Monday, September 27, 2021



Before I get into the topic of this week’s blog, I first wanted to note that I have been writing my column, “Sally’s World,” in the Senior Beacon newspaper (based in Milford, NH) for four years this month, and have loved every minute of it. So this weekend I was saddened to be informed that after 36 years of publication, the next issue of the Beacon (October) will be the last. 

Bill and Vivian Balam, the owners, have decided to retire and begin a new chapter in their life together.  Their paper always was filled with helpful info and interesting articles written especially for readers age 50 and older, and I’m sure it will be greatly missed. I want to wish Bill and Vivian much love, health and happiness in the years to come, and to thank them for all of the support and encouragement they have given me during the past four years.


I’ve noticed lately that quite a few businesses have been trying to entice customers by offering free gifts.

For example, last week Shaw’s offered to give me a free bag of organic croutons if I shopped there.

And if I bought $10 worth of hand sanitizer at Ocean State Job Lot, I’d get a $10 gift card. Actually, I couldn’t resist that deal, so I stocked up. I’ve learned from experience that you never can have too much hand sanitizer nowadays.

But sometimes a free gift actually can be more trouble than it’s worth. I still can recall back a few years ago when an electronics store was offering a free DVD movie with each tax-preparation program you purchased.

When I saw the advertisement, I rushed right over to the store and selected my favorite tax program, which cost around $50, then I asked one of the clerks what free DVD came with it. I figured it would be something pretty obscure, like “1001 Elvis Impersonators Unleashed,” but to my surprise, the clerk said, “Pick out any DVD we have in stock…as long as it’s under $20.” 

Well, the store must have had 10,000 DVDs. I immediately felt panicky. How on earth, I wondered, was I going to pick just one?

I searched through acres of Mel Gibson movies, Tom Cruise movies, Sylvester Stallone movies and John Travolta movies. I studied the covers of concert movies of every band from Abba to Frank Zappa. An hour passed, and still I hadn’t selected a free DVD. It was sheer torture.

That’s when I recalled my husband mentioning some new movie starring Angelina Jolie he really wanted to see. I couldn’t remember the exact title of the film, only that it had something to do with cooking. I managed to track down another clerk.

“Do you have that new Angelina Jolie movie?” I asked him. “The title has something to do with cooking, I think.”

He gave me a blank stare.

Then I remembered something else my husband had mentioned about it. “I think she plays a spy in it.”

A look of realization suddenly crossed his face. “Oh, you must mean Salt,” he said, smiling. “It’s right over there on the end cap.”

As I headed toward the rack, the clerk called out to me, “By the way, Salt is her name in the movie, not a condiment!”

As it turned out, the movie was $19.99, so Angelina fell within the “free DVD” range by the skin of her pearly-white teeth. I breathed a sigh of relief.

When I brought Salt home and handed it to my husband, he was thrilled…perhaps a little too much so. That’s when I started thinking that maybe I should have selected something like a “Shrek” movie instead. I mean, I’d rather have had my husband staring at a giant green ogre for two hours than a sexy, shapely, pouty-lipped vixen who probably would be wearing very little and doing a lot of running, jumping and bouncing in the movie.

 Salt turned out to be everything my husband had hoped it would be and more…endless scenes of Angelina sprinting, leaping, climbing, karate chopping, dangling by her heels and blowing up things. She even jumped out of a helicopter and into a river below. His eyeballs practically bulged out of their sockets as he stared, seemingly hypnotized, at the screen. 

I thought I heard one of the dogs panting while we were watching the movie, but now that I think about it, I’m not certain if it was the dog or my husband. Had he agreed to wear the heart monitor his doctor had tried to talk him into wearing just a few days before, no doubt the paramedics would have grabbed a defibrillator and been breaking down our door.

Immediately after we finished watching the DVD, I sold it on eBay for a high bid of $7.25. Not too shabby for a freebie, especially since I was eager to get rid of it before my husband decided to watch it again.

So I guess free gifts can be a good thing sometimes – even though my dad always preached to me that nothing in life actually is free.

And speaking of free, why is the word “free” always used when describing a gift from a business? Isn’t it an established fact that the word “gift” means it’s something that’s given to you free of charge? So the word “free” in front of it is just redundant, isn’t it?

I think I’m getting carried away here, so I’d better sign off…and maybe go pick up my free organic croutons at Shaw’s.

But they're not fooling me. I know exactly what's going on in their clever little minds. They're hoping I'll have to buy lots of expensive ingredients to make the salad that will go underneath all of those free croutons.                                     

Maybe my dad was right after all.      

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:



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Monday, September 20, 2021


One thing about keeping a journal all my life is that it’s like having my own personal time-machine. So the other night I decided to pick a date and look it up in my journals every year from 1964 to 1967. I chose September 21st.

I had no clue if those days would be boring, funny, sad or exciting, but I decided to copy them as they appear, no matter what. So here are the results!

MONDAY, SEPT. 21, 1964

 To my embarrassment, word spread around school that Mrs. Thomas [the gym teacher] called me Brigitte Bardot because every time I have to do a stretching exercise in my gym suit, the snaps pop open down the front. When I walked into homeroom this morning, Michael called out, “Hey, Bridge!” and everyone laughed. My face was SO red!

Dee and I walked downtown after school. These two cute guys asked us if we knew how to get to St. Anselm’s College. We had no idea. One guy had dark hair and the other had blonde hair. They were shocked when we told them we were still in high school. The blonde guy seemed to have kind of a dirty mind, but the other guy was OK.

            TUESDAY, SEPT. 21, 1965

It was 95 degrees today – too hot to be stuck in school, but I had no choice. It was an unlucky day all around. First I forgot my lunch in the car. Then we had student council elections in homeroom to pick a representative. I was nominated, but lost. Later, I pulled my books out of my locker and dropped them on my big toe. It really hurt. Then I got a 40 on my algebra test! I have NO idea why I have to take algebra anyway. I’d rather learn something useful instead of wasting my time. But every time I see Vlangas [the guidance counselor] he tells me I need algebra to get into college – then he complains about my hair being too long and shaggy. What’s that got to do with anything? Does he think it affects my brain and if I cut it, I’ll suddenly figure out algebra?

Had Westette practice after school, which was a mess. We’re supposed to be a precision drill team and we were all out of step. We’ll be the joke of every football game if we don’t improve…fast. I think drunk people could have kept straighter rows. 

Tim [the boy next door] dropped by after I got home. When Mom was out in the kitchen, he tried to kiss me. Some nerve! He’s going steady and I practically am! He knows it, too.


Stayed after school to work on the yearbook. It’s slowly starting to come together. Then I walked downtown to meet Don [my boyfriend back then]. Sue and her ex, Ronnie, got into a huge argument in front of the Puritan. Don walked me home and Mom fed us supper. It started to rain out. Mom was going to meet her friend Jane for supper, so she offered to give Don a ride to his part-time job at Chicopee Mill – his first night there. So I was home alone after that. Maureen came over. We ate blueberry muffins and read Tiger Beat magazines. I ended up not going to bed until after midnight because I still had my homework to do after Maureen left. I HATE homework. Isn’t being in school all day enough torture? Why do we have to bring it home with us too?

THURSDAY, SEPT. 21, 1967 

(My second week at a local commercial college where I had only one class – computer science – 6 hours per day, 4 days per week. There were 18 in my class.) 

I think this was both a “let’s be crazy” and “let’s make a mess” day at school. I was at the keypunch machine, punching cards to feed the computer, when Bruce came up behind me and decided to be funny and typed the word “asshole” on one of my cards! So I had to punch in the info all over again, the jerk! I don’t like to spend much time in the computer room anyway because it has to be so cold in there all the time. It’s like sitting in a fridge.

I ate lunch with Linda and Claudia. Then Bruce and Dick sat with us. Dick spilled his iced coffee all over his lap and everyone teased him about wetting his pants! Back in class, Genney accidentally dropped her lit cigarette on my flowchart papers! I was scared they’d end up going up in flames! Then Linda spilled a Coke all over her books! It was almost like there was some kind of a “dropsy” curse on everyone, no kidding.

