Friday, September 20, 2013

Sleeping with one eye open!

When do freckles become age spots? 

These innocent points of pigment used to be cute.  Now, they’re just another element in the conspiracy.   

As best as I can determine – and I have studied the phenomenon – freckles convert to “dark spots,” – the current euphemism for what my grandma called “liver spots,” –
Ew! – at roughly the point when a person looks away.  For an instant.   

That fleeting lapse in attention allows spider webs to convert into cob webs and freckles to go bad. 

It’s that pause between perfect teenage skin, with its concomitant arrogance, and old age.   

You know, that blink of the unsuspecting eye when you’re living your life, somewhere in between flagrantly sunning in a bikini in your backyard kiddie pool and frantically slathering sunscreen on your extremities before dashing from awning to awning if you should happen to find yourself outdoors in daylight. 

It’s that moment when a person wakes to find the Louisiana Purchase mapped out on her fanny. 

It’s that fateful flash when you glance at your reflection in the mirror and say, “Holy Lewis and Clark!”  And you vow not to look again tomorrow because it’s a sure bet that Western Expansion is on “the horizon,” if you know what I mean.  

Recently, a dermatologist, responding to my worries over what seemed to me to be an especially aggressive freckle, a freckle that woke in the wee hours of the night and annexed new territory at will, Attila the freckle, the freckle that ate Manhattan…   

I pointed this thing out to my dermatologist you see, with my head turned slightly away.   I thought she would don her welder’s mask and hazardous waste gear and scorch me with her freezing hot laser wand.   

Instead, she brushed her forefinger across it casually and said with a sinister smile, “Oh, no!  These ‘wisdom spots’ are nothing.  We all get them – eventually.” 

OK.  Two components of that dismissal require attention.   

First, let me just say that the startling transformation from a charming splash of speckles like a reverse image of stars in the night sky to a map of Texas on the back of my leg isn’t nothing!     

My heretofore darling flecks of color, my trademarks, my Opies are turning against me I tell you!  They’re organizing!  They’re forming ranks!  That is not nothing.  It’s something. 

And “wisdom spots”?  Puh - lease.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I haven’t seen that much blatant condescension since our son was a teenager. 

And that’s right Sweetie.  That’s right.  We all get them and your eventuality is closer than you think!  You’re looking the other way right now, I’ll bet.  You’re living your life with your flawless skin and your medical degree and your… 

Oh all right.  She made me mad.  When did my innate good humor morph into to cantankerousness?  Why I’m known for my sunny disposition!   

I used to get compliments on my smile until I discovered that all these years I’ve been YELLOWING! 

What’s next?  Enlarged ears?  Unruly nose hairs??!   

Note to self:  Never ask what’s next.  There’s always something next.  We’re all in line in a vast deli whose menu includes cataracts and four-footed walking canes.   

And our numbers are coming up. 

And so what?  What’s a person to do with this new evidence of treachery?  Just add it to the list! 

Check it off the roster of insults advancing in the night:  You go to sleep a young person and wake up with a crow’s foot.  Then it’s a laugh line.  And suddenly you look like some nut who’s been seized with fits of hilarity over a lifetime spent in a padded room. 

Maybe you’re one of those philosophical types who waves it all off as signs of character.  Life’s lessons.  Sagacity.  Indeed. 

But not me!  I’m not going to chuckle and pat Old Age on the back like an eccentric aunt who made a faux pas at the dinner table.   

No.  I’m bleaching my teeth until I look like Bob Barker.  I’m buying a vat of vanishing cream and I’ll sit in it ‘til I’m all pruned up.   


I see how it is.  Coming and going.  Chinese finger trap.   

I feel so much better now.  Thank you.