Tuesday, November 30, 2021



It seems as if every year, I start receiving Christmas cards earlier and earlier. It’s as if people can’t seem to wait to get the task over and done with. I mean, last year, I received a Halloween card and a Christmas card on the same day.

Anyway, many of the Christmas cards I receive contain what’s become an annual ritual for some people…the Christmas newsletter.  It’s not that I personally have anything against these newsletters – in fact, I truly have enjoyed some of them – but let’s face it, a lot of people use them as nothing more than a means in which to brag endlessly about their family’s accomplishments.  The last one I received was so full of hot air, it’s a wonder it didn’t come floating out when I opened my mailbox.

What I’d love to receive is a Christmas newsletter that contains nothing but the truth, no matter how bad it makes a family look. With that in mind, I sat down the other night and reread some newsletters I’ve received over the years, and then tried to figure out, reading between the lines, what these people REALLY were saying.  The following is an example of what I feel the authors of one of these “let’s-brag-and-lay-it-on-really-thick” newsletters actually should have written.  My comments are in parenthesis! 

(NOTE: I have changed the names to protect the innocent....and well...because I can't afford a lawyer).




Dear Friends,    (We’re using the word “friends” because we’re too lazy to write your names individually) 

Well, here it is, another Christmas already, and time to look back at all of the events of the past year (and brag endlessly to make all of you feel inferior and depressed). 

Herbert and I are really into physical fitness now and climbed Mount Washington three times last summer (in our car on the auto road). We really enjoyed ourselves, despite encountering torrential rains (drizzle) and dangerous rock slides (a really sharp pebble in my shoe).   In fact, we enjoyed the experience so much, our goal is to gaze out over the land from the top of a different mountain every summer (preferably from our seats on an airplane as we fly over them).  

Herbie, Jr. graduated from high school with honors in June (after being a member of the Class of 1996, 1997 and 1998) and has since been weighing his various college options (on the produce scale at the supermarket where he currently works).  We have advised him to take his time deciding upon his future education (because we secretly spent all of his college fund when we took a luxury cruise a couple years ago). 

After working for 24 years at the Schmidlap Corporation, Herbert finally decided that the time had come to break free and search for a more challenging career (he got fired). 

Until Herbert decides on his new career (gets his lazy butt off the sofa and actually looks for another job) we plan to spend some time in our luxury motor home (a pick-up truck with a cooler and a mattress in the back) and tour as many states as possible (wherever we can freeload for a few days at friends’ and relatives’ houses). It will be just like a second honeymoon for us (Herbert will drink too much, pass out, and I’ll threaten to go back home to Mother).                       

Our sweet granddaughter, Penelope, is the smartest student in her fifth-grade class  (and next week, she’ll be getting her driver’s license).  The poor darling had a little mishap at school, however.  She slipped on some crayons, fell flat on her face, and broke her finger (because it was up her nose at the time). 

I’ve been following a new diet for the past two months, and am finding that it really works.  The secret is to drink 10 full glasses of water per day.  I’ve lost 12 pounds already (because my bladder fell out) and plan to lose 15 more (because I’ll be spending too much time in the bathroom to eat). 

Our elder son, Bronson, has an excellent career in medicine (making drugs in his lab out back in the shed) and recently was featured on a local TV show (America’s Most Wanted). 

Our dog, Rasputin, won recognition in his obedience class (for having the most fleas) and is so smart, he responds to 20 different commands (each one beginning with the words “play dead” because the dog is over 100 years old in dog years).  Rasputin is such a sweetheart, he would never even think of biting anyone (because he has no teeth). 

For our 35th wedding anniversary last month, Herbert surprised me with a beautiful two-carat anniversary ring.  I was so overwhelmed, I cried for days  (because I could tell it was a cheap cubic zirconia).  I can’t wait to see what he’ll surprise me with this Christmas (probably some more fake jewelry, because the couch potato still hasn’t looked for a job).  He can be such an impetuous fool (make that just a fool) at times! (I still regret not marrying Tony Rigatoni, the local pizza-parlor owner, when I had the chance). 

