• The Aging Game

    October 19th, 2012TroubleEnsuedStreams of Consciousness

    “What is that giant pimple doing right in the middle of my forehead?” I thought as I stared in the mirror without my glasses on.

    Yep. That’s what I was thinking…just before I looked into the 10x magnifying mirror and realized it wasn’t a zit at all. It was the mother of all age spots. Suddenly my tune changed, and I was really wishing it was a zit…or insect bite…or leprosy…or anything except an age spot.

    And that’s when it hit me that this is becoming a sad pattern of mine. Lately, I’ve been rooting for all my annoyances to be some sort of illness or disease, instead of letting them just be old age.

    You think I’m kidding? Take for example the white spots that started popping up on my legs. I went to the dermatologist actually hoping that it was Tinea Versicolor, a moderately creepy fungal disease.  I sat on the examining table, bright-eyed and full of hope that I was tragically infected with fungus.  Yet my dear dermatologist (who apparently moonlights as a standup at The Comedy Store), laughed and snappily delivered the one-liner:

    “Nope.  Old Age.”

    Cute.  All she needed was a rim shot.  Bad-um ching!  Disease 0, Old Age 1.

    But sometimes this disease concept works in my favor.  For instance, I’ve been really bothered by the wrinkles on my neck. Really bothered.  Katherine-Hepburn-wearing-turtlenecks bothered.  Granted the exact same wrinkles have been prominent on my neck since my first grade school photo.  I was cute as a button in first grade, but my neck looked 50. Now my neck still looks 50, but the rest of me is not exactly looking “button-ey” anymore.  So now it just looks like garden-variety “old age” neck.

     

    Artist’s rendering

     

    Anyway, I digress.  Let’s just establish that I had recently decided to go on a campaign against my middle-aged neck.  And like magic, within a few months of my new resolve, the wrinkles started going away.  At first I actually thought that it was the new miracle cream I had bought…at the drugstore…for $10. (Yeah, I know, what were the odds?  Shut up.)

    But the wrinkles really were going away!!  I was so excited that I had stumbled on the Fountain of Youth. But alas, the water in my particular Fountain of Youth was ice cold…because when I went in for my annual physical, the doctor said it was a enlarged thyroid.

    Beautiful.  Disease 1, Old Age 1.

    But now I have a decision to make.  Do I actually want my thyroid to shrink?  Won’t the wrinkles come back?  I’ll look just like I did when I was 6!  (Wait.  That really didn’t sound as awful as I intended it to.)  But the point is that once again, I find myself rooting for an illness or disease.

    So if you see me in the near future, and you think to yourself that my neck looks Photoshopped…don’t bother asking me what I decided to do about my thyroid condition. Just give me a hug, and let me live in denial.  (And don’t worry as we hug…the spots that have now moved onto my arms, *still* are not a fungus.)

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