At break, Dick, Claudia and I stood by the candy machine and talked. We got on the subject of marriage. Claudia, who’s married, said it’s great. Bruce said it’s for the birds. Dick said it’s like every woman’s goal is to nab a husband, so he tries to avoid any serious relationships. We spent the rest of the afternoon learning the history of IBM and also our specific computers, the 360 and the 1401. I thought it was going to be a huge bore, but it actually was pretty interesting. 

Sue and I went downtown after supper. She was wearing her new human-hair fall she paid $84 for!  Wow, that’s like two weeks’ pay! It looked really good on her though, until this strong gust of wind blew it all over the place and messed it up. Then it started to rain and she was afraid if it got wet, it would be ruined, so we took the bus home instead of walking. There was a brawl on Elm Street and the paddy wagon came and hauled away the guys who were fighting.


So there you have it!  Hate to say it, but I don’t even remember a few of these people I wrote about!

And ironically, not long after I graduated with my degree in computer science and programming, the IBM models I’d learned on became obsolete. So if there was one thing I learned about computers back then, it was that I’d probably have to continue going to school forever to keep up with them…and I really hated school. Needless to say, my days of programming ended when I received my diploma!

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:



Monday, September 13, 2021



It’s weird, but lately I’ve noticed that more and more people seem to be having problems with the whole concept of age.

Take the other day, for example, when I was looking at the vitamins in a local pharmacy. Actually, I was searching in vain for OsCal calcium, which recently has been discontinued, but I’ve been taking it since I was 12 so I’m always hoping I might discover some ancient, dust-covered bottle of it hidden at the back of a shelf somewhere.

Anyway, I don’t know why, but I picked up a bottle of folic acid and was reading the label. I’d heard a lot of things about it – everything from it prevents colon cancer to it grows hair and helps women get pregnant (a vision of a very hairy, Sasquatch-looking pregnant woman just popped into my mind). Of course, all of these claims also have been hotly disputed.

There was a young woman standing next to me and she also reached for a bottle of folic acid.

“Are you trying to get pregnant, too?” she asked me. “My husband and I have been trying for over a year now, and I’m hoping this will help.” 

I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. My “child-bearing” years ended, due to totally natural causes, back when the newspaper headlines featured Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

I also had another age-related chuckle not too long ago at the supermarket. The checkout clerk, a kid about 17, rang up my items and said, “Your total is $19.01.”

I jokingly said, “1901!  The year I was born!”

“Really?” he said, his eyebrows arching. “That’s cool.”

The man in line behind me overheard us and started laughing.

“You look great for 120,” he said to me. “Heck, I wouldn’t have given you a day over 115!”

And then there’s my friend Bobby, who’s 83. He hosts a weekly golden-oldies radio show and also writes a music column for several senior publications. Recently, I happened to mention to him during one of our phone conversations that he seems stuck in the late 1940s and 1950s and should expand his repertoire to at least the 1960s and ‘70s so he can attract a bigger audience.

“But the ‘40s and ‘50s are where the true golden oldies are,” he said. “All of the other stuff is too new. Senior citizens won’t even know any of those songs or be able to relate to them.”

I said, “You DO realize that the 1970s were 50 years ago, and the 1960s were 60 years ago, don’t you? How much more “old-y” do you want to get? Even Ringo of the Beatles is 81! I’m surprised you’re not playing dance tunes from the Charleston era while you’re at it!”   

There was silence on the phone for several seconds, then I heard, “Holy s*#t! You’re right!  It’s just that I’m still personally relating to all of the songs my friends and I grew up listening to.”

“And how many of those friends are still around now to listen to your radio show or read your columns?” I asked him.

“Um…two…no, maybe one?”

“I rest my case." 

“You make a good point,” he said. “Maybe I should seriously start thinking about modernizing things a bit, then.”

I had to chuckle at his use of the word “modernizing” when referring to music from 50-60 years ago.

“Yep, Bobby, I hate to say it, but time flies. Even Monica Lewinsky will be eligible for AARP membership in a year or two.” 


“Never mind.”

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021



I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I spent one night last week being completely unproductive. I sat on the sofa and using my laptop, spent hours taking Internet quizzes.

The titles of the quizzes were so intriguing, every time I decided I wasn’t going to take another one, a new quiz would pop up with an enticing title like, “Let Us Give You an Appropriate Nickname,” and I’d be hooked.

