Illustration by Jose Santana Firpo

Long Story Short: What a Drag It Is Getting Old

I’m melting. And it’s not a precious trickle like Olaf in the movie Frozen. It’s more severe—downright heinous—like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy doused her with a bucket of water. Only those of a certain age can recall the pure terror that the green witch (and the flying monkeys) inflicted upon the young and impressionable before cable TV swooped in with more channels and options. Already physically ugly beyond measure, the Wicked Witch of the West screamed and cursed Dorothy (in a G-rated sort of way) while she melted onto the floor.

That’s what’s happening here.

I first noticed the thaw around my eyelids, when my eyeshadow started forming clumps at a crease gone soft. Then it hit my cheeks, and the former glacier peak of my cheekbones disintegrated into an avalanche of jowls that are now rivaling the length of my chin. But we all know that it is a true global warming crisis when the melt makes its way to the neck area. There is no amount of pulling back at the folds of the neck in the mirror to adequately reverse the effect of an ice melt. This is one of the signs of the end times. There is nothing left to do but get your affairs in order and make peace with God.

Yes, I’m well aware that there are other options—but I’m not quite ready for a face lift, or the take-it-too-far injections of Hollywood. If I showed up at a girls’ dinner (should I say women’s?) with overinflated lips, slick skin and cheekbones touching my lower eyelashes, there would be an intervention by my tribe. And thank goodness. I’m all for the betterment of oneself. However, I know my personality—highly addictive—and I wouldn’t stop at the basic treatments. I. Would. Go. All. The. Way. And I would later be crying ugly tears down a plastic-perfect face and lamenting my disdain for my former, crinkly turkey neck.

What a drag it is getting old.

I recently went to my son’s dorm and the attendant would not let me upstairs. I explained later to my friends that I was wearing my professional work attire, which was a dead giveaway that I was not a college student. One friend guffawed, then quipped, “They wouldn’t let you upstairs because you were in heels? Or maybe because you’re old.” Until that moment, I was absolutely sure that had I been in running shorts and a T-shirt I
would have been able to slip, undetected, into
the dorm elevator. But of course, upon reflec-tion, I realize my melting face was a red flag.

And let’s not be cute. The melting doesn’t stop at the neckline. The face is just the first piece of evidence of global warming that is presented upon seeing someone. One peek below the surface—please don’t—and one will be forced to admit that the thaw is happening all the way down. And I mean all the way. Even my formerly perky rear is now practically slung to the backs of my knees. And don’t look at my knees! Are there body lift options, anyone?

I don’t aspire to be a Kardashian and I have no intention of living as long as Betty White. A nice, healthy lifespan will do me just fine. But it would be nice to end this season on the Earth with skin that wasn’t slack and bones that didn’t creak, then break. How lovely to perhaps age backwards like Benjamin Button or at least press the pause button and stop aging at our best point. How I wish I could go back to a younger version of myself and scream, “It’s only downhill from here. Literally, you are melting!” But alas, I can only do that to my present-day self because the melting will continue. All I can do is get my affairs in order and make peace with God. Cue the flying monkeys.