Wednesday, November 23, 2022



Something happened a week ago that has me scratching my head (both literally and figuratively).

It all started when I headed to my dermatologist’s office for my annual skin exam. I wasn’t concerned because nothing had changed since my last exam. All of my spots, moles and bumps looked exactly the same way they'd looked a year ago.

Anyway, I’m a person who’s late for everything. I don’t care how well I plan things, I'm still never able to make it to any appointments on time. My mother and my husband, who were such sticklers for punctuality they always insisted upon arriving everywhere at least a half-hour early, used to complain that my habitual tardiness was the cause of most of their gray hairs.

So on the day of my appointment with the dermatologist, I actually left the house early. I was pretty proud of myself, especially since I’d gone to bed only four hours before I had to get up. But as I pulled out onto the only road that leads down the mountain from my house, I found myself directly behind two trucks. The first one was painting a new yellow line down the center of the road. The second truck had a guy clinging to the outside of it and placing orange cones next to the newly painted line. A sign on the back of the truck warned drivers not to pass because of the wet paint.

I never would have believed a vehicle could travel that slowly and still actually be moving. Ten minutes later, I’d gone exactly a half-mile…and was mentally shouting at the guys, “Have mercy and pull over and let everyone pass, will you?”  By then, I couldn’t even see the end of the line of cars that had formed behind me.

A mile later, the trucks finally did pull over…and I was able to travel the actual speed limit.

Alas, I arrived ten minutes late for my appointment…and with my “always late for everything” record still intact.

As it turned out, the doctor also was running late, so I was able to sit in the waiting room for 15 minutes, followed by another 30 in the examining room – where I was instructed to take off all of my clothes, including my shoes and socks, and put on a gown. It wasn’t long before my feet actually turned blue, they were so cold, because, as everyone knows, examining rooms must follow a strict protocol not to allow the temperature in them to climb any higher than the interior temperature of an igloo.

During my wait, the assistant took down all of my information and then said, seemingly out of nowhere, “Just to let you know, the doctor will be examining the crack of your buttocks. There was a young woman here not long ago who had melanoma in the crack of hers, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.”


The doctor finally rushed in and asked if I had any new concerns since my last visit.

I was tempted to say, “Yeah – I’m now concerned about my butt crack,” but instead I asked him if the hair I’d lost, mostly on the very top of my head, during Covid would grow back. He immediately examined my scalp.

“I do see significant thinning,” he said. “I think I should do a scalp biopsy,” He turned to the assistant and said, “I’ll punch that.”

Just as I was going to ask him if local anesthesia might be a less aggressive approach, he explained that a punch biopsy used an instrument similar to a paper punch to take a sample. He then mentioned he’d also seen a blue mole on my scalp and was going to biopsy that, too.

Blue mole? That was a new one to me. It also made me wonder if maybe I’d dozed off while using a blue permanent-marker and accidentally had dotted my head with it.

Hate to say it, but it wouldn’t have been the first time.

“And I’ll make a list of the blood tests I’d like you to have, concerning your hair loss,” the doctor added. “Alopecia can be caused by such conditions as thyroid cancer, or anemia caused by internal bleeding from cancer, or from a hormonal problem caused by ovarian cancer.”

The exam continued and I kept hearing, “This might look like an innocent mole, but cancer loves to disguise itself as innocent-looking growths, so you can’t be too cautious.”

Then there was the pale pink bump on my shin, “It could be nothing,” he said, “but I’m going to biopsy that, too.”

I was beginning to think the doctor considered everything to be cancer until he was able to prove otherwise. 

A few very long minutes later, after the doctor had examined every inch of my body from my scalp down to the soles of my feet, the assistant left and returned with a fistful of hypodermic needles and a bunch of little jars, which she began to label.

The numbing, carving, punching, scraping, cauterizing and stitching then began. I left there looking like the walking wounded – bandages on my head, chin, leg, chest, neck and in places I couldn’t even remember. I was embarrassed to walk across the parking lot because I was afraid people would think I'd just been mugged by a gang of thugs.

So I now can empathize with a Thanksgiving turkey, which also has to undergo a lot of carving, injecting and stitching during this time of year. 

The only difference is the bird is dead, while I’m still alive - all itchy and scabby and definitely not smelling like sage. 


I might smell like something else, however, as I’m not supposed to get my stitches wet…and I still have to wait another week before they can be removed.

#   #  

UPDATE:  Received all of the biopsy results and was relieved to learn everything was benign and nothing of concern. And the little pink bump on my leg – the one that required the deepest incision and the most stitches, and the doctor said would leave a scar – turned out to be a mosquito bite, which I probably got during the record-breaking warm spell we had just prior to my appointment.

I’m totally serious.

 #   #   #






Thursday, November 17, 2022




Because I’m a germophobe who’s trying hard not to catch Covid, I won’t be attending any Christmas parties this year. Better to be safe than sorry, even though I’ve always loved holiday gatherings and usually had a great time at all of them.

If I had to recall the best, however, the annual Christmas parties at Leavitt’s Department Store, where I used to work, would top my list.

Every December, the store went all out and rented a big banquet room at the Chateau Restaurant in Manchester. It was a fancy affair, with the women wearing evening gowns and the men wearing their best suits and ties. The festivities featured a nice roast-beef dinner and free drinks, followed by dancing to a live band. Also, several of the employees would put on skits or entertain with singing and dancing.

One year, the entertainment director asked me to take part in one of the skits. An employee named Dan was going to portray Tiny Tim and sing his falsetto hit, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” The director wanted me to act like a crazed fan, screaming and carrying on from the sidelines. Then, after Dan finished singing, she wanted me run up and throw myself at him while launching into the song, “You’re Just too Good to be True.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to singing, I’ve always sounded like a cross between a bobcat with its foot caught in a bear-trap, and a bull moose searching for a mate. So I protested, telling the director I couldn’t sing, especially in front of a crowd of people.

“Oh, nobody cares!” she said with a wave of her hand. “It’s all just in good fun anyway!  You’ll do just fine!”

So I made the mistake of allowing her to convince me to be in the skit. Every night for a week before the big Christmas party, I practiced singing my song for hours in my bedroom, until I thought I didn’t sound half-bad. I ate, breathed and slept “You’re Just too Good to be True.”

The night of the party, the moment my date and I arrived, the director rushed over to us and told me to go talk with the band about playing the music to accompany my solo.

“Do you know the song ‘You’re Just too Good to be True’?” I asked one of the band members who was leaning against a piano. “I have to sing it during the entertainment portion tonight.”

“Yeah,” he said. “What key?”

Key?  Heck, the only key I was familiar with was the one that unlocked my front door.

I still have no idea why, but I blurted out, “Key of G.”

The guy looked wide-eyed at me. “You sure?”

I nodded, too embarrassed to tell him I didn’t know a thing about music.

As it turned out, the key of G was so low, when I began to sing my song, I practically had to reach down to my toes for the notes. If the party guests had closed their eyes, they’d have sworn some big, burly man – like a Sumo wrestler – was singing. Even Dan, the guy portraying Tiny Tim, looked shocked when I began serenading him in my baritone voice.

When I returned to the table where my date was seated, waiting for me, I could tell he was struggling to find something complimentary to say about my performance. His comment finally was, “Gee, I’ve never heard that song sung quite so…low…before.”

PARTY - 1969

I still have no clue which key my voice really is, but I’m pretty sure I can rule out the key of G.

The last Christmas party I attended, about three or four years ago, pre-pandemic, was a calm and quiet one at a relative's house.  No one drank too much or tried to do the hoochie-koochie dance on the coffee table. No one was obnoxious or flirted with someone else’s date. No one sang 50 choruses of “The 12 Days of Christmas” while trying to remember whether there were 10 or 11 drummers drumming.

Yep, all was calm...and it was pretty boring.

I should have serenaded them with my stirring rendition of "You're Just too Good to be True."


#   #   #

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, November 9, 2022




A couple weeks ago I had a “meet and greet,” as they referred to it, with the ophthalmologist who will be doing my cataract surgery at the end of March in 2023.

I instantly liked the woman – bubbly, personable and sociable – and she allowed me as much time as I needed to discuss all of my questions about the surgery. The previous doctor I’d seen had rushed me so much, he actually told me to walk down the hall with him as he headed to his next patient, so he could finish answering my questions. I had to run to keep up with him.

Anyway, during this meet and greet, the surgeon asked me if I’d ever had eye surgery before. I told her I had, when I was two-and-a-half years old. Then I told her she probably wouldn’t believe any of the details. 

I could tell I’d piqued her interest as she leaned closer and asked, “Why? What happened?”

The funny thing is, even though I was very young when I had the surgery, I still remember a lot about it, as if it happened only a year ago. So I related all of it to my new ophthalmologist, even though I figured she’d end up thinking I desperately needed a long vacation, alone on a remote island somewhere…far away from any other humans.

According to my mother, the saga of my childhood eye surgery began when she and I were out in my grandmother’s field one summer afternoon and I bent over to pick a flower. When I did, a piece of timothy grass poked me in the eye. I whined, rubbed my eye hard, and that was the end of it.

Or so my mother thought. 


A couple weeks later, my eye began to look red and puffy.  My mother examined it closely and saw something green sticking up out of the corner of it. She found the tweezers and used them to tug on the green thing. It wouldn’t budge. She tugged again, harder, and said the eye started to bleed. She gasped and panicked, which caused me to scream loudly enough to break the sound barrier.  The next thing I knew, I was in the hospital.

The doctor’s theory was that a piece of the timothy grass, which kind of looks like wheat, had lodged in my tear duct when I’d rubbed it, and the damp, moist environment in there had caused it to sprout.  The doctor said it would have to be surgically removed and I’d have to stay in the hospital for a few days.

Upon hearing the diagnosis, my mother said she felt woozy and thought she might faint. I suppose it must have been traumatic for her, learning that her child was a walking greenhouse. She probably had visions of my face covered in plant-life with roots hanging out of my nostrils.

I clearly can remember being in that hospital. I still can picture the big room I was in. It contained rows of metal-barred cribs with kids in them.  The tops of the cribs had nets over them. I guess the nets were so we couldn’t escape. We all looked like a bunch of little zoo animals.

I also remember daily “playtime” at the hospital.  A woman, pushing a cart loaded with stuffed animals, would stop at each crib and hand an animal to each of us. My crib always was the last one she reached. Just as I would start to play with the stuffed animal, the woman would come back and take it away, saying, “Sorry, dear, playtime is over!” I can remember stubbornly trying to hold onto the animal as she tugged on it.  I wasn’t about to let her take MY toy without a fight.

And I remember having to feed myself. A cart with food on it would be rolled up to my crib and left there. I had to reach out through the bars and grab my meals. I ate with my hands and I ate fast because I was sure that the lady who handed out the stuffed animals was going to show up and try to snatch away my food, too. I usually ended up with more food in my ears and hair than in my mouth.

The thing I remember the most clearly about the hospital, though, was the morning a nurse took me into a room that contained a full-sized bathtub and gave me a bath. Halfway through my bath, another nurse, carrying a little boy, walked in and plunked him next to me in the water.

I had no idea what to make of that naked little boy. I knew he looked different than I did, but I couldn’t figure out why. I did a lot of staring.  In fact, I stared so much, I made the nurses laugh.

My mother said that when I finally came home from the hospital a week later, I was not the same happy, smiling kid she’d taken there. She said I glared at her and my father, communicated in grunts, and I ate like an animal, shoving food into my mouth with both fists, as if every bite might be my last. And I’d gone to the hospital all potty trained…and came home completely un-potty-trained.

Considering my dramatic personality change, I think my parents should have taken me back to the hospital for an x-ray of my brain. Heck, they might have found a cornstalk growing in there.

After I finished telling the ophthalmologist my story, she just sat there, staring at me. I was prepared to hear, “That’s one really creative tall tale,” as I usually did, after I told people how I probably could have given the “Swamp Thing” a run for its money if the plant in my eye had continued to grow.     

To my surprise, the ophthalmologist said, “That’s fascinating. You know, it’s extremely rare but not impossible for foreign bodies to enter the tear-sac and lacrimal duct…and I suppose it actually would be the perfect damp environment for a seed to sprout.” She then asked me exactly what timothy grass was.

As I was leaving, she thanked me for a very memorable and entertaining visit.

I’m hoping, however, that my cataract surgery will be neither entertaining nor memorable. So I’ll be extra careful between now and then not to get anything else in my eye, like when I’m decorating my home this Christmas season.

I mean, I wouldn’t want to show up with a Balsam fir sprouting out of my body.

#   #   #

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, November 2, 2022



Yesterday was my birthday and to be honest, birthdays just aren’t as much fun as they used to be when I was younger. For one thing, most of my gifts and cards poked fun at my advancing age…for which I really didn’t want or need any reminders.

There were the cards that said things like, “I was going to send you a funny card, but at your age, I was afraid you’d pee yourself," or “Aren’t you glad we were young and crazy before cell phones and the Internet, so there was no evidence?”

And then there were the usual corny jokes about the only men in my life being Ben-Gay, Arthur-itis and Charley Horse.

Okay, so maybe those are the only men in my life, but don't rub it in (I'm talking to you, Ben-Gay!).

I also received a few gag gifts. One was a statue of an elderly woman with everything on her body pointing south. She had one hand on her hip and her body wiggled back and forth (kind of like those old-fashioned hula-dancer statues people used to put on their car dashboards). On the base, it said, “Still hot!  But it comes in flashes.”  

Another gift was a box that said “Senior Survival Kit” on the lid. It contained a tube of denture adhesive, a magnifying glass, antacid tablets, aspirin, wrinkle cream, laxative, hemorrhoid ointment and a pair of socks that had “left” and “right” printed on them.

At my age, it seemed more like a practical gift than a gag.

One of my friends gave me a book that listed information about the year I was born.  The average cost of a house back then was $7,450. Gas was 17 cents per gallon, a postage stamp was three cents, a loaf of bread was 14 cents, and a new car was about $1,400. Truman was the president and the 45-rpm record was just invented. Argyle socks were the latest fashion trend. Believe me, I felt like a fossil after reading that.

I have to confess, however, that when it comes to my age, I’m still in denial. I live in jeans, dye my hair and wear it long, and still dare to do things like ride on roller coasters and go zip-lining. But reality has a way of reminding me I’m not 30 any more…especially when it comes to my mail.

I can remember when the mail-order catalogs I received were from places like Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood and The Beauty Boutique. Now they come from places that sell hearing aids, back braces, life insurance, liver-spot remover and motorized wheelchairs. I can wake up feeling young and vibrant in the morning, but after reading my mail, I feel as if should be picking out my headstone.

On the bright side, I guess I at least don’t have that “little old lady” voice yet. I was on the phone with a customer-service guy the other day and he happened to mention he'd just turned 28. I told him I had underwear older than him and he laughed and said, “Yeah, right! I can tell by your voice you’re only about 35.”

I wanted to adopt him.


#   #   #

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: