Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dear Merriam Webster,
Please excuse the large font but I can't find my reading glasses. I am also naked due to excessive body temperature. Wait! What was I writing to you about? Hmm ... it will come to me in a min ... let's see ... spell check, oh good. Minute. Oh, I remember I want you to eliminate three words from your dictionary. The words are: Ma'am, menopause and middle age.
Ma'am: n.madam. Ma'am is a four-letter word. No one called me ma'am when I was 22. The word ma'am signifies men no longer see me as a siren but a senior citizen.
The first time it happened I looked around expecting to see some haggard old crone behind me and then realized someone was addressing me.
"Who me? Ma'aaaammm?"
Now not only does this person think I'm old, they think I stutter. This slur is usually hurled by some waitperson with two chest hairs.
"Ma'am, would you like sourdough, wheat or Metamucil?"
This twit, not even old enough to know what life was like before text messaging does not need to know I can't read the menu because I forgot my reading glasses. This twit does not need to know I have shoes in my closet older than he is. All this twit needs to know is to drop the ma'am or his tip will suffer.
Menopause: n.1. the ceasing of menstruation. 2. The period in a woman's life when this occurs. A period pun in a dictionary? That may be the only laugh you'll get from menopause. Let me set the record straight. Menstruation doesn't just cease. I did not wake up one day to find a little illuminated sign flashing on my forehead with the message: "Attention, menstruation is over. It's safe to wear white shorts and bathing suits."
No. First come the hot flashes. Remember the Indian sunburns you gave to your worst enemy as a kid? When you grabbed an arm and twisted the skin in opposite directions until they screamed? That's how a hot flash feels. These flashes can come in the middle of a meeting with your boss, while you're sleeping or during an expensive dinner. No matter when they hit, you will suddenly have the insatiable urge to tear your clothes off and choke little twits who call you "ma'am" by twisting their head and body in opposite directions.
Middle age: n. The period between youth and old age, about 45 to 60. I do not need the English language to tell me I have crossed the threshold into middle age. All I have to do is look at my body. Gravity is happening to it. Gray hair, age spots, bumps, splotches, dots, lumps, humps and bulges are all happening to it. My body's betrayal apparently is so noticeable that a complete stranger recently felt compelled to comment on my sagging body parts. When I emerged from the dressing room of a high-end boutique, a woman with a thick foreign accent approached me and said, "You need a new bra-zzzziere."
The horrified look on my face didn't deter her. She continued,
"You know, lift and separate."
Clearly, the old gray mare ain't what she used to be. But, I've digressed. I must finish my letter.
Where are my reading glasses? Oh, Merriam-Webster guys, please agree to delete these three words from the dictionary. Or beware! Indian sunburns from hormonally challenged women may soon be in your future.
Contact Joanne Palmer at email@example.com