Tuesday, April 26, 2022



Even though credit cards are a common thing nowadays, years ago, they were considered a status symbol. Just about everyone used cash back then, so credit cards really weren’t part of the norm.

Back in the late 1960s, before I ever met my husband, he applied for and received his first credit card. It was called Master Charge (now MasterCard) and his credit limit was $2,000.

In those days, $2,000 was considered a small fortune. You figure, around that time my parents bought a Colonial-style house near Livingston Park in Manchester for $12,500, which my father thought was outrageously expensive.

My husband was so proud of his credit card, he treated it as if it were made of spun gold. He wrapped it in tissue paper before putting it into his wallet, so it wouldn’t get scratched. And I suspect he even slept with it tucked in his underwear.

When we were dating, he often used the card to try to impress me. If we went out to dinner with friends, he would take out the card and say, “My treat, I have my Master Charge right here,” and then he would flash the card as if it were a signaling mirror for a rescue plane. 


After we got married, he decided to “honor” me by adding my name to his account so I could receive a credit card, too – which, in retrospect, probably wasn’t such a hot idea on his part. I mean, by adding me, the credit limit was raised to $10,000, which was dangerous in my hands. And with the annual percentage rate at 24%, well, that made it even more risky.

But when my husband first handed me my very own card, I suddenly knew how Charlie, the kid in the Willy Wonka movie, felt when he found the precious golden ticket in his candy bar.

Over the years, the credit card served us well. We used it for emergencies, vacations, and for buying things online. And every three years, when the card expired and we were sent two fresh new ones, I was forced to listen to the same thing from my husband.

“Do you know how many years I’ve had this MasterCard?” he’d ask, sniffing the new card and inhaling deeply, then making an “aaaahhhh” sound, as if he were smelling freshly baked bread. “I applied for it the day after I turned 21!”

I wasn’t quite so sentimental about the card. I’d just grab it, hop into the car and leave skid marks in the driveway as I sped off to the mall.

But after my husband died, when it came time for the MasterCard to expire once again, I called the bank and explained there no longer was any need to send two cards because my husband had passed away.

“So you just have to send me my card from now on,” I said.

“Oh, I’m very sorry for your loss,” the representative said. “We’ll take care of that for you right away.”

I thought nothing more about that call until two weeks later, when I was shopping online and whipped out the MasterCard to pay for my items. 

The card was rejected. 

I tried again.  Still rejected.

I grabbed the phone and called the bank’s credit-card hotline.

“Oh, as it turned out, that account wasn’t a joint account,” the woman explained. “Your husband was the sole account holder. You were just an add-on.”

“An add-on?” I repeated, slightly insulted that I hadn’t been important enough to be the co-owner of the card. I felt as if I’d been reduced to the plus-one on a wedding invitation.

The woman explained, “Because the account holder is gone, we had to close the account. And we’ll be expecting his estate to pay the outstanding balance on the card.”

“Estate?” In spite of the fact I was panicking as I tried to mentally calculate how much money I now owed the bank, I had to laugh. “What estate?”

“Well…if he left everything to you…then that also includes his bills, unfortunately. You are now responsible.”


Finally, I gathered the courage to ask, “Is there any way you can just undo the cancellation and get the card back?”

“I’m sorry, no. If you want your own card now, you will have to start all over again and fill out an application.”

“Then you’re saying my husband’s prized card he’d had since he was 21 is gone forever, never to be used or heard from again?”

“I’m afraid so,” she said.

I hung up the phone feeling as if I had just committed card-icide.  I had killed my husband’s cherished possession and sent it to the great beyond.

Even worse, not only was I without a precious MasterCard, I also was stuck with paying off the balance. Had I been a contortionist, I would have kicked my own backside. 

Every time I saw a MasterCard commercial on TV after that, I cringed and then glanced apprehensively at my husband’s urn on the hutch, expecting him to leap out of the ashes at any moment and insist that we hold a memorial service for his treasured card and then bury it out in the yard, complete with a headstone with the MasterCard logo engraved on it.

But mark my words, I will apply for a new card and put it to good use in memory of the old one.

The only problem is, the way I figure it, my personal credit limit probably will be around $15.

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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: sillysally@att.net





Sunday, April 17, 2022



I honestly pity Carl, the poor guy who has the frustrating job of mowing my lawn. The front lawn is no problem – it’s all grass. The back, however, a big fenced-in area where my dogs freely romp, looks like the site where the movie “Avengers: Infinity War” was filmed.

For one thing, it’s a combination of sand and clay, so the only thing that grows in the yard is a bumper-crop of dust. Lawrence of Arabia would feel right at home out there.

In the spring, however, the dust transforms into mud, the consistency of which could give quicksand a run for its money.

There also are scattered clumps of something that resembles grass, but it’s more like rubberized green wire. I spent 10 minutes trying to clip a long clump of it one day and finally just yanked it out by the roots.

But the holes are the most upsetting and unsightly aspect of the yard. My two dogs have, for the last five years, been in competition to see which one can dig the deepest hole. So far, the rottweiler is winning because she actually dug down to the pipe that connects to the septic tank. If the old expression “digging holes to China” is true, then I expect the dogs will unearth egg rolls and chow mein any day now.  


The weird part about the holes they dig is there never is enough dirt left around them that I can use to fill up the holes again. I have no clue what they do with it…eat it? Last year I paid for a truckload of dirt so I could fill in the holes. Within a month, the holes were back and most of the dirt mysteriously had vanished once again.

Not long ago, I searched online for suggestions about how to stop dogs from digging. The most common solution seemed to be to provide a private sandbox for them, then bury treats in it to keep them digging only in that one area and not all over the yard.

I thought it sounded like a pretty dumb idea. I mean, I was trying to break the dogs of their digging habit, not teach them that if they dig they’ll find treats.

But then, I happened to spot an advertisement on the dog-digging page that made my eyes widen. It said: “Are your pets ruining your lawn? Do they dig it up? Urinate on it and turn it brown? Are insects thriving in the grass and hitching rides into your house on your pets? Are you tired of mowing, watering and fertilizing? Then our synthetic pet-grass is for you!”

Synthetic pet-grass? I’d never heard of it. But I was intrigued. I continued to read all about it. The pet grass, according to the information, was supposed to be very realistic-looking fake grass that was odor-proof, stain-proof, bug-proof, chew-proof and dig- proof. It also featured built-in drainage, could be hosed down to clean it, wouldn’t fade and never would need watering, mowing or fertilizing. The photos showed houses that had synthetic pet-grass lawns, and they were…well, spectacular looking. They even had lawnmower marks in the grass to add realism. 

I was sold. I mean, it sounded like the answer to my prayers. And even though no prices were listed, I figured it would pay for itself after a while because I wouldn’t have to pay anyone to mow it. I immediately contacted the company.

“I completely understand your problems,” the sales representative said to me. “And believe me, our synthetic grass can solve all of them. We just finished a place up in Maine where their dogs had severely damaged the yard. So we installed the synthetic turf on all 12,000 square feet of it. The homeowners are thrilled now because their property always looks beautiful and requires absolutely no maintenance.”

He asked for my yard’s measurements, took down all of the information and said he’d get back to me with an estimate. As I waited, I looked out the window and saw the dogs happily digging up the yard and flinging dirt at each other. My first impulse was to run out there and yell at them, but then I thought, “What the heck? Let them have their fun! Soon, there will be a beautiful, bug-free, dirt-free lawn out there they won’t be able to dig! That’ll fix ‘em!”

The next morning I received an e-mail from the pet-grass company. The estimate for the job was $24,000. I swear my heart actually stopped beating. My first thought was those people up in Maine who were so happy with their 12,000 feet of fake grass must have been related to the Rockefellers.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement. My perfect idea, my perfect solution, cost more than the national debt of Liechtenstein.

I sent an e-mail response to the sales representative and told him I’d get back to him when I either won the lottery or had my novel published and sold the movie rights to it. 

Meanwhile, on the bright side, I guess if the dogs do continue to dig, they might prevent a burglar from sneaking up on the house in the dark because the guy surely would break a leg…or two. 

