“Dang it,” said my sister* crossly, “I HATE flabby earlobes.”

I looked up in mild surprise. “Flabby what?”

“Earlobes. You know how your earlobes get all flabby when you get older? Like empty, saggy bags that you could roll up and pin out of the way?”

“Nope,” I said, a tad indignantly, “I haven’t noticed anything like that!”

“May I remind you that you’re six years older than me?”


“Well, you are,” she said triumphantly, “And the cartilage in your ears is disappearing and your skin is getting all flaccid and stretched out like an old rubber band and that’s why if you try to put earrings into the holes in your ears you’ll have to thread them through all the extra skin which takes forever and you wind up poking the posts into the wrong places and it’s just a general pain. And yours are probably a lot worse than mine.”

Sometimes I wonder why sisters were invented.

And while I’m at it, ditto for all those other people who gleefully remind you that–in case you haven’t noticed–your body is slowly but surely falling apart from sheer antiquity. I found a hair on my chin, mentioned it to a friend who assured me that this was only the beginning.

“You’re losing estrogen and all sorts of other female hormones as you get older, which means that you’re essentially becoming a man and growing a beard,” she blurbled happily, “In a few years you’ll probably need to shave.”

Gee, thanks.

My doctor suggested that I’d start seeing swollen ankles and such soon, “because as we age the veins in our legs lose their flexibility and stop pumping fluids back upstream so well” (or something like that).

As WE age? The doc was all of twelve years old but said “as WE age” three times in a 30-minute appointment. “And as WE age our hearing drops in the upper and lower ranges, so we’ll want to check that. And we should probably check to see how close you are to menopause because as WE age…”

And I thought the only thing I had to worry about was wrinkles. Which I fortunately don’t have. Yet.

Markie the hairstylist helpfully pointed out that my bald spot was growing. “WHAT bald spot?” I asked, horrified.

“The one on the top of your head, in back,” she pointed out, “It happens to everyone as they get old. You probably can’t see it because you’re so short.”

(Uhm…well, at least I know of one hairstylist who is gonna beat me in the race to senility.)

I dunno, just seems like in the last few weeks the world’s done its level best to remind me that I’m seriously over the hill. “And the makeup counter lady was all, ‘When our eyes reach that certain age they become, um, hooded as the eyelids sag…” I complained to my mom, “I mean, she made me feel like I should wrinkle up and die, right there.”

“You are 22 years younger than me,” Mom said darkly, “So don’t expect a lot of sympathy.”

I think this is where I’m supposed to stop worrying about being as young as I feel and start bragging about lasting this long. Where I take up my three-pronged walker, raise my hairy chin(s), bald pate, saggy arms and breasts and, well, pretty much saggy everything else with pride, tear off my trifocals and scream “I’m old as hell and I’m not gonna moisturize anymore!”

Or something.

*”Dang it?” Uhm, my sister’s speaking style is admittedly a bit less pungent than my own. I mentioned this to a colleague, who snorted. “A BIT less? Sweetie, you could give lessons to a Gloucester fisherman who’s just stubbed his toe knocking over the only full glass of beer for a thousand miles.” I’m soooooo grateful for supportive friends given to colorful metaphor.