Even Old Buffalo Looking New: Ch.4’s 1960’s Buffalove

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – My friend Libby wrote something the other day which made me think. She was talking about the cold and the gray and the snow, and how we don’t even realize how the darkness of it all creeps into our personality.

“Honestly do not even realize I am depressed, until the sun comes out and everything is sunshiny and I feel the depression lift!”

skyway


I read this amidst my going through my collection of old radio and TV trade magazines. In the late 50s and early 60s, these magazines were filled with ads from local radio and TV stations looking to appeal to national advertisers. They talk about how great the station is, but also how wonderful the city and it’s people are– a great place to sell your stuff.

There are plenty of great ads from Buffalo stations. It’s like a Buffalo version of the wacky creative efforts you might see from the guys on Mad Men.

WBENTVbuildings

I’ve used these old magazines as a resource for years. Decades even. This time, however, the feeling was different, and Libby’s exaltation helped me put my finger on what made some of these ads better than they were the last time I looked.

These ads look better and more interesting, because there is hope and brightness in Buffalo like we haven’t seen here since the late 50s.

These ads, from 1958 and 1964, show WBEN-TV’s excitement for Buffalo and what is to come, and are meant to showcase the “just-over-the-horizon New Buffalo” that was on it’s way.

These ads feel fresh and great, because while there was a 60 year lag, that New Buffalo really is just around the corner this time.

WBENTVgrainelevators

When we were filled with gloom and darkness about our city, we would look and read these, and point to the empty, rotting grain elevators as a vestige of a vanished industry.

We’d look closely on the Skyway image, and see the beams marked with the logo of Bethlehem Steel. It was a bridge built to get 15,000 men from the city to their jobs in a plant that’s been cold for 30 years.

 

We imagine what Buffalo would have looked like if we didn’t build highways and downtown office buildings for 2 million expected Western New Yorkers, and we lament the buildings that were lost because too much of downtown was torn down too quickly for the wrong reasons.

But now, with the sun out here for the first time in generations, we look at these images and see progress and what’s to come. We now recreate under the Skyway, with promise of more to come. Grain elevators and malt houses are becoming the avant-garde, up-and-coming spaces that the next generation of Buffalonians realize are incredibly unique to us alone, as moves are made to re-imagine and re-purpose what makes us unique.

WBENTVskyway

And with cranes and scaffolds up in dozens of places around the city, the thought of “new building” isn’t necessarily followed by “oh no.”

As the sun shines, and us Buffalonians feel the depression about our city lift, we’re beginning to figure out how to make our dynamic past, part of our dynamic future.

And we’re getting excited about seeing how the same ol’stuff starts to look different with some sunshine on it, warming the face and the soul.

Old Blizzards, The Comet, and Staying Warm, Buffalo

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY- So sure, it’s freezing. This is a prolonged cold snap like many of us in Buffalo can’t remember, especially in light of a couple of really mild winters.

Now you’re thinking, so what does Cichon have for us today? More on the anniversary of the Blizzard of ’77?

Well, if you want that, here’s a copy of a Channel 4 newscast from just after the Blizzard. When I worked at Channel 4, I garbage-picked a 1977 copy of this tape when a newer copy was dubbed in the late 90s. This tape is very interesting, if you want to wallow in cold.

But me, I’m wishing for warmth. So instead of the 37th anniversary of the Blizzard of ’77, I’d rather talk about another upcoming anniversary: It was 25 years ago this year that the last cars groaned and creaked along the shores of Lake Erie on the Comet.

It’s been a quarter of a century since we spilled across the Peace Bridge to be greeted by delicious all-day suckers, Paul Bunyan, and that creepy piano playing guy in Laff-in-the-Dark.

If the thought of a quick PSSSSHT of air up your shorts in the Magic Palace or the sound of the talking garbage can thanking you for keeping the park clean doesn’t warm you up today, there might not be anything that will.
If you’re old enough to remember, watching this 30 second TV spot will warm your heart if not your skin today…

It’s the 25th anniversary of Crystal Beach closing this year, and it’s also the 10th anniversary of my Buffalo pop culture website, staffannouncer.com. All year long, I’ll be sprucing up some of the pages that have been there for a while, and creating a bunch of new ones that I’ve been meaning to create for years.

