In disguise


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 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.

31 thoughts on “In disguise

  1. Back in the days when one had to “go down” to the phone company to arrange for a telephone to be installed, I went down. The waiting area was FULL of people, the air conditioning was broken (if existant at all), one feeble fan was pushing the heat around so we all got a share….and we WAITED and WAITED…. One woman was attempting to amuse her young son by jingling her keys for him, and we WAITED…. Maybe everyone who worked there had gone to lunch?…. Finally the little boy had had enough: He threw himself onto the floor and proceeded to scream “I WANT TO GO H-O-O-O-OME!” We adults all looked at each other. The message being passed eye to eye was: “If only we dared join him!” And I’ll bet I wasn’t the only one who almost did.

  2. This made me smile, I swear to Dog…(I am also half-dyslexic). I get in wild rhyming moods sometimes and I cannot make myself stop…then I will write a bad poem and be over it for a day or two.

  3. I love seeing signs that I read much differently than everyone else. “Lots for sale”, for instance means that they must have recently received a large shipment of whatever it is being sold.
    I am relieved to know that I am not the only one out there who sees this side of things.

  4. MT Packaging — I love it! My all-time favorite unintentionally funny sign is this one from my college library: “Abstract tables are for abstract users only”.

  5. I have the same issue with my self – the outside is much more mature than the inside. I used to think that something was wrong with me. Now, the older I get, the gladder I am to be that way. Mostly 😉

  6. I don’t know why but when I read this I remembered that there was a much photographed brass plate outside the offices of an Irish firm of solicitors (attorneys) called Argue and Phipps – I am not sure if the firm is still in existence.

  7. Wouldn’t you know it. As if being confused a few days back when my computer replaced every comma in an entire post with ” #6%/a(7″ wasn’t enough. Now I missed the MT reference. I thought it was a subtle jab at one of our currently not-so-subtle running candidates. Yikes. Having another brain infarction here.

  8. I always imagine an ‘i’ in the space of a ‘to let’ sign…
    My favourite sign though is for a company called LSD Skips. Not sure if you have skips in the US, but the company provides large waste containers. However, it always makes me think of the UK brand of snack food, prawn cocktail flavour skips, only in a new and illegal flavour… 🙂

    I don’t so much mind the disguise, the odd wrinkle or grey hair doesn’t bother me. But I recently found my eyes can no longer focus on close things and that did upset me a bit.

    I don’t get why MT is funny? Is it an American thing?

  9. I like both of your examples. LSD skips would cause some very high skipping, indeed.

    The body has an annoying habit of failing us as we grow older. I suppose it thinks we’ll be more forgiving because it was so good to us when we were young. At least most of us.

    The MT is funny to me because the containers it sells are empty = MT.

  10. This post *and* all of the following comments made me grin. Yes, like a little kid. But with a crumbly face, as in when my little sister said to our grandma many years ago, “Granny, how come your face is all crumbly?” Maturity is for the suckers who bought it thinking it was real. I’d rather suck on some of the chocolate medicine, thank you very much.

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