Well, I guess that’s all the news for now (I’m too cheap to pay for the extra postage if this letter gets too thick), so I’ll sign off with all the best wishes for the New Year.  Perhaps we can get together sometime in the near future (but not too near, because we never really liked you all that much). 

Take good care, and keep in touch. 

Love and kisses,

Herbert, Marge and the kids

#  #  #




Tuesday, November 23, 2021


First of all, I want to wish all of my readers a happy, healthy and gut-busting Thanksgiving…one that will force you to loosen your belts or wear sweatpants for a few days afterwards! 

I will be staying home with the dogs on Turkey Day this year, by choice. For one thing, I can’t get any of the Covid vaccines due to an allergy to one of the ingredients in them, so I’m not yet eager to mingle. But my biggest reason for staying home, and I have received plenty of negative comments about this…is I don’t like turkey. When I tell people I don’t, they give me the same sort of look they would give someone who’d just made a blatant anti-American statement.

But it hasn’t always been that way. Back when I was growing up, I loved turkey. The mere sight of that plump bird, roasted to golden perfection, sitting on the decorative platter in the center of a beautifully decorated Thanksgiving table, made my mouth water. And then the turkey sandwiches for days afterwards…well, those were even better. 

Even as I grew older and went out to lunch with friends, I’d order a turkey club-sandwich or a hot-turkey sandwich. And on my honeymoon, the first meal my husband and I ordered at our hotel was a turkey dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, gravy, and all of the trimmings. Actually, that was because my new husband was a turkey fanatic. He loved turkey with such a passion, he wouldn’t have minded eating it seven days a week. His passion was so strong, I actually toyed with the idea of tossing aside my sexy negligees and wearing a turkey costume on our honeymoon.

Anyway, fast forward about nine years later to my husband’s sister’s wedding. The reception and dinner were going to be held at a fancy restaurant, with a complete turkey dinner as the featured meal. When my husband learned that news, you’d think he’d just won the lottery.

So on the day of the wedding, there we sat with my parents at the beautifully decorated table – fresh flowers, fine china, cloth napkins, crystal goblets and intricately etched silverware – as we eagerly awaited our turkey dinners. When the meal was served, our plates looked like works of art – slices of thick, white meat, a scoop of dressing, a mound of mashed potatoes, several different vegetables, and bowls of gravy on the side. It was a feast for the eyes.

My husband and I dug into our meals. The turkey was moist and tasty, fork tender.

“This is sooo good!” my husband said. “Definitely worth the wait.”

I had to agree, even though I thought the food could have been a bit warmer. I poured more of the hot gravy over my mashed potatoes and turkey to heat them up.

My mother, however, took a bite of the turkey and then, I noticed, she discretely spit it into her napkin. After that, she laid down her fork and sat there, eating only a roll with butter. I asked her what was the matter.

“There’s something wrong with the turkey,” she whispered to me, not wanting the other guests to overhear.

“Mine’s delicious,” I said. “Let me taste yours.” 

I did, and so did my husband, and we both agreed it was excellent and my mother was, well…crazy.

“If you’re not going to eat your turkey, then can I have it?” my husband asked her.

“I wouldn’t advise it,” she said.

Ignoring her, he asked me to pass her plate to him. I did, and he scraped off the turkey and mashed potatoes onto his plate.

The meal turned out to be a big hit with everyone…that is, except my mother.

It was about 3 AM the next morning when my husband and I both abruptly awoke, ironically only minutes apart, with severe stomach cramps. We raced each other to the bathroom.

Let’s just say what followed wasn’t pretty…or fun.

The next day, my husband called his mother to see how she’d enjoyed the wedding. She said the wedding had been fine, but she’d been up sick all night. She said his brother also had been ill.

The plot began to thicken.

A few more phone calls later, we found out that just about everyone who’d attended the wedding was sick – a few so severely, they ended up in the hospital. I was writing a newspaper column at the time, so I mentioned the incident in my column that week, leaving out the name and location of the restaurant.

The next day, the state Board of Health contacted me, asking for details…lots of details.

They ended up investigating the restaurant, and interviewing everyone on the wedding’s guest list. The questions they asked each guest were pretty embarrassing, especially for my poor husband, who said he ended up feeling like a glutton. His interview went something like this:

“Did you eat the turkey?” they asked him.


“The full portion or part of it?”

“Um, two full portions.”



“How much?”

“Half the bowl.”

“Wedding cake?”


“A full slice or only a few bites?”

“Three slices.”

“Did you have diarrhea?”


“How many times?”

“I lost count.”

“Would you estimate more than five?”

“Oh, hell, yeah.”

I had to answer the same questions…and so did my mother, whose interview was very brief. When they asked her what she had eaten at the wedding, she said only a roll and butter. Did she get sick? No. So at least they could rule out the roll and butter as the culprits.

After a thorough investigation, the board’s inspectors reported that the turkeys for the dinner had been thawed overnight out on the counters in the kitchen. Then the chef had slow-roasted them at only 135 degrees. So he’d essentially turned them into fertility clinics for salmonella bacteria.

And my poor sister-in-law and her husband, both sick on their Niagara Falls honeymoon, thought it was due to the excitement and jitters from the wedding. Fortunately, seeing that no one had cell phones or Facebook back then, they had no clue what was going on back home while they were away. I don’t think hearing, “Oh, Aunt Zelda is in critical care right now from eating your poisonous wedding meal,” would have enhanced their honeymoon very much.

My husband’s love of turkey, however, wasn’t affected by the incident, and he continued to be a rabid fan of the bird. In fact, when we moved into our new home out in the country and he spotted wild turkeys running across our property, the look in his eyes told me he was picturing them smothered in gravy.

I, on the other hand, can’t even look at a Thanksgiving card without turning green. My turkey-eating days ended at that wedding.

But my husband and I did learn one important lesson on that fateful day. Whenever we went out to eat with my parents after that, we always had my mother sample our food before we ate it.

Our septic tank thanked us for it.


#   #   # 

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: sillysally@att.net







Tuesday, November 16, 2021


I’ll be the first to admit that doctors make me nervous – like sweaty palms nervous. And when a doctor is “all business” and very serious, well, even my eyeballs begin to sweat.

So my six-month post-op cancer checkup with a dermatologist last week was something that caused me to lose sleep the night before. When I got up that morning, my first thought was, “Okay, let’s get this over with!”

An assistant, a blond young woman wearing a mask (I also was required to wear one), led me into an examining room. She asked me a few basic health questions, then told me to remove everything but my panties and put on a shin-length hospital gown with the slit open up the back.

Without realizing it, I muttered out loud, “If I take off my bra, the doctor won’t be able to see anything on my stomach, thanks to gravity.”

I heard her laugh and say, “You’re SO funny!” Even though I wasn’t joking.

She left the room and I noticed that one whole wall was a picture window facing an office building. I wasn’t about to remove my clothes while standing in front of a picture window, even though I toyed with idea of doing a striptease and slowly removing one item at a time and tossing it aside. But then I figured the people in the office building facing that window all instantly would be stricken blind. So I pulled down the blinds.

After I got undressed and put on the gown, I sat on the paper-covered examining table for 20 minutes…waiting. My feet were so cold, they actually were changing color. I was in the process of rubbing them to get the blood circulating when the doctor finally entered. At least I think it was the doctor – he was dressed like someone about to enter an asbestos manufacturing plant.

His voice, which sounded strictly robotic, began to methodically list body parts. “Let me see your left arm. Now raise it. Thank you. Let me see your right arm. Now raise it. Thank you.”

Then he checked the soles of my feet – and between my toes. The way he stared at my feet told me he probably was thinking I must have been the victim of some terribly deforming accident at some point in my life, so I offered the information:

“Ballet dancing,” I said. “Ten years of prancing around on my toes, which no human foot ever was created to do, ruined my feet.” 

“Did you dance professionally?” he asked.

“Let’s just say that when I performed in “Swan Lake” years ago, I was one of the mosquitoes.”

No response.

“So,” he said, “Do you routinely check your body, including your labia and anal area for lumps or spots?” 

I shook my head. “No, I’m old…and not a contortionist.” 