This post first appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

13 things inside the mind of a 18-year old Buffalonian in 2014

Yesterday I was speaking to a class of high school kids, mostly seniors. One of the reasons I’m a successful public speaker has nothing to do with public speaking, per se. It’s my firm belief that no matter who the person or people are, we are equals.

18 year olds probably don’t remember people tossing quarters into the basket at the Black Rock and Ogden toll booths. They don’t even remember the toll booths being there.
18 year olds probably don’t remember people tossing quarters into the basket at the Black Rock and Ogden toll booths. They don’t even remember the toll booths being there.

Whether you’re a wealthy and powerful leader, or a kid trying not to doze off in 3rd period, we’re all on the journey of life together and we all have the opportunity to impact one another’s lives. I try to connect with people through shared experiences and perspectives… and, well, that hit a bit of a wall talking at Pioneer.

When a 16 year old asks you about your greatest experiences in journalism, and as you start to talk, you realize this kid was in first grade when Hurricane Katrina struck, so there’s an impromptu explanation of why that story was important, and then why I covered it, and then my story, then—… to hell with it. “I met Katy Perry before she was a big star.” (Actually, I wish that I would have thought to share that story.)

No matter how or why you are speaking in front of people, if you want to convey your message directly and thoroughly, you have to keep your audience in mind. Why is any of this relevant? I’ll be teaching a class of mostly college freshmen starting in a week-and-a-half. They are basically the same kids I was talking to yesterday.

I have to learn pretty quickly to limit my pop culture and current events references to the last 8 to 10 years or so. Thinking about that, and that “incoming college freshman” list that Beloit college puts together every year, I started to think about the local pop culture touch stones for my students. I’m probably missing a lot, but here’s the list off the top of my head.

Get ready to feel old.

13 things inside the mind of a 18 year old Buffalonian

1.) Byron Brown has been mayor for as long as they can remember. He became mayor when they were in fifth grade.

2.) The Bills have never been to the playoffs. They were 3 for Home Run Throwback. Not only do they not know Jim Kelly as a player, they don’t know Doug Flutie. They might not even remember Drew Bledsoe. They were 8 when he left.

3.) Niagara Falls, USA has always had a casino, and never had a mall or festival of lights.

4.) Unless they were on the roads a lot before the age of 11, most probably have no idea that there were once tolls at Ogden and Black Rock on the 190. And they’ve never seen anyone throw quarters into an exact change toll booth.

5.) Bon-Ton has always been Bon-Ton and Macy’s has been Macy’s since they were 10– so maybe they remember Kaufmann’s. They might know the name AM&As, but only because some old person in their family calls Bon-Ton “AM&As” for some reason.

6.) They’ve never been asked “smoking or non?” at a restaurant in New York State. Smoking was banned in restaurants 11 years ago here.

7.) They remember the old days when the Sabres played at “HSBC Arena,” but don’t remember any other names or buildings. The Bills have always played at “Ralph Wilson Stadium,” never Rich.

8.) 103.3 has always been the Edge, 102.5 has always been Star, 104.1 has never been Oldies 104.

9.) They have never seen an Irv Weinstein newscast, but probably don’t remember the Empire Sports Network, either.

10.) There has always been a Tim Hortons on every corner, and they’ve always served sandwiches and/or ice cream.

11.) They’ve always been able to read the Buffalo News online.

12.) There was another Governor Cuomo?

13.) Just about every ride at Darien Lake has always been there.

At the risk of sounding old and cranky, I really do have underwear older than these kids.

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

Everything from 1991 Radio Shack ad I now do with my phone

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Some people like to spend $3 on a cup of coffee. While that sounds like a gamble I probably wouldn’t take, I’ll always like to gamble– especially as little as three bucks– on what I might be able to dig up on Buffalo and Western New York, our collective past, and what it means for our future.

I recently came across a big pile of Buffalo News front sections from 1991, every day for the first three months of the year… collected as the First Gulf War unfolded. $3. I probably could have chiseled the guy down a buck, but I happily paid to see what else was in those papers.

There’s plenty about a run up to the first Superbowl appearance ever for the Bills, and mixed in with the disappointment is an air of hope and expectation for what is to come. Harumph. There are also some great local ads commemorating and/or coat-tailing on the Bills success.

We’ll get to those someday, but today, something much simpler. The back page of the front section on Saturday, February 16, 1991 was 4/5ths covered with a Radio Shack ad.

There are 15 electronic gimzo type items on this page, being sold from America’s Technology Store. 13 of the 15 you now always have in your pocket.

radioshackbnmasthead

radioshackad

So here’s the list of what I’ve replaced with my iPhone.

  • All weather personal stereo, $11.88. I now use my iPhone with an Otter Box
  • AM/FM clock radio, $13.88. iPhone.
  • In-Ear Stereo Phones, $7.88. Came with iPhone.
  • Microthin calculator, $4.88. Swipe up on iPhone.
  • Tandy 1000 TL/3, $1599. I actually owned a Tandy 1000, and I used it for games and word processing. I now do most of both of those things on my phone.
  • VHS Camcorder, $799. iPhone.
  • Mobile Cellular Telephone, $199. Obvs.
  • Mobile CB, $49.95. Ad says “You’ll never drive ‘alone’ again!” iPhone.
  • 20-Memory Speed-Dial phone, $29.95.
  • Deluxe Portable CD Player, $159.95. 80 minutes of music, or 80 hours of music? iPhone.
  • 10-Channel Desktop Scanner, $99.55. I still have a scanner, but I have a scanner app, too. iPhone.
  • Easiest-to-Use Phone Answerer, $49.95. iPhone voicemail.
  • Handheld Cassette Tape Recorder, $29.95. I use the Voice Memo app almost daily.
  • BONUS REPLACEMENT: It’s not an item for sale, but at the bottom of the ad, you’re instructed to ‘check your phone book for the Radio Shack Store nearest you.’  Do you even know how to use a phone book?

You’d have spent $3054.82 in 1991 to buy all the stuff in this ad that you can now do with your phone. That amount is roughly equivalent to about $5100 in 2012 dollars.

The only two items on the page that my phone really can’t replace:

  • Tiny Dual-Superhet Radar Detector, $79.95. But when is the last time you heard the term “fuzzbuster” anyway?
  • 3-Way speaker with massive 15″ Woofer, $149.95.

It’s nothing new, but it’s a great example of the technology of only two decades ago now replaced by the 3.95 ounce bundle of plastic, glass, and processors in our pockets.


This post originally appeared on TrendingBuffalo.com, and was picked up by the Huffington Post. It also filled a segment on NBC’s Today Show, and has served as inspiration and a resource for dozens of print and web articles around the world.

A reflection on Al Roker using my jokes and other things that happened with this post can be read here:  The Anatomy of a Viral Post… Was it Worth It?

Winter Makes Us Who We Are

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Some of us ski, some of us snowmobile, but most of us dislike Buffalo’s winter weather, and have absolutely no use for it at all. Period.

Hertel Avenue, January 6, 2014.
Hertel Avenue, January 6, 2014.

Sure, that first snow fall is cute, and it’s nice to have a little right before Christmas, but that’s it for snow. And the cold is almost entirely useless.

Yet here we are, living in a place where we don’t really like the weather 5 months out of the year, and we wouldn’t leave for anything.

All of us spend from November to April with a dry cough, a low-grade sinus infection, and chapped, cracked hands and lips.

The cold, colorless landscape can wear on our moods. Prolonged cold and snow can wear on our bodies as we clear our driveways and windshields, and can wear on cars as they try to chug through, too. Even our heartless, soulless machines need an occasional jump or a push to get themselves going when it’s like this.

But that’s how winter makes us who we are.

We’re ready with the knowledge of rocking a car– wheels straight– before a gut-busting almighty shove, and standing by with a pair of jumper cables, ready to hook the black cable to some bare metal in the engine block of the car with the dead battery. We don’t have this arcane knowledge just for ourselves, but also to help bring brightness to someone else’s cold, gray day. We don’t even question that it’s everyone’s responsibility to get everyone else out of the ditch and on to where they are going.

If you don’t have jumper cables, maybe you have supply of cough drops, tea bags and tissues your desk drawer. They are ready, of course, for when your month-long almost cold turns the corner to full-blown sick. They are also there, however,  as an apothecary for friends and co-workers, ready to soothe their aches with a little understanding and help get through not only the day, but the howling, frigid winter with which we all grapple.

Maybe after a lifetimes’ worth of clearing the neighborhood’s sidewalks, the next generation is now clearing yours. We all understand that winter is a group effort in Western New York, and that understanding permeates who we are year ’round.

A Buffalo winter is not like a tornado or a hurricane. There’s no hoping and praying that it skips us. We know it’s coming, and we know it’s going to be long, and we know it’s going to be rough at times. But the thing that’s different about a Buffalo winter– is not only how we deal with it, but how we all help each other through it.

People fortunate enough to head south during the winter months know the feeling of having red, chilled cheeks walking on a plane, and sunny warmth on your face as you disembark.

As good as 80 might feel in Miami today, it couldn’t beat a 52 degree day at the end of January, when you walk outside, feel thoroughly warmed, and smile at the neighbor with whom you were shoveling the side walk only a few days earlier.

Sure, it’s only January, and there is more gray, thick winter to come, but our shared experience, our love for our city, and our love for one another, keep us moving in anticipation of when we can change the sound of howling wind for the sounds of birds chirping in the lush green trees, and change the taste of chapstick for the tastes of our favorite ice cream and hot dog stands.

Stay warm.

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

Back to the glory days of 3¢ beer in Buffalo!

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Everyone loves a cheap beer, right?

Buffalo-Beer-wars-Buffalo-photo-Copy-300x211

But 3¢ beer? Now that’s news!

As newspapers around the country struggle, maybe they need to take a page from the 1935 Courier-Express, and report the news the people want– Namely, find the city’s cheapest schupers and kimmelwecks, and print that. Print it everyday.

Buffalo-Beer-wars-Buffalo-N

After reading this, I’ll never pay a nickel for a beer again!

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

Buffalo in the 80s: Bills fans with playoff fever ready for trip to Cleveland

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Hopes were high for the Bills playoff chances in Cleveland as some Buffalonians spent part of the last week of the 1980s lined up for a chance to make the tripn down Lake Erie.

Many Bills fans will look at the smiling faces in the photo below with some measure of pain, remembering Ronnie Harmon’s dropped end zone pass as the end of the Bills’ hopes for that season.

The best, as they say, was yet to come.

from The Buffalo News (Buffalo Stories archives)
from The Buffalo News (Buffalo Stories archives)

Bills fans brave cold for tickets

When 25,000 tickets to the Bills-Browns playoff game in Cleveland went on sale Saturday, Bills fans were lined up to grab seats.

But officials of Ticketron, which is sole distributor for the tickets besides the Browns, said the clash next Saturday in the 80,080-seat Municipal Stadium is not a sellout yet.

As of today, all the $32 and $21 seats, which include the infamous “Dawg Pound” section behind the end zone at the open end of the stadium, have been sold. Some tickets in the $25 and $29 range still are available.

Christmas miracle…

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

It says something about us. I’m not sure what, but I think it’s a tiny bit of proof that we’re not completely done for. That there is some how, some hope for us after all.

norman-rockwell1

“White Christmas” was first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1942, and the recording became the number one hit song for several months that year. The song made GIs fighting overseas during World War II cry thinking of home. It sold so well, that the original master recording became damaged because they copied it so much. Bing and the same crew got together and made a new master recording in 1947. That ’47 version is the one we’re all familiar with.

Bing’s White Christmas remains the best selling song of all-time.

I am an admitted old-soul, nostalgia guy. I like Norman Rockwell and Bing Crosby and “It’s A Wonderful Life.” I also know that generally, I’m in the minority. But somehow, a 66 year old recording has somehow remained unquestionably mainstream.

The song is certainly well presented, and it’s powerful lyrics are open for you to insert your own fuzzy-around-the-edges wishes, desires and memories. And Bing Crosby, media’s first superstar and once the most powerful entertainer in the country, now just sounds like a generic guy who could be anyone’s dad singing. The song remains powerful by tapping into those fragmented memories of a simpler time, when Christmas meant hardly being able to fall asleep the night before, and waking up to wide-eyed wonder.

Girls my age might warmly remember getting a Cabbage Patch doll under the tree in 1983. And while that is a simple, warm memory for her, her mother might remember the near-riot that broke out at Gold Circle when two women started fighting over the last one. That mom might remember getting her Chatty Cathy doll in her stocking. Like so much of our stuff, it’s not the actual thing we hold so fondly, it’s the memories and feelings wrapped up in those things that we hold dear.

We each know that there’s something special, warm, and wonderful about the Christmas spirit. Deep down, we all know that it’s something that we should take with us the rest of the year. Helping people, bringing joy to people, realizing and embracing the true meaning of life.

Even as the 2013 Christmas spirit has become too much about free shipping and removing the remaining humanity from the commercialized part of the holiday– somehow a seven-decades-old recording thrives amidst our “toss-out-the-old” culture, and invites us all to stop for a moment.

The White Christmases we’re dreaming about are generally gone. The care-free feeling and the loved ones who are no longer here can’t be brought back. But hopefully being reminded of something we’ve lost along the way, we can some how try to find some relevance in simplicity, and find a place in our heart and some time for it our calendars in our modern hectic lives.

That song wouldn’t live if we didn’t want it.

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

Anchorman Buffalo Style

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

With Anchorman 2 hitting theatres on December 18th, it’s only fitting that we take a look back at the men and women who wore those styles and looked good on Buffalo TV in the 70s and 80s.

From the Buffalo Stories/staffannouncer.com Archives, here are a handful of delightful photos and screen shots that would make Ron Burgundy proud…

Irv Weinstein, Rick Azar, Don Postles, and Tom Jolls… The wide-tied Eyewitness News team c. 1980.
Irv Weinstein, Rick Azar, Don Postles, and Tom Jolls… The wide-tied Eyewitness News team c. 1980.

John Beard, Allen Costantini, Van Miller, Kevin O’Connell. The hip dudes of Channel 4 in the late 70s.
John Beard, Allen Costantini, Van Miller, Kevin O’Connell. The hip dudes of Channel 4 in the late 70s.

Molly McCoy, Rich Kellman, Ed Kilgore, and Barry Lillis… NewsCenter 2
Molly McCoy, Rich Kellman, Ed Kilgore, and Barry Lillis… NewsCenter 2

Susan Banks, WKBW-TV, c.1980
Susan Banks, WKBW-TV, c.1980

Frank Benny, WGR-TV weather man, mid 70s
Frank Benny, WGR-TV weather man, mid 70s

Maria Genero is one of a vaunted few– She’s worked at 2,4, & 7. She did weather on Channel 4 in the mid 80s.
Maria Genero is one of a vaunted few– She’s worked at 2,4, & 7. She did weather on Channel 4 in the mid 80s.

Here’s beefcake Danny Neaverth in 1973. Aside from mornings on WKBW and later WHTT, Danny did the weather outside on Channel 7’s noon news, and later did weather and hosted “Nearly Noon” on Channel 2.
Here’s beefcake Danny Neaverth in 1973. Aside from mornings on WKBW and later WHTT, Danny did the weather outside on Channel 7’s noon news, and later did weather and hosted “Nearly Noon” on Channel 2.

John Beard and Carol Crissey 1981
John Beard and Carol Crissey 1981

The legendary Ron Hunter, WGR-TV news anchor for several years in the mid 70s. One of the writers of the original Anchorman movie once cited Hunter, who moved on from Buffalo to Chicago, as an inspiration.
The legendary Ron Hunter, WGR-TV news anchor for several years in the mid 70s. One of the writers of the original Anchorman movie once cited Hunter, who moved on from Buffalo to Chicago, as an inspiration.

Wadi Sawabini outside a jewelry store holdup.
Wadi Sawabini outside a jewelry store holdup.

Mike Randall, Eyewitness News
Mike Randall, Eyewitness News

Marie Rice outside the brand new Hilton hotel
Marie Rice outside the brand new Hilton hotel

The mysterious investigative reporter John Pauly at a Buffalo phone booth
The mysterious investigative reporter John Pauly at a Buffalo phone booth

Rich Newberg and an ambulance
Rich Newberg and an ambulance

How does Jacquie Walker look exactly the same? (OK, maybe smaller shoulder pads.)
How does Jacquie Walker look exactly the same? (OK, maybe smaller shoulder pads.)

Irv Weinstein and Don Postles. Engagement photo?
Irv Weinstein and Don Postles. Engagement photo?

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

Just trying to be nice

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

We are in an age where people love to be offended, even when they have no right to be, and it manifests itself in all sorts of strange ways.

Saying “Happy Holidays, ma’am” to this woman could very easily get you stabbed in 2013.
Saying “Happy Holidays, ma’am” to this woman could very easily get you stabbed in 2013.

Certain words and phrases, meant to share warm tidings and respect, are quickly becoming (if they aren’t already) taboo, and it makes my brain want to explode like oatmeal left in the microwave too long.

Specifically two phrases, always offered to convey gladness of heart and civility, seem now to inspire my fists to leap forth in rage against people who would rather take offense than appreciate what is being shared in a simple word or two.

Today, I’m thinking about “Happy Holidays” and “ma’am.”

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

I am a church-going Christian. When I wish you “Happy Holidays,” I have three goals in mind:

1.) I am wishing (praying, actually) that you and your family are touched by the beauty of this season.

2.) Brevity. Depending on the timing, I don’t want to say, “Hey! I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving, a merry Christmas, and a happy new year, and possibly nice Hanukkah, too.” That’s a lot of words. I say “Happy holidays” (even in CHURCH, when I’m wearing MINISTERIAL GARMENTS and stuff) to convey all the goodness of all those things.

3.) Inclusion. On Christmas eve, I’ll wish everyone and anyone a Merry Christmas. I would hope that even people who don’t celebrate Christmas can feel and appreciate the overwhelming beauty in people during holiday, even if that means sitting home and quietly reading or going out for Chinese food because there is nothing else to do.

It’s not a war on Christmas when I wish someone Happy Holidays. “Happy Holidays” is what’s in my heart, and I’m sharing it with you. If someone else wants to start listening to Christmas music on Columbus Day and wishing people a Merry Christmas while they are still raking leaves, they should be allowed to do so. But it’s not for me.

Personally, I think wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” while you still have Thanksgiving leftovers in your fridge is a bit much, especially when you don’t mean it. Worrying about whether a miserable cashier mindlessly grumbles Thank you for shopping at Walmart and doesn’t mean it, or if they grumble happy holidays or Merry Christmas– it doesn’t much matter to me.

Unfortunately, the feeling is usually more “f-you” than whatever the words are meant to convey anyway. Either way, I usually try to smile, and offer some cheer in their day, and say warm words which I truly mean one way or another.

If someone warmly looks me in the eye, and tells me to have a great holiday, I get it, and give it back. Bask in it and share it. Preach the gospel, use words when necessary.

I don’t like that teachers and store clerks and other people aren’t allowed to say Merry Christmas, but I also think living it is more important. And living it involves looking into people’s hearts and leaving some love — not indignation– behind.

Or, if you want to treat people’s however-thinly-inspired attempts at warm tidings disrespectfully, maybe you should go for the throat and just drop an f-bomb on them.

MA’AM

Ma’am is the one that really kills me. I strive to treat everyone with courtesy and respect. Whether you are a 7 year-old female, or a 79 year-old female; whether you are serving me or being served by me, I will address you as “ma’am,” and humbly treat you with the dignity and respect afforded to someone worthy of the title “ma’am.” Too often the response is not respectful in turn.

“Do I look that old?”

“My mother is a ma’am!”

Get over yourself. Like I said, I make no judgement calls. No matter your age, no matter your station in life, you deserve my respect and I pay it to you with a respectful title. I respectfully request that you not scoff in my face when I offer you the respect you deserve, whether you realize it or not.

If you ask me, “Do I look that old,” the answer is probably yes. Some people, myself among them, don’t take compliments well, and I understand that this might somehow be related to that. However, I can’t control that you are no longer 19 and a size whatever, and calling you ma’am seems to underline that in your head.

The truth is, I’d call a 19 year-old in size-whatever ma’am as well. And I (or someone like me) did call you ma’am, you just didn’t hear it because you didn’t care back then what a screwball in a bow tie called you. Now you feel old and you take it out on me. Get over yourself. Learn to appreciate people respecting you for being a human being and a woman. Please. I’d hate to have to turn to the only other generic greeting I have for females, and I fear it would cause much more consternation.

So I guess it’s your choice, ladies. Would you like thank you, ma’am, or ‘s’up, slut? If you’d be offended by “slut,” you should likely be appreciative the opposite, “ma’am.”

Yes, I am pontificating. Yes, I suppose I’m being judgmental and a tad hypocritical, too. But people’s reaction to my intentions really doesn’t change the intention in my heart.

So, I say to everyone reading this, with a warm smile, “Happy Holidays, ma’am,” even if you’re dropping an “f-you, slut” on me.

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com