Humor Non-Fiction posted March 8, 2020

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Aging Gracelessly

by Elizabeth Emerald

Eighteen years ago, when I was 45, I penned some demoralizing thoughts on the "March of Time," in particular, how it pertains to the "Aging Process." If you’ll be so kind as to indulge my reminiscences, I shall strive to convey the subtle nuance of those morbid musings.
Here’s the gist: It sucks getting old and looking it—and, accordingly, getting over-looked.
As for the details: I had crafted what I cringe to call a “trilogy” given that since each of the parts, albeit sub-titled, was a half-page paragraph. The first of the segments was about my once-adoring (and very near-sighted) husband deeming me “belle-of-the ball” (or, better, so-to-speak, as per this century: “babe-of-the-barroom”). I knew the day would come when he no longer thought of me so—but, as it turned out, we divorced before that day came (he’d become utterly un-adoring; perversely, he still saw me as “hot”).
That was fifteen years ago. I am absolutely not-so-hot, believe me, but in a relative sense some purportedly so perceive me—simply because I’m dressed up, slimmed down, and fifteen years younger than the rest of them. On the other hand, younger people often approach me to inquire about my age. They do so because it is obvious, given my maraschino bob and ‘tween-age-awesome attire, that I am way too old to dress as I do: They are merely wondering just how too-old I am. Plenty-something: Double-nickels-plus-plus? Sixty-and-not-so-small-change?
Friday, at the dance, Chris and Eileen told me, twice each, that I looked beautiful. They’ve said so before; they’ll say so again. No mystery there—I wear glamorous gowns, unlike anybody else in the place. But behind the sequined curtain in Emerald City stands a simple someone, with sagging somethings (we all know what things).
Gravity bites.
Alas, this flippant fool feels her forced funnies fell flat. Segue—a bit less alliteratively—to the sober side of this so so sorry subject.
Once upon a time, my friend Donna forwarded me email that she’d got from an acquaintance, Mary, blasting Diane Keaton for daring to look “so old.”
That was 22 years ago, when Diane Keaton was 51. As was Mary. Miffed that Diane was refusing to join Team Make-believe-we’re-really-not-so-old, Mary railed in particular about Diane’s “ugly hands.”

Here’s what Diane had to say on the subject, 20 years later, at 71: (explaining why she declines to partake of plastic surgery)…My feeling is that everybody has their hands and their hands are always at the face, so if the hands don’t match the face it’s a little weird. My hands are the hands of the age I am. They’ve been through a lot and they look like it.

Good for her. Mary owes Diane a big touché.
If I ran into Mary today, I wouldn’t recognize her. I don’t mean that as a snide remark about her looking “so old.” The reason I wouldn’t recognize Mary is that I’d seen her only three times, in passing. Our tenuous connection was through Donna. Who told me back then that Mary had disliked me at first, second, and third sight. Why? Merely because I dared to be ten years younger than her.
Which makes me, at 63, twelve years older than was Mary when she bemoaned the hands of Diane the betrayer. Diane, who had the audacity to forgo the fantasy game. The famous Diane—who should be setting the trend in “let’s pretend” —refused to play. The absolute gall!  Diane of all people, should pave us the way out of senior city by slashing her age in two. So that we of her cohort can delude ourselves that we too look 35.
Stubbornly wrinkled Diane—with her Annie Hall-mark la-de-dah—just lolls about, growing increasingly creased by the day. Just lazes around, allowing her cheeks to go jowling. Not lifting even half a face in our behalf.  How dare she! When, after all, there is work—much, much work—to be done.



Thanks to cleo85 for the artwork: Love Dies in the Face of War. Apr 25, 2017
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by cleo85 at

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