Wednesday, August 17, 2022




I was browsing the shows on YouTube the other day and I came across some episodes of this 11-year-old quiz show called “Repo Games.”

All I can say is I’ve finally found a quiz show that makes me feel like Einstein.

The premise of this show is the host, a hulk of a guy, arrives at some poor, unsuspecting person’s house to repossess his or her vehicle. He makes sure the vehicle is securely hooked up to the tow truck, then he knocks on the owner’s door and says, “If you can answer three out of five trivia questions correctly, I’ll not only let you keep your car, I’ll also pay it off, free and clear!”  

Having nothing to lose at that point, the victims usually agree to give the trivia game a shot…and make complete fools of themselves on national TV.

On one of the shows, for example, the repo guy asked a woman, “Who flew a kite in a thunderstorm to prove lightning was a form of electricity?”

“Bill Clinton!” she enthusiastically replied.

“What were the names of the three Kellogg’s Rice Krispies mascots?” he also asked her.

“Um…Fred?” she answered.

With each trivia question, depending on whether the contestant answers correctly or incorrectly, the tow truck slightly raises or lowers the vehicle. When the vehicle finally touches the ground, the owner is allowed to keep it. This woman’s car was raised so many times, it could have doubled as an airplane.

Another woman and her boyfriend, desperately trying to save her car, were on another episode.

“The popular band called ‘Boston’ hailed from that city,” the host said. “Tell me, in which state is Boston located?" 

The woman shrugged. “Boston is just Boston. It doesn’t have a state.”

When the host told her she was incorrect, she exploded, “You’re purposely giving me really hard questions!”

Her statement reminded me of something my dad always used to say: “You think a question is hard only when you don’t know the answer.  If you know it, then you think it’s easy. So don’t blame the question!”

If watching Repo Games makes me feel intelligent, all I have to do is switch to another quiz show, “Jeopardy,” and I’m instantly made to feel as if my brain is on vacation, lying on a beach somewhere in Hawaii.

I can remember when my husband and I used to watch the show every night as we ate dinner…for no other reason than to torture ourselves 

“The three main stages of this art movement are: facet, analytic and synthetic,” Alex Trebek, the host back then, said.

Immediately, one of the contestants buzzed in. “What is the Cubist movement?” he answered.

His answer was correct. My husband and I just stared blankly at each other. 

Another art question in that same category was answered with “Baroque.”

My husband didn’t quite hear it, so he asked me what the contestant had said. 

I responded, “He said ‘What is Baroque?’”

To which my husband muttered, “Ba-roke? That’s what I am at the end of every month, before I get paid.”

I also remember another quiz show called, “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” which first aired back in 2007. I was certain I’d finally found a show where I’d be able to answer every question with ease. After all, I reasoned, the show’s description said the questions would be taken directly from textbooks used in grades one through five.  What could be easier than that?

“I’m going to ace all of these questions!” I said to my husband as we prepared to watch the show.

“Don’t be so sure,” he said. “Things have changed a lot since we were in grade school. Back in first grade, we were learning to read stuff like, ‘See Spot run!’ Nowadays, first-graders are reading the Wall Street Journal.”

I eagerly awaited the first question on the show, which, according to the category, was third-grade science.

 “What kind of rock is created from lava?”

“Volcanic!” my husband said.

“Igneous,” the smart-aleck kid answered…correctly, of course.

“Iggy who?” my husband asked.

I shrugged. “Don’t ask me – I thought he said ‘icky knees’!”

The next question also was from third-grade science. “What phenomenon might be felt on the surface when two tectonic plates rub against each other?“

My husband changed the channel.

I hate to say it, but I think I’ll stick with watching Repo Games. I can relate better to someone who thinks spaghetti comes from underground mines in Italy.

#   #   #

Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated 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, August 10, 2022



I was working on my laptop the other day when an advertisement for a matchmaking site popped up.

“Meet other 50+ singles near you!” it said. “Search now for free!”

Photos of several men also were included in the ad, and one of them looked very familiar. In fact, I was pretty sure I’d gone to high school with the guy. Curious, I clicked on the ad to see if I could find out who he was, or at least where he was from. 

