by Karen Morgan
I’m proud to say that I’m 50 years old. I’m not one of those gals who’s afraid to tell her real age. I like to kick, stretch aaaand kick! I’m 50!
— Sally O’Malley
I turned 50 this year. Ironically, so did Sally O’Malley’s creator, the talented Molly Shannon. There is something about the half-century mark that makes people take note of where they are in life. In my 30s and 40s, I had imagined myself at 50 dressed like Sally O’Malley, in a red velour track suit hiked up in my hoohoo, carrying a huge leopard-print pocketbook and not giving a rat’s ass what I looked like or what anybody thought. I’m proud to report that when the big 5-0 finally came, my outlook was the same as Sally’s, but I wasn’t wearing the red velour hoohoo pants.
Back in February, having recently entered my fifth decade on this planet, I made a trip to Target, in South Portland. It had snowed the night before, and the shopping carts were filled with melted snow (also called water) because they’d been left outside during the storm. Target is usually very good about putting out towels so customers can dry their carts before shopping. But on this particular occasion, there were no towels to be found.
I saw a Target employee, dressed in a red polo shirt, standing near the wet carts. Her nametag said “Amanda” or “Ashley” or [insert millennial generation name of your choice here].
I said to Amanda/Ashley, “Excuse me, where are the towels that are usually here to wipe out the carts?”
“Oh, they’re still wet from last night,” she answered, examining the back of her nails.
“But it’s two o’clock in the afternoon,” I replied.
“I know,” she said brightly, “it’s almost time for my break!”
“But these carts are soaking wet,” I told her. “How am I supposed to shop? Everything will get wet.”
Clearly annoyed by the lady interrupting her two o’clock texting break, Amanda/Ashley said, “There are some paper towels in the bathroom. You could go in there and wipe out the cart.”
That’s when Age 50 kicked in.
My 30-year-old self would have gone in that Target bathroom and gotten paper towels to wipe out the cart. My 40-year-old self would have called Amanda/Ashley’s manager over, and we would have had a big discussion in the front of the store about how customer service works. But my 50-year-old self is much wiser and has less time to waste.
So I thanked Amanda/Ashley for her assistance and took my wet shopping cart with me — directly to the first clothing section I saw. Then I proceeded to line the bottom and sides of the cart with absorbent, little boys’ t-shirts, soaking up all the melted snow.
I shopped for about an hour and a half, going way off the rails from my original shopping list of toothpaste, shampoo and socks (Hey, it is still Target). When I got to the checkout line, I put my items on the conveyor belt. Upon reaching the bottom of the cart, I held up the t-shirts and told the clerk, “You know what? I don’t want these. They’re wet. Maybe you can have Amanda/Ashley hang them up to dry when she gets off break.” Then my 50-year-old self left Target and went home, satisfied with the events of the day.
Kick, stretch and kick! Rock on, Sally O’Malley.
Comedian Karen Morgan lives in Cumberland. She and her husband are the proprietors of Captain Sam’s, an ice cream shop on Commercial Street in Portland. She really does buy local (most of the time). For more info, visit karencomedy.com.