I've learned a lot about myself I never knew before, thanks to those quizzes. For example, one of them told me if I were an animal, I’d be an eagle.  Needless to say, that surprised me, especially since I have poor eyesight, hate to fly and if I were a bald eagle, I’d be the type who’d probably rush out and buy a toupee. Besides that, I honestly thought my animal would turn out be something like a laughing hyena…or a sloth.

Then I took a quiz where they said they could guess the kind of car I drive. The first question asked how long I’d been driving. The minute I entered “over 50 years,” I was pretty sure they’d say my car was a Model-T Ford. The next question was, “Do you like your car?”  followed by, “Do you like to be seen in it?” I assumed they were trying to figure out if my car was so worn out and hideous looking, it was held together with duct tape, or if I happened to drive by anyone I knew, if I’d slouch down in the driver’s seat.

The end result, according to the quiz, was I drive a Bentley Continental. I’ve never even heard of it. The only Continental I’m familiar with is a Lincoln, and those run around $50,000, which is about $43,000 more than I paid for my current car, which I bought used.  Out of curiosity, I looked up the price of a Bentley and discovered it costs about the same as a new house. At that price, if I live to be 120, I might be able to save up enough to buy one of its tires.  

I went on to the next quiz where they said they could guess my middle name. I thought the questions were kind of weird. I mean, how could telling them if I prefer odd or even numbers or get over seven hours of sleep per night give them any clue about my middle name?  They finally concluded my middle name is Jean. It’s actually Ann. At least they got two of the letters right.

Another quiz told me how long my life expectancy is.  One question asked if I could choose a perfect companion, would it be a human, dog, cat or an inanimate object. The thought of having an inanimate object as a companion made me laugh – although, I actually could picture myself hanging around with and snuggling up to my refrigerator, especially when I’m dieting. The end result said I’ll live to be 101 – not nearly long enough to save up to buy a tire for the Bentley.

The quiz that really interested me was what my true career should be.  However, I thought those questions were the strangest of all, especially the one that asked my opinion of personal hygiene. I checked off, “It’s important, but I’m not obsessed with it” rather than “cleanliness is next to godliness.” I guess they took that to mean I don’t bathe regularly and should have a stay-at-home career, far away from other people. My ideal career, according to them? A writer!

I couldn’t believe they finally got something right.

“Which movie is based on your life?” the next quiz asked.  I love romances, so I figured it would be something like “Gone With the Wind” or “Love Story.”  So I was less than pleased when my quiz results said the movie, “The Hangover,” was based on my life.  I mean, I don’t even drink. The explanation, however, said it was attributed to the fact I love people, can easily strike up a conversation and I haven’t really grown up yet. That made it sound a lot better than if they’d said, “Because you constantly act as if you’ve been out binge drinking.”

Then, I’ve always been a big fan of the Star Wars movies, so the quiz entitled, “Which Star Wars Character are You?” caught my attention. My result was I should be the old bearded guy, Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The explanation said it was because I’m brave and fairly intelligent. Believe me, the word “brave” never has been used to describe me, especially when spiders are around. And what does “fairly” intelligent mean? That I’m less than smart?

There was one quiz I refused to take, however, even though it said it was for entertainment purposes only. It was, “Find out When and How You Will Die.”  Just the title gave me the creeps. One of my cousins took it and it told her she would die 15 years from now in a car crash in Manchester. She thought it was good for a laugh and shrugged it off. If I, on the other hand, had taken that quiz and it told me that, I immediately would be plotting ways in which to hibernate that entire year, miles away from anything with wheels on it.

The other day, I was telling one of my friends about my night of quiz-taking and she groaned and said, “Don’t you know why they ask you all of those dumb questions about personal hygiene, the kind of car you like and how many hours of sleep you get, when they don’t seem to have anything to do with the topics of the quizzes?”

“Well, I thought it was to help them figure out the best answer for me,” I naively said.

“No,” she said. “They don’t care about the quiz, they’re just trying to get information about you for their advertisers!  Pretty soon you’ll be getting emails trying to sell you everything from deodorant and laundry detergent to a new car!”

