Monday, August 26, 2013

Magic Erasers.....then again, maybe not.

Just my luck it would end up stuck in my cheek instead of my upper lip.

I looked into it, I'll admit it. There had to be a way to get rid of the tiny vertical lines that appeared, seemingly over night, around my mouth. It looks like I'm a Raggedy Ann doll with the stitches on the outside of the fabric instead of hidden away where they belong.

But I thought the remedy would be like those Magic Erasers sold in stores that ARE magic at getting marks and other annoyances to disappear. Seemed logical to me. The answer, though, was strange and kind of creepy, if you ask me.

It seems that they inject some kind of substance around the mouth that serves as a way of filling up that thin, collagen-thirsty skin. You've seen the results, I know you have. You probably just didn't know why that woman at the grocery store had an upper lip that transformed her into Daffy the Duck.

The skin around her mouth IS smooth as a baby's bottom, that's for sure. But her lips are twice as big as they should be, thus her sudden kinship with Daffy and his family. Sometimes it's just the upper lip, which is even odder in some twisted way.

Celebrities do this all the time, and they keep it up until we don't even recognize who we're looking at anymore. But celebrities actually live on another planet, and we expect them to trade in the bizarre; it's another thing completely, though, when your friendly librarian or hairdresser or workout partner shows up with balloon lips. Are we supposed to say something or is that verboten? What's the etiquette here?

I think this is an area that can be instructional to teenagers, in that it simply proves that humans of any age are  prone to the "It can't happen to me!" syndrome. Some of Daffy's new relatives have witnessed friends and strangers submit to these injections, with sad and crazy results.....yet they still think it won't be their experience when they decide to lay out the big bucks to do the same thing. Somehow they will be immune to the incipient disasters awaiting.

The substance that is injected under the skin to stretch out those horried lines is a plastic that is pliable, too. I'm sorry, but that is just creepy.

Because you know what would happen to ME? During the night I would turn my head the wrong way on the pillow and that plastic would end up under my eye. And my mouth would still looked like a bad seamstress had attacked me.

“It's paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn't appeal to anyone.”
Andy Rooney

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Have you ever walked from one room to the next with a great idea?

I had a great idea for a new addition to this column about the joys of getting older.

Between the time I thought of it and the time I walked to the next room, I forgot what that great idea was.

I'll get back to you.

“Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.”
Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants


Thursday, August 8, 2013

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.....

......and is advertised as a "gambling" cruise, take them at their word.

Believe me.

As I've gotten older, I have become cynical about advertising. In other words, I believe NOTHING. This has proven to be a safe tactic to follow. Usually.

There are exceptions, it seems. I found that out this weekend. We had purchased a "Casino Cruise" and even though we don't gamble, we thought it would be a nice evening on the water and a chance to spend the night out of town. The price included dinner for two, a $5 coupon for some game of chance (which we gave away later), and the cruise. Good deal, huh?

But it WAS a gambling boat. And that was advertising truth. The owners of the business wanted its patrons to do one thing: gamble. After six of the longest hours of my life, we knew that we should have taken them at their word on this one.

I worked in a facility once for delinquent boys. I was a "housemother" (which is terribly funny to me now, but that's a story for another day) who lived in a big house with about 10 boys who were....well, the name says it all, right? And we ate in a cafeteria, so I didn't have to cook for them. Serving as target practice for thrown furniture was bad enough.

When we herded the boys through the line to get our "food," it was often unrecognizable. The "dinner" we had on this boat was reminscent of those good times. The chopped steak was gray, the ham was overcooked, and the mixed veggies swam in a green liquid. The "chef" plopped a scoop of mashed potatoes on our plates and then swirled a brown gelatinous semi-pudding gravy over them. At least he had the good grace not to smile as he moved us through the line.

One of the worst meals of my life. Bar none. Plus they wouldn't serve alcohol during the meal. THAT was only available in.....the casino, of course! While we ate this delectable cuisine, Santa Claus serenaded us on his karaoke machine. Of course, that wasn't his real name, but it was hard not to make comparisons with the full white beard, suspenders, and jolly tummy. He did have a good voice, though, and there was even a dance floor. AHA! we thought. We had found our hang out during the rest of the cruise. We would return there later and enjoy the music and dance, which is all I need in life to keep me happy. Then later we can return to the open-air deck and relax in deck chairs under the stars. Who needs gambling? Our plans were laid.

The boat left dock while we were eating, and we soon went up to that open-air deck to find three metal picnic-type tables with combined hard bench "seating" for about nine people, if you squished together real tight with seven people you didn't know, five of them (at least) smoking. Not a deck chair--or anything with a back on it at all--in sight. The deck below us, with a smaller observation area had no chairs or benches at all. So, we stood there as the boat chugged out to the three mile limit and then it began circling. Downstairs the casinos opened for business.

People raced down the steep metal stairs to one of two complete decks devoted to gambling. Everything from poker to routlette, plus those noisy slot machines. Folks found their game of choice