Pretty Much the Only Person You Should Ever Call “Ma’am” is Your Own Mother
I almost bought a pack of cigarettes the other day.
I don’t smoke. Never have. But, I was really tempted to purchase some while I was standing in line at Walgreens.
The woman in front of me bought a pack, and this focused my attention on the variety of choices on the wall behind the register. It also made me reflect on the irony of a place that sells you medication at the same time it sells addictive cartons of cancer. But I digress.
In front of the cigarettes, a sign said, “We I.D. under 40.”
And I thought, I should buy a pack of cigarettes just to see if he will ask for my i.d.
I am 44.
How great would that be if he asked for my i.d., implying that he thinks I look like I am under 40 years old?
Of course, it could completely go the other way, I told myself. And that would not be good. What if it just says that on the sign, and they really just i.d. if you look under 21? You DO NOT look under 21, I don’t care what your husband tells you.
The Self who talks to me is very rude.
I tried to look at the woman-with-a-death-wish in front of me. The cashier had not asked for her i.d. I needed to compare myself to her.
But, I could not see her face. I started to plot ways to get her to turn around. Hey, uh, do you mind giving me one of those cigarettes? or just Oh my God. Would you look over there?
But The Self who talks to me indicated that those were stupid ideas.
And while I was arguing with The Self, the woman left, gliding through the automatic doors with her bag of Marlboros and Pedialyte without ever revealing her face to me.
I looked the cashier in the eyes as I slid my purchase onto the counter.
“Is this all, ma’am?” he asked.
And that’s all it took. I knew from that last word what I needed to do.
“Yes,” I hissed defiantly. You agist bastard.
He rang my one item up, and handed it to me as I furiously swiped my card, completely insulted by this person who I decided did not deserve the satisfaction of me allowing him to ask for my i.d.. Because he ma’amed me, and experience has taught me that “ma’am” is a four letter word for “you are about my grandmother’s age, so I’m going to act respectful.”
And, at that point, I wasn’t sure if I would just burst into tears or fly over the counter and try to strangle him if he did not have the good sense to ask for my i.d.
And I took my bottle of Revlon Age-Defying Foundation home, assuring myself that I will slather the stuff all over my face, neck, elbows, and knees for a week. I will even wear it at night. And then, I will return to purchase my pack of cigarettes that I will never smoke, and my i.d. will be demanded. And I will roll my eyes because people always make this mistake, and smile as I take out my driver’s license and prove that I am over 40, but have managed to maintain my attractive-and-younger-than-40 looks. And that I am just as capable of caking my lungs with black soot as the next 39 1/2 year old.
So there you have it – the real reason why cigarettes should be illegal.
And possible evidence for Walgreens to issue a restraining order against me.