for the buddy-system method of dieting.  I mean, my weakness always was sweets while his was fried, fatty foods, so we figured it would be easy to steer each other away from temptation.

How naïve we were.

The first time I broiled a burger for him and put a slice of low-fat cheese on it, he nearly needed CPR.  “You call this a cheeseburger?” he asked, clearly aghast. “What happened to the grease, the juice dripping out of it when I bite into it?  If I wanted to eat hockey pucks, I’d become a goalie!”

His idea of the perfect burger was one that if it were dropped into water, would create an oil slick to rival the one made by the Exxon Valdez. 

He, however, was the only person I know who could open a bag of M&Ms and eat only two, then neatly fold the bag and set it aside for the next day. 

Hand me a bag of M&Ms and I instantly transform into one of those car vacuums at the local carwash and suck down the entire contents in one shot.  Still, I, unlike my husband, always have been able to eat only two or three potato chips and be completely satisfied.

So what usually ended up happening when we dieted was we would become so obsessed with each other’s stashes, we would cast aside our pride and stoop to bartering for food.

“I’ll do the dishes tonight if you give me five of your potato chips,” my husband would say.

“Dry the dishes and put them away and I’ll double it to 10 chips,” I’d answer.

“How about if I just swap you half of my Kit-Kat bar for 10 of your chips?”

“It’s a deal!”

Every January, gluttons for punishment that we were, my husband and I always discussed starting yet another buddy-type diet, even though we knew we were doomed to fail by nightfall of the first day.

With feigned enthusiasm, I’d say something like, “I’ll buy only the leanest cuts of meat and one of those George Foreman grills. And I’ll make salads and brown rice to replace the French fries and mashed potatoes.”

“And we can have fresh fruits and unsweetened juices instead of sodas and candy,” my husband would add.

Then we’d look at each other and start laughing. 

“I’m starving!” he’d say, leaping to his feet and grabbing his coat. “I’m going to Wendy’s.”

“Drop me off at the nearest bakery on your way,” I’d add, running after him.

So this year, have I once again made a resolution to lose weight…for the 46th time?

Sorry, I can’t answer that right now.  I’m baking cookies and I smell something burning.


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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines for over 45 years. She is the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor,” “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation" and “Christmas, a Cabin and a Stranger.” Contact her at: