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.

Does chicken poop make you look younger?photo by Fred Mike Ruby

Forget the Revlon.  Doesn’t chicken poop make you look younger?
photo by Fred Mike Ruby

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Posted on March 1, 2013, in Aging, Depression, Humor and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. I’m pretty sure chicken poop would be something Cupcake would LOVE to sample. That’s if you don’t buy it all up and hoard it trying go get past under 40 and make it to under 21.

  2. nice. i think the cashier takes into account what you are purchasing with your over 21 items. in the past it’s been the 120 count diaper boxes purchased with the case of beer that’s been the dead giveaway….at least that’s what i tell myself.

  3. Don’t be too hard on yourself. A few weeks ago, I noticed I got a special discount at the grocery store and I wasn’t sure why. I checked my receipt and saw the cashier had given me the senior citizen’s discount. I am 38. I got a good laugh from it, but I’ve been scrutinizing every line in the mirror ever since.

    • That IS SO WRONG! There is no way you could possibly look like a senior citizen. On that note, I used to volunteer for an organization that offered computer classes to senior citizens. You were allowed to sign up if you were 45 or over. So, that means I will be a senior citizen this year in their eyes. Crap.

  4. I get called ‘love’ or ‘darling’ by people serving me in shops. I used to think it was because they thought I was young and cute – now I realize it’s because they think I’m a groovy geriatric.

  5. Oh the joys of being carded.

  6. thedisquietedwriter

    Don’t take it too personally. I deal with people on a regular basis and have referred to women, specifically someone who has already had children, as “ma’am,” but only because everyone else does. I know some places, even though they probably should, don’t card people who they are absolutely sure is over 21, even if there is an “under 40” sign. 🙂

    • Well, that is just disturbing. Don’t these places realize that they are inadvertently insulting all of the women between 22 and 40 (and some of us who like to think we look like we are in this age range) by NOT carding them? It’s a true injustice.

  7. How do you know the “40” didn’t refer the height in inches?

  8. You are so right. I think I will stick with my wrinkle cream though. LOL!!

  9. I bought a bottle of wine recently and the cashier asked me, “You’re over 21, right?” while LAUGHING. She looked no more than 17 or 18. Laughing. I’m 31! Yes, that is ten years over the age that I am supposed to be but you don’t have to act like it is so glaringly obvious that you LAUGH at me. 😉

  10. Have you ever smelled chicken poop? You would NOT want it near you, especially your face! Scrunching up with disgust would also give you more lines than you had before, so don’t go there.
    The last time I was carded? 1987. I was 29. The ma’am crap started in my 30’s, so I’m used to it by now – which is a good thing because I’m a grandma and nobody cares how old you are I am anymore 🙂

  11. Maybe he was from the south? Since I am a Texan, 99% of the people I know say Ma’am. And, you don’t have to be over 40. But, most likely, he wasn’t. I remember when I was around middle school age and my parents decided all of a sudden we needed to start saying yes ma’am and no ma’am to them. (probably because most parents raise their kids that way in the south) It was funny. We weren’t buying it.

  12. I think you should tell yourself that he was responding to the grace and charm inherent in your bearing as an educator of the young, and he was taught to be respectful of teachers, despite the youthfulness of their appearance.

    • That would work, except I do my best not to look like a teacher in public, so that would make me obsess about what gave me away. I suppose it could have been the apple earrings or the chalboard necklace…

  13. LOL. So my favorite part about this is the fact that the mystery-faced woman was purchasing both cigs and Pedialyte. I feel like I went through a phase in college where that was my standard Walgreens order. Not that I ever really smoked habitually. But I did binge drink habitually, and Pedialyte is heaven for hangovers! …This comment is doing me absolutely no favors.

    • I had no idea that Pedialyte worked so well for hangovers. Although I thought the trashcan punch I was drinking WAS Pedialyte, so that could have been part of my problem. It SEEMED so nourishing at the time…

  14. I can’t believe he “ma’amed” you! Such a punk… And that sign is priceless. Just what everyone needs when they pick up cigs and Pedialyte – a little chicken poop on sale!
    I’m starting to hit the age where people aren’t sure if they should ID me when I buy wine now and I get a kick out of watching the poor cashiers try to figure out if I’m a high schooler with a bad hair day or just a woman who’s had a long work day.

  15. I’d consider smearing chicken poop all over my face if it made me look 10 years younger…especially at those prices. What a steal!

  16. Chancy the Gardener

    This is just hilarious!! We are pretty sure chicken poop helps in a lot of areas but we are not sure it would help in the aging process. lol. Hugs

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