My body is serious about getting old. Each day it tries a little harder to sag or wrinkle, and I have to say, it’s doing a very good job. The “me” inside the body tried getting older once, tried to be suave and debonair, but it didn’t work. Say the word “suave” and I see shampoo and thighs (both are “proven to volumnize”); say the word “debonair” and I visualize air freshener: Does your home smell naïve? Try Debonair! It’s the smell of sophistication.
Not that I can’t be serious; it’s just that I can’t be serious for long periods of time.
The other day I was in the car listening to WPR (Wisconsin Public Radio) as former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold unbuckled the truth about what is happening inside the Washington Beltway. When I stopped at a light, I noticed the car in front of me had a license plate from Iowa. I forgot all about politics because I suddenly wanted to flag the man over to ask him his last name. Let it be Lott, I thought. If not, I’ve got to stop this internal rhyming and move to Iowa, change my last name to Lott, and have people call me Iowa Lott. As I turned the corner ,I saw a sign at the gas station that said, “Pay Inside.” I envisioned myself buying gas, going inside, and yapping. Then I would point to the word “Pay” on the sign and say, “I’m half-dyslexic.”
Russ was still talking sensibly when I got back, and I made it safely home without pulling anyone over or yapping inside of the gas station.
Pretending to be a grownup is a tiresome, but necessary business. If I said and did the things my fifth-grade self would like to say and do, I would be institutionalized. That’s why it’s hard to fault my body for its relentless determination to grow old. It’s the perfect disguise.
‡Spray bottle photo borrowed from http://www.mt-packaging.com/and slightly altered by yearstricken, who loves a company with a sense of humor. They sell packaging, like empty cans to put your spray in, and their name is MT.