Thursday, October 6, 2011

Is Time Running Out for the Beautiful People?

Here’s the beginning of our ignominious end - NBC News anchor Brian Williams teased viewers this week with the headline of an ominous lead story coming up on the nightly news:  certain hip replacements are failing and will have to come out. 

Easy for him to say.  Seems thousands of bionic men and women now face the daunting prospect of enduring a double surgical procedure to remove and replace their…replacements. 

So what’s next for Jane Fonda and all the rest of us boomers who’ve succumbed to deteriorating joints and metal-on-metal replacements for our ailing bones?  Jane’s a perfect representative of the post-boom phenomenon.  She’s had knee and hip replacement along with back surgery.  She’s 72, healthy, and looking great.  But that may be more aptly attributed to her cosmetic surgery.  She’s owned up to having the bags under her eyes deflated.  

What if all manner of high-tech enhancements developed and implanted over decades of the boomers’ era turn out to have a shelf life, as it were?  What if it’s not just Jane Fonda’s hip and knee replacements that will need recycling?  What about her baggy eyes? 

More than a few folks have had similar elective procedures.  Sure they’re non-essential and totally vain.  But are they susceptible to the ticking clock, too?  Are we approaching the Y2K of the self-conscious aging elite? 

If we don’t get this under control, we could wake up to the luddites’ nightmare:  All our technology turns on us, rebelling in the most unfortunate and unattractive ways. 

Remember Eddie Murphy in the remake of “The Nutty Professor”?  He had what we all want – a magic elixir – one sip and voila!  Thin!  Sexy!  Funny!  But of course, no Fountain of Fitness can exist in the real world. 

Murphy’s Professor Clump, as his newly svelte alter ego Buddy Love, seized the opportunity to pursue the girl of his dreams, the one his flabby, unfortunate self could not hope to impress.  But alas, in a crucial, public moment, just like Jane’s time-sensitive hip, Buddy’s potion breaks down.  Before our eyes, the professor bulges back to his prodigious former self, body part by gelatinous body part. 

Given the impending expiration of our man-made yet mortal appendages and restitutions, we could find ourselves in the same discomfiting circumstance. 

What if nose jobs expired, for example?  Right in the middle of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” Kim’s pretty proboscis might just revert to its original, lumpy form.  A whole new kind of reality could present itself if the Plastic Surgeons of America sent a recall notice for the scaffolding underpinning Bruce Jenner's face work.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Imagine all the serene conversations in Hollywood bistros and suburban country clubs when, out of nowhere, a timer goes off and dozens of lifted foreheads advance to their rightful, age-appropriate positions, coming to rest somewhere in the neighborhood of one’s delicately plucked eyebrows.  In Washington, Nancy Pelosi would blink, giving Republicans in Congress false hope of victory. 

Why, those eyebrows themselves would travel into real estate appropriated by tacked-wide-open eyes, creating uninvited squints even in the shade of Carrera sunglasses. 

What if Botox … oh, never mind.  It does expire.  We know already that.  The wax melts and you’ve gotta keep getting shot up if you want to maintain that expressionless guise of indifference. 

Otherwise, Joan Rivers might disappear altogether. 

Hair transplants!  That would be hilarious!  What if those perfect plugs just unplugged, on cue, like so many spontaneous champagne corks, no matter where the “plug-ee” might find himself?  Like an electrified porcupine coming undone on the fairway, or the boardroom!   

In an apocalyptic scenario, voluptuous lips would shrink back to their original, severe Frau Bluchers.  Silicon breasts would collapse leaving folds of skin and yards of unfilled fabric limp in their wake.  All those pinned-back ears would once again flap free. 

Reminiscent of the cages being flung open at the zoo, all God’s creatures would run in gleeful abandon, returning to their natural states. OK, maybe not gleeful. 

I decline to reveal where I might wind up in such a scenario.  Parts of me could be susceptible to the fall of the empire, shall we say?  But which parts and where they’ll land remains a confidential, eyes only, need-to-know Top Secret.   

Suffice it to say that I keep the joints greased with glucosamine and the clocks wound tight.  Vigilant.  Ever vigilant.