I just hope Carl, my lawn guy, doesn’t end up becoming a statistic. I think I’m going to continue to need him for a long time to come.


#   #   #


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, April 12, 2022



For over 50 years now, I’ve walked at least two miles every day. During the height of the pandemic, however, I increased it to three miles…mainly because I was trying to alleviate my nearly terminal case of boredom.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed a pain in my right thigh-muscle during my daily strolls. When I’m wearing my slippers in the house, there’s no pain, but during my outdoor treks it’s definitely there. I finally realized that my running shoes, my Gel Venture-4s by Asics, are so worn out, they're causing me to walk on the inside of my right foot. This, I also noticed, makes my hip stick out and probably is the cause of my thigh pain.

So I decided I probably should invest in a new pair of shoes before I end up permanently damaging some essential body part. I headed to a sporting-goods store.

When I arrived, the store was empty – and by that, I mean I saw no employees or customers. I had the whole place to myself. I walked over to the shoe department and after wending my way through a maze of Nike, Adidas and Reebok shoes, finally found the Asics aisle.

That’s when I discovered that my Asics Gel Venture-4s had progressed all the way up to Gel Venture-8s.

Apparently it had been much longer than I’d thought since I’d bought running shoes.

I was concerned because I previously had purchased the Venture-4s only after trying on every other brand and style in about six different stores and finding something I didn’t like about every shoe: “Too tight, too big, not enough arch support, too stiff” and “guaranteed to produce a blister the size of a silver dollar,” I’d muttered back then.

I’d started to feel like Goldilocks, minus the Three Bears. So when I finally did find the “this one’s just right!” shoe, the Gel Venture-4, I’d whipped out my debit card and spent the $60 while breathing a silent “hallelujah!”

Therefore, last week I’d hoped I’d just be able to grab another pair of the Venture-4s and be in and out of the store in a flash because I already was so intimately acquainted with that particular shoe. But due to the fact I'd skipped over the Gel-5,6 and 7, I knew I was going to have to try on shoes once again.

And believe me, I wasn't looking forward to it.

As it turned out, I couldn’t tell if the Venture-8s were a vast improvement over their predecessors, or if they had lost something as they’d escalated…because there weren’t any in my size to try on. So I went hunting for an employee.

I spent about 10 minutes aimlessly meandering throughout the aisles before I finally spotted an actual human coming out of the back room.

She looked at me as if to say, “What the heck are you doing here?”

I approached her, held up the Asics Gel Venture-8 and asked if she might have it in size 8.5.

She frowned at me. “That’s a men’s shoe you’re holding. The women’s shoes are on the wall over on the other side of the department.”

“I know,” I said. “The men’s sizes fit me better in this brand.”

“I’ll go look,” she said, still frowning, and disappeared out back. She returned with three shoe boxes. Each one contained some form of an Asics “Gel” style…the Gel Venture-8, the Gel Contend-7, and the Gel Nimbus-24. She handed the boxes to me and once again vanished.

The woman was like Houdini.

I sat down on a bench and after removing a yard of crumpled-up paper from inside the toes of the shoes and undoing the decorative knots in the laces, tried them on. Once again, I was transformed into Goldilocks. One pair was too tight in the heel and the other slid up and down when I walked.

Discouraged, I tried on the last pair, the Gel Nimbus-24. When I laced them up, they felt so comfortable, I began to understand why they had been named after a cloud. I was excited.

But then I stood up and walked in them…and my heart sank. For some reason, they didn’t feel level. My right foot felt higher than my left, so I was forced to walk in an up-and-down motion that made me feel as if I were waddling, kind of like a giant duck. 

I removed the shoes, set them down on the wooden bench and knelt so I could inspect them more closely. Sure enough, the right one was at least a quarter-inch taller than the left. 

About five minutes later, Miss Houdini reappeared and asked how I was doing. Her tone, however, told me she couldn’t have cared less what I said. I was tempted to test her reaction and tell her the toenail on my big toe had been torn off inside one of the shoes and I needed help finding it.

