Monday, November 3, 2014


Don't bother. You can't fight it.
I don’t know about you, but I’m fully aware I’m getting older. No hints are necessary -- not the offers for life insurance in the mail, or for discount meds in my spam folder. But even though I feel a decade younger than my real age, life insists on whispering into my ear, “You’re not fooling anybody, bub.”

A few weeks back, I was trying on a jacket in a clothing store that featured one of those funhouse-type mirrors allowing reflections from almost every angle simultaneously. I was momentarily stunned, believing I had accidentally stepped into a meeting of Geezers Anonymous.

What made it worse was the hideously unflattering lighting. I suppose it’s so you know how you’d look even in the worst of circumstances, but all I got out of it was wondering was how low my chin could get before it started brushing up against my Adam’s apple. 

Then there's the junk mail from private institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, asking for a “generous” donation upon my demise. Call me old-fashioned, but when did it become acceptable to shoehorn yourself into a stranger's will? As it stands now, I have just about enough for my wife and daughter to purchase a couple of fancy cars, with a little left over for two round-trip tickets to Seattle -- first-class! The Met has plenty deep-pocketed supporters to keep them floating in Cubism and fashion displays for the next thousand years (thank you, Koch Brothers!).

Even a simple haircut holds the promise of a gratuitous elbow in the ribs. One recent holiday season, the barber, in a vain attempt to start a conversation, asked me, "So, are the kids coming home for Christmas?" My daughter was a junior in high school at the time.

The sad thing is, he's got more hair
on his head than I do.
Ever since then, the barbershop has become my go-to place for unwitting insults. At first, it was the guy asking if I wanted my eyebrows trimmed, as if he were working on a hedgerow. (Of course I said yes.) Once he started getting used to that, he took it upon himself to run the clippers on the edge of my ears. Next time, he not only went inside my ears, he made a side-trip into my nostrils. Last week, a woman -- the first time I'd seen her there -- took it a step further and ran the clippers across my forehead

What made that last event even more humiliating was confiding in my wife. She studied me a moment before saying, "You know, you do look cleaner." It's getting to the point where the hair on my head is secondary. Maybe I should go for a Brazilian wax between my hairline and chin and be done with it.

"Next time, I'm buying loafers!"
But at least those things cause only emotional pain -- unlike drastic weather changes. Whenever the jolly meteorologist warns of an approaching low pressure system, I make sure to cancel all upcoming events from my planning calendar. For the next 24 to 48 hours, I'm going to be the three dwarfs that Snow White never met: Dizzy, Achy and Queasy. All I have to do is bend over to tie my shoes or turn my head a little too quickly, and I'm recreating the hanging-from-the-rooftop scene in Vertigo. If it were up to me, I'd pack a lifetime's supply of Voss bottled water and sunblock with a PSF of 125, and move to Death Valley. 

But first, I'd have the post office forward those letters from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to my current neighbor. He's looking pretty old, if you ask me.


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