That might explain why I’ve been getting a lot of email advertisements for mattresses lately. Maybe I shouldn’t have told them I usually get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night.

Or maybe they’re thinking that someone whose life is based on the movie, “The Hangover,” really could use a new mattress.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


I can remember when standing in long checkout lines happened mainly during the Christmas season. Well, I went shopping this week (at 1 PM on a Tuesday), and ended up waiting in lines so long, I began to think I might have been in a coma for a few months and it actually was December.

Target, for example, had only one register open, with an employee directing people to the “self-checkout.”  I have had such disastrous results in the past when trying to use one of those dumb things (which kept yelling at me in its robotic voice whenever I goofed up), the employee ended up doing if for me anyway – so it really wasn’t a “self” checkout after all. And when I got home and looked at my receipt, I noticed I’d been charged twice for the dog biscuits.

After Target, I went to Walmart, where only two registers were open, but at least that was a slight improvement. When I finished my shopping and headed for the checkout, I noticed that the shorter line snaked all the way back into the women’s clothing department. I had no choice other than to go to the end of it – or just abandon my cart and run (which I briefly did consider).

At least I was able to look at the latest fall-fashion trends while waiting…as the chicken in my cart was busy breeding salmonella bacteria.

The line brought to mind a column I once wrote about the Concord Walmart store one Christmas season when I’d had to wait in line for over 30 minutes, not only because the store was so crowded, but also because the cashier handling my line was very elderly and scanned the items in slow motion. By the time she lifted the item, examined it, slowly turned it to the UPC code and scanned it, the cashier at the next register already had scanned and bagged an entire order.

So when I later wrote about it in one of my newspaper columns, I said something like, “By the time I finally reached the register, two of the people in line behind me fell in love, got married and had a baby.”

The manager of Walmart happened to read the article and actually emailed me, “I am NOT pleased and do NOT think this is funny! You exaggerated!”

Really? Ya think?

Anyway, as I waited in a seemingly endless line again this week, I noticed that the man directly behind me was holding only a half-gallon of ice cream…in his bare hands. I immediately felt sorry for the poor guy. I mean, not only was he a candidate for frostbitten fingers, I figured that by the time he reached the checkout, he’d be holding a half-gallon of sour cream.

“Would you like to go ahead of me?” I offered, thinking one more minute of extra waiting wouldn’t kill me.

He shook his head and said he was fine.

Meanwhile, the woman in front of me turned to say, “This is why I do my shopping only once a month now! I don’t want to go through this every week. My poor old feet can’t handle it. God, I really miss the good old days…it’s sad to think they’re never coming back.”

Well, I’m not so sure they were the “good old days” back when I was a kid and went grocery shopping with my mom. There was only one car in the family and my dad needed it for work, so Mom and I, toting a couple of those folding two-wheeled carts, would walk down to the First National store, then load the carts with groceries and pull them back home...uphill. And there weren’t any scanners back then, so the cashier had to manually enter the price of each item into an old cash-register. Talk about errors! If the clerk didn’t have nimble fingers and missed hitting a decimal point, you could get charged $100 for a dollar item.

Anyway, back to the present and Walmart…

The line moved another inch-and-a-half, and I was able to browse through a rack of very sheer dresses…and wondered what the heck someone would wear underneath them. I also wondered if the guy behind me was dripping ice cream on them. Their patterns were so bright and busy, however, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if he added a little fudge ripple to the designs.

Finally, after what seemed like hours and I was on the verge of keeling over from dehydration, I reached the register. I was about to unload my cart onto the counter when I turned to the man behind me and asked him if he was sure he didn’t want to go ahead of me. He eyed my heaping cart and looked hesitant. 

The guy behind him, whom I hadn’t seen previously, also had only one item and said, “If he won’t go ahead of you, I will!”

He then stepped out of line and moved to stand in front of me. The man with the ice cream decided to follow him.

So I ended up with two guys ahead of me instead of only one. But heck, at least I did my good deed for the day.

The only trouble is, I’d had to wait so long in line by the time my items finally were scanned, the dozen eggs in my cart actually began to hatch.

(Just want to see if I’ll get another “you exaggerated!” email from the store manager!)

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: