Something odd has been happening to me lately.
It doesn't happen every day, but it happens often enough.
And, who knows, maybe it isn't happening just to me.
Maybe it's rampant, almost like a virus, but no one else wants to talk about it.
And if so, I can see why, because it is kind of embarrassing.
Or maybe it's not a viral thing.
Maybe it's something that's almost as bad.
Specifically, a conspiracy.
A customer-service conspiracy.
Because I keep noticing that more and more, if I go to a restaurant or coffee shop, if a woman waits on me -- and it doesn't matter whether she's a table-side server or behind a counter -- she spews an epithet at me.
An epithet that, I will admit, has been applied to me before.
But in the far distant past.
Like when I was a little kid.
It's something that nobody has regularly called me in years.
It's a five-letter word.
What's even more disconcerting is that many of the women who call me this are young enough to be my kids.
Or (big sigh) grandkids.
I remember a "Mary Tyler Moore Show" episode in which Rhoda was taken aback when a younger woman who was waiting on her called her "Ma'am."
So I wonder:
Is "Honey" the male "Ma'am"?
Of course, my gray hairs may have something to do with this.
OK, OK, maybe more than something.
Although I'm not quite 60, perhaps I'm perceived as a helpless older guy who is still (thank God) a few bricks shy of "doddering."
If I am perceived this way, I suppose there's nothing I can do about it
So I suppose that the next time some sweet or semi-sweet young thing calls me "honey" or "hon," I'll take it in stride.
As long as she remembers to give me the senior discount.