Instead, I explained that I really liked the Gel Nimbus pair, but one shoe was higher than the other so they made me walk unevenly.

“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” she huffed.

I pointed at them on the bench and told her to look at them for herself. She did and then shrugged. 

“I don’t have another pair of those in your size,” she said. “I guess I could order them for you, but it might take a while.”

I figured that now that I knew the style name and number I liked, I could go home and just order them myself online, and probably for a lot less money from another supplier. However, I had no clue what any of the shoes cost because none of the boxes she’d given me had prices on them.

So when I got home, I immediately searched online for Gel Nimbus-24.

They averaged about $150 a pair…on a good day.

I wouldn’t pay that much for a pair of shoes even if they were sparkly red and had been worn by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

So I’m still clomping around in my ancient Gel Venture-4s. Even worse, my bunion actually poked right through the material on the right shoe and made a hole in it during my walk yesterday morning. 

Oh, well…at least my feet will be cool this summer.

#   #   # 

 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, April 4, 2022



I realize everyone is looking forward to the warm, sunny weather, but I’m not one of those people. The main reason is because I love to take hot baths. But in 95-degree weather, a hot bath can lead to…well, heatstroke…or maybe even death.

And I wouldn't want to drop dead while naked.

To me, a hot bath is synonymous with total relaxation. The minute I feel stressed, I’m in the bathroom running the water for my bath. And every time I have to shovel snow and my back cries out in protest afterwards, nothing beats a nice long soak.

The first ten years of my marriage, I was stuck with a bathtub that was so shallow, my navel never got wet. I actually had to lie flat on my back if I wanted to soak. So when my current house was built, I insisted on having a tub that practically was big enough to swim laps in.

The first time I was able to stretch out in the up-to-my-neck soaking tub, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. And to make my soaks even more heavenly, I bought a small, flat-screen TV and had it installed on the wall facing the tub. I was fully prepared to live in the bathroom.

My late husband, however, a devoted shower person, couldn’t have cared less about the tub. In fact, he always hated baths. He thought nothing was more boring than sitting in a tub of water. He also made no secret of how disgusting he thought baths were.

“You’re sitting in your own filth when you take a bath!” he’d say. “How can that be considered clean? The dirt has nowhere to go – you’re trapped in the tub with it. At least when you take a shower, the dirt goes down the drain and away from your body. Now, that’s clean!”

Filth? Dirt? He made me sound as if I were an old sow, out rolling in the mud every day. 

One night, however, when my husband was feeling achy all over, I managed to convince him to try taking a nice long soak. I even ran the bath water for him. But, as I previously mentioned, I’m the type who likes really hot baths – the kind that turn my skin pink. So when I drew the bath for him, I, out of habit, used mostly hot water.

I was sitting out in the living room when he stepped into the tub. All I heard was, “Aaaaagggghhh!  What are you trying to do, boil me alive? Now I know how those poor lobsters feel!”

Needless to say, that was his first and last bath in the new house.

I hate to say it, but having the bathtub of my dreams these past 12 years has had a few negative effects. For one, soaking isn’t a spontaneous thing – it involves a complicated process of getting prepared and gathering all of my bathing necessities: moisturizing soap, razor, washcloth, bath towel, something to drink (hot baths make me thirsty), the remote control for the TV, my telephone, bath pillow, a snack, my exfoliating sponge and a rubber band to tie up my hair.

By the time I have everything ready for my bath, I have to add more hot water.

And phone calls always are a little awkward when I’m soaking.

“Hi!” the caller, usually one of my friends, will say. “What’re you doing?”

“Oh, I’m just soaking in the bathtub right now,” I answer.

A period of heavy silence commonly follows. I’m not sure if it’s because the caller is surprised to hear I’m talking on the phone while in the tub, or if the vision that my naked body brings to mind is so shocking and disturbing, it renders the person speechless.

But now that spring is here and the warmer weather rapidly is approaching, I realize my days of taking long, hot baths are numbered. So I’m going to try to squeeze in as many of them as possible before the inevitable heat and humidity arrive.

In fact, you never know...I just might be writing this while I’m soaking.

#   #   # 

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