“Then, does your family physician check those areas?”

“Oh, yeah, all the time.” 

At that point, I honestly thought I felt my nose growing beneath my mask.

 As the checkup continued, he listed body parts and spots as he went along, and the assistant typed them. I heard “seborrheic keratosis” about a dozen times, which I knew were what dermatologists often referred to as “old-age barnacles,” and then a couple “cherry angiomas” thrown in for good measure. But the doctor said my cancer surgery looked fine and he didn’t see anything else that looked suspicious, which was good news.

He then asked if I had anything that was bothering me. I told him I didn’t like the brown scaly patch on my jawline.  

“Let my freeze that off for you, then” he said, grabbing a can of liquid nitrogen from the counter and spraying me with it. By the time he was done, he’d also sprayed a patch on my neck, one on my shin and one…well, let’s just say it was in a place that would make sitting down pretty uncomfortable for a while. 

He then said, “Those areas l treated should be completely healed and gone by Christmas. If not, give me a call because sometimes skin cancer can mimic something that looks benign.”

Gee, thanks, doc. Now I’ll have that thought stuck in the back of my mind instead of cheery holiday-season ones.

But he did say if all went well, I wouldn’t have to return for another year. So that also was good news.

Anyway, after my exam, as I was checking out and giving my paperwork to the woman at the front desk, she casually asked me how I was doing.

“Fine,” I said, “except that spot he froze on my butt really is burning right now. I hope I can sit still long enough to drive home.”

“Well,” she said, sounding completely serious, “I can always give you a note, if you’d like, just in case you get pulled over by the police for driving erratically. It might be easier than having to drop your pants to show them why.”

I burst out laughing, and so did she.

I felt like telling her that maybe she should give a few personality lessons to the doctor.

Now I just have to figure out how to keep track of that one awkwardly located spot to make sure it’s all healed and gone by Christmas.

Somehow, I don’t think knocking on one of my neighbors’ doors and asking, “Hey, can you do me a big favor and check out something for me?” would be such a good idea.

#   #   #

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: sillysally@att.net

Monday, November 8, 2021



Having worked in retail for five years, I know how stressful dealing with the public can be. Sometimes I’m sure I was perceived as rude when I hadn’t meant to be, or totally clueless when I was asked a question about a product I wasn’t familiar with. 

But recently, with the shortage of help in the majority of stores and restaurants, and customers complaining about poor service or having to wait in long lines, more than once I’ve heard a manager say, “We’ll hire anybody who walks in here, we’re so desperate for help right now.”

It made me think back to some of the less-than-stellar employees I’ve witnessed or dealt with over the years and how they rated their own special paragraphs in my daily journals.

Several of the employees at Walmart have made particularly great fodder for my journal entries.

For example, back when the store had an aquarium section and sold live fish, I remember a little boy and his father asking an employee for two goldfish. The employee, a young male, grabbed a net, dipped it into the aquarium and pulled out two of the fish, both of which had been floating belly-up before he removed them. I thought he was going to toss them out, but instead he put them into a container for the customer.

The father, looking surprised, said, “Um, those two fish are…dead.”

“Oh? Really?” the clerk said, peering down into the container. “I thought they were just sleeping and would be easier to catch.”

Then just a couple weeks ago, a clerk at Walmart made me laugh. I had gone shopping there the day before and when I got home, realized my bag of chicken was missing. I wasn’t about to rush back to the store, mainly because it nearly was dark by then and it was a 30-mile round trip, so I waited until the next day to return.

I went up to the service desk and asked the clerk if anyone had returned the chicken I’d left there the day before.

She rolled her eyes and said, “God, I hope not!”

I burst out laughing. I guess having chicken sitting out back in the lost-and-found area all night wouldn’t have been too great – and I definitely wouldn’t have wanted it back. Anyway, she told me to just go get some fresh chicken to replace it.

And I remember a Walmart employee last year who definitely was fed up with the pandemic rules.

There was a woman loading her cart with rolls of toilet paper, even though the sign clearly said to limit one per customer. An employee suddenly swooped in, seemingly out of nowhere, grabbed up all but one roll of toilet paper from the woman’s cart, and then shouted at her, “Can’t you read? It says only one per customer! I am SO sick of this shit!”

I suppose using the word “shit” was appropriate when referring to toilet paper, but I later saw that same employee do and say a similar thing to a woman who was trying to buy more than one gallon of bottled water. 

On the plus side, you can bet I wasn’t about to attempt to take more than one of anything, not as long as that employee was still lurking about. So I guess her tactics worked.

And then there are Walmart’s greeters.  One elderly greeter was very gung-ho about stopping customers as they were leaving the store and making them show their receipts for items that weren’t bagged. Armed with her hand-held scanner, she stopped me and said, “Whoa! Let’s see your receipt for that six-pack of paper towels that’s not bagged.”

While I was digging into my purse, where I’d just shoved the receipt so I wouldn’t lose it, I noticed a guy pushing a cart with a flat-screen TV in it walk right past us and out the door!

The current greeter at Walmart, however, makes everyone laugh by saying, “Thank you for that nice smile!” primarily to people who are wearing masks.

I remember being at the checkout counter in another store years ago and this young employee with “trainee” on his name badge picked up the store's red plastic divider that was separating my items from the customer's  the customers’ behind me and tried to scan it. Amused, I watched him and wondered what the heck he thought it was…a “go fetch” stick for my dog?  Finally, he held it up and asked me if I knew how much it was. I thought he had to be joking, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. But the poor kid was serious. To this day, I still wonder if he’d ever even been in a store before he was hired, or if he might have just been beamed down from another planet 

But, and I hate to say this, some of my worst employee experiences have involved food servers.

I’ll never forget when my friends treated me to dinner at a popular restaurant one afternoon and there were only about four other patrons in the place. Still, we had to wait for what seemed like hours for our food. When it finally was served, my steak tasted like old grease and my baked potato was completely raw, as if it had been taken straight out of the potato sack and slapped onto my plate. The server never came back to ask how our food was, and there were no other employees anywhere to be seen.

When she finally did return, to ask if we wanted dessert, I explained to her that my meal wasn’t even edible. She shrugged and said, “Don’t blame me – I didn’t cook it!”

She made no offer to remove it from our bill or to get us something else, so we asked to speak with a manager. She said the manager hadn’t come in that day.

That explained a lot. 

I still cringe whenever I recall how my friends paid the full bill and even left her a tip! Had I been paying, I think I would have camped out there until the manager finally did show up.

Another time, my mother and I ordered fried haddock at a restaurant in Manchester. When it was served, we could smell a strong ammonia-like odor coming from it. My dad, an avid deep-sea fisherman, always told us that whenever a fish smelled like ammonia, it meant it wasn’t fresh. So my mom and I notified the server.

She, looking extremely irritated, used her bare hand to pick up my mom’s piece of fish. She then took a big bite out of it, tossed it back onto my mom’s plate, and snapped, “Tastes just fine to me!” and walked off.

But the server I’ll never forget is the one we had at Lamey’s Tavern in Hampton many years ago. My parents, my husband and I had decided we’d go there for Thanksgiving dinner so we could just relax and eat without any cooking or cleaning to do.

The server, a middle-aged woman, greeted us with an angry rant about how she hadn’t been scheduled to work on the holiday and how upset she was about not being able to spend the day with her family, and how she wanted to strangle the employee who’d called in sick at the last minute. She then asked what we’d like to order.

My husband, a man who never would eat any vegetable created (other than mashed potatoes or fries) even if he were on the verge of starving to death, and who also ate only the breast portion of poultry, explained to her that he’d like the turkey dinner, but with all white meat and a double serving of mashed potatoes because he didn’t want any squash or green beans. He then added, “Oh, and no dressing. I don’t like the strong seasoning smell of it – it ruins the whole meal.”     

The server narrowed her eyes at him, put both hands on the table and leaned forward, close to his face, then said through gritted teeth, “You WILL take the standard turkey dinner and you WILL eat all of your vegetables! WON'T you?”

My husband, his eyes growing wide, leaned back away from her and squeaked, “Yes, ma’am.” 

To this day, I’m still sorry I didn’t hire her to come home with us. Cooking for my husband sure would have been a whole lot easier with her around.

When I consider the fact that the above-mentioned employees were hired during a time when no one was desperate for workers, I can’t help but wonder what the holiday help in stores will be like this season.

I think my journal is going to get full very quickly.

#   #   #


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: sillysally@att.net

Monday, November 1, 2021



Every time I mention to someone that I’m tired of having to devote so much time to the upkeep of my house, I hear, “Well, maybe it’s time you sold your house and moved into a condo.”

It does sound tempting not to have to worry about any type of yard work again, but the truth is, I enjoy my privacy…and my peace and quiet.

I grew up in a tenement building on Manchester’s West Side. We lived on the bottom floor, and it seemed as if every few months, the tenants above us would move out and new ones would move in.

There was the couple from Canada who enjoyed dancing something called the French quadrille.  Every Saturday night, other couples would visit them and the dancing would begin. I had no idea what a quadrille was, but it involved a lot of stomping.

My parents and I would sit in our living room and try to watch TV while the old chandelier on the ceiling overhead would swing back and forth. I missed half of my favorite Saturday night TV shows because I was too busy looking up, waiting for the chandelier to come crashing down on my head. My father, on the other hand, said he was waiting for the foot of one of the quadrille dancers to come through the ceiling.

Then there was the couple who had a dog, which they left alone in their apartment while they worked all day. The dog howled the entire time they were gone, first softly, like whimpering, and then louder and in higher octaves as the day progressed. By late afternoon, it sounded similar to an air-raid siren.

Whenever someone would call us, all they’d hear on the other end of the phone was, “Arroooooooh!  Arroooooooh!” We actually had to shout above the howling to be heard, and then we usually had to guess at what the response was because the dog would drown it out.

The most amusing, however, were the newlyweds who moved in. When they argued, which was frequently, they would loudly shout at each other, and we could hear every word as clearly as if we were sitting in their apartment. Most of their arguments were so ridiculous, we had to struggle not to laugh out loud.

One night, for example, they were arguing about the husband’s handkerchiefs.

“They are disgusting!  I refuse to wash them!” the wife shouted at him. “Use tissues from now on!”

“Tissues are for sissies!” he shouted back. “Manly hands like mine poke right through them!”

“Then use a whole handful of them at once! I’m sick of finding your boogers in the bottom to the washing machine!”

Another time, they argued about her cooking.

“You haven’t touched any of your tuna casserole,” she snapped at him. “I thought you loved my tuna casserole!”

“That was when we were single and I was trying to be polite,” he said. “Now that we’re married, I can tell you the truth. Even the cat would bury this stuff!”

“You’re heartless!” she cried, bursting into tears. “I’m never going to cook for you again!”

“My stomach will send you a thank-you card!” he shouted back.

That was another drawback of living directly below them. We often could smell what the wife was cooking for dinner.  And believe me, it smelled like everything from skunk to burnt rubber. When Christmas rolled around, my father joked that he was going to buy the husband a year’s supply of antacid.

I think the couple finally ended up getting a divorce. We saw the wife leave one night, suitcase in hand, and she never returned.

And finally, a grouchy elderly woman moved in. She was quiet, but complained about everything. If I played out in the yard with my friends and we laughed too much, she complained. If my parents watched TV late at night, she complained.

She even complained when my mother sang while hanging clothes out on the clothesline because she said my mom couldn’t carry a tune (actually, she was right about that, but my mother was highly insulted).

But now that I’m about the same age as that grouchy elderly woman was, I think I can empathize. I mean, if I moved into a condo or an apartment and had to live with noisy people above me or next door, I’m pretty sure I’d be known as a crabby old complainer, too. For one thing, the older I get, the less patience I have.  I’m even beginning to understand why John Wesley Hardin once shot a man for snoring.

So for the sake of all condo and apartment dwellers, I think I’m going to try to stay in my house for as long as possible.

I’m pretty sure they’ll thank me for it.

#   #   #

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: sillysally@att.net