The first thing the matchmaking website did was ask for my e-mail address. I gave them one I use specifically for unimportant mail. Then it proceeded to ask me questions – everything from my favorite color and how many children I have, want to have, might have and want my future date to have, to how many teeth I still have.

For each question, there was a “prefer not to answer” box that could be checked off.  So I zipped through all of the seemingly endless questions by checking that box. I wasn’t the least bit interested in being matched with anyone, so I didn’t want to bother answering 500 dumb questions. I was interested only in finding out about the guy who resembled my former classmate.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, I reached the man’s profile. He was from Manchester, which was where I went to high school…but he was born 13 years after I was. That meant when I was a senior in high school, he probably was just learning his ABCs. 

I didn’t think any more about the ad until the next morning. The e-mail address I’d given the matchmaking website was filled with photos of men the site declared were a “perfect” match for me!

“According to your answers on your profile,” one e-mail said, “this man is a 96-percent match for you!”

I figured that meant he hadn’t bothered to answer any of their dumb questions either, but when I read his profile, it looked as if he'd actually answered every one of them. He was a plumber from Massachusetts who loved to discuss politics and go sailing.

I wondered if that meant he liked to go sailing and discuss politics at the same if you didn't agree with him he could shove you overboard to shut you up.

And sailing? If I’m in the bathtub and reach for the soap and the water ripples, I get queasy. So my time on a boat usually is spent with my head hanging over the edge. Either that, or I have to pop so much Dramamine, I end up looking like one of the zombies from the TV show The Walking Dead.

But the guy did have one point in his favor. He was a plumber. And I have a very temperamental toilet I’d love to match him up with.

The supposedly “perfect” matches for me continued to pour in, so to entertain myself, I read them.  I swear that some of the guys’ photos were actual police mugshots.  If they wanted to attract women, they probably shouldn’t have posed with facial expressions that made them look as if they were suffering from a severe case of constipation.

One strange thing I noticed was that every man the matchmaking service recommended for me was under 5’6” tall, and I’m 5’7”. I guess I must have sounded shorter in the answers I didn’t give.

I also noticed that the men seemed to be sensitive about their body types. On the questionnaire for their builds, they could check off one of the following: slim, average, athletic, muscular, a few pounds overweight, heavyset or overweight.  Not one man, no matter how big he looked in his photo, checked off anything higher than “a few pounds overweight.” I guess if a 300-lb. man is only “a few pounds overweight,” then that would make my own body type “emaciated.”

And I couldn’t believe how many of them were wearing baseball caps in their photos. I began to suspect it was because they were bald and didn’t want the women to know they were. I mean, if they had thick, luxurious hair, why would they want to hide it under a ratty old hat?

But alas, now that I’ve had my free trial, the website wants me to actually pay for a membership so I can be matched with even more eligible bachelors.

I think I’ll pass.  

Although, the man who listed one of his hobbies as collecting his bellybutton lint in a jar for the past 10 years (I’m serious!), does sound like a real catch.


#   #   # 

Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated 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:




Thursday, August 4, 2022



I’ve been noticing for a while now that the nighttime hours look much darker than they used to. I’m nocturnal, so taking a walk with my dogs at 11 PM is nothing out of the ordinary for me. And I‘ve always enjoyed doing my grocery shopping at 10 PM, especially back in the pre-pandemic days, when the stores closed at midnight.

Just last week, I took my black dog out for a walk after dark and I couldn’t even see her. And forget about driving anywhere at night. I was doing okay following the yellow or white lines on the road…until I came to a road that didn’t have any lines. I’m sure the guy in the car behind me didn’t appreciate having to crawl along at 15 miles per hour as I felt my way down the road, my knuckles white from my death grip on the steering wheel.

So for a while now, I’ve stopped going out after dark and have remained nocturnal only in the safe confines of my house, where the light bulbs, for some reason, seem to be getting dimmer every night. I’d like to switch all of them to 100 watts…but first I would have to unearth some ancient, buried treasure of gold coins in my back yard so I could afford the electric bill.

Anyway, last week I went for my annual eye exam and, for the first time in three years, a different doctor did the honors.

Let’s just say that when an optometrist finishes your exam and gasps, “Ohmigod! You have to get those cataracts removed ASAP or you won’t pass your driver’s eye exam for your license renewal!” it can be just a tad unnerving.  

To make matters even worse, she handed me my new eyeglass prescription and said it was much stronger than my previous one. But then, in her next breath, she told me not to even bother getting it filled. “Once you have the cataracts removed, you won’t even need this prescription, so it would just be a waste of money,” she said.

"If I have the surgery, will I be able to see at night again?” I asked, hoping I’d no longer have to lock myself in the house at 6 PM every night in an effort to protect my life, as well as the lives of others.

“Yes, you’ll be able to see much better in the dark and you also will be able drive at night…and believe me, you will thank me afterwards!”

Then she casually mentioned she thought she’d seen a hole in my retina, and wanted some pictures taken of the back of my eye. I understand enough about eyes to know that a hole in any part of one is never a good thing.

I proceeded to have photos of my eye taken at every angle imaginable. An additional assistant even was called in to hold up my eyelashes to keep them out of the way. That surprised me because I’ve always been cursed with what they call “toothbrush” lashes, which are stubby little things with no shape to them, like the bristles on a toothbrush. The only thing I’d attract if I batted my lashes at someone would be a tube of Crest.

After the photos were taken, I sat and nervously waited for the optometrist to check out the results. She came into the room and studied the images on the computer screen, then shrugged and said, “It looks like an old hole, and the edges are well-defined, so it’s nothing to worry about.”

An old hole? It hadn’t been there a year ago during my last eye exam, so it definitely wasn’t a senior citizen in the “old eye-hole” category. I silently prayed it wouldn’t  decide to wake up and start reproducing, just to spite her for calling it old.

By the time I left there, the doctor had set up an appointment for me to see a surgeon on August 29th for a consultation about my cataracts. To me, that seemed like nothing short of an eternity, especially since I’d still have to suffer with my old glasses in the meantime. I also wondered how long it would take after the consultation to actually have the surgery. Christmas?

Of course, the minute I got home, I rushed over to my laptop and looked up everything about cataract surgery I could find…and also, out of curiosity, information about holes in retinas. One page stated that after the surgery to repair a retinal hole or tear, the patient often is required to lie face-down with very little movement for one to two weeks while the eye heals.

I knew there was NO way I ever could remain on my stomach for two weeks – or even two hours. And how, I wondered, would I go to the bathroom while lying face-down? Or eat? It defied gravity in every sense of the word.

The rules to follow after cataract surgery also were a bit disturbing. No eye makeup for four to six weeks?  When I don’t wear eye makeup, my eyes look like two oysters on the half-shell. It also recommended avoiding sneezing, coughing, vomiting or straining to have a bowel movement the first few days after surgery – all of which might increase eye pressure and blow out all of the delicate work.

Well, just thinking about not doing any of those things makes me feel as if a severe case of constipation is inevitable, with stools made of concrete…combined with catching a common cold that will make me sneeze non-stop. And speaking of sneezing, I love ground black pepper and liberally use it on all of my food, mainly because this year’s previous bout of Covid left me with taste buds that need tons of flavor or all of my food tastes like wet cardboard. So every night when I make my dinner, I bring out the pepper and shake it on everything I’m cooking…and even on a few things I'm not...and then I sneeze for a while.

So I guess I’m going to have to hide the pepper shaker the day before my surgery…and then develop a taste for wet cardboard.

But the post-surgical rule that struck me the funniest was to make sure to avoid all dust, so it won’t get into the eyes.

The guy who wrote that rule obviously has never been in my house – or met my two dogs, a.k.a. the “I love to roll in the dirt outside” rottweiler and the “I shed fur 24/7” boxer/lab.

At the rate I’m going, I might end up having to train them to become guide dogs.

So wish me luck. I’m pretty sure I’m going to need it.

#   #   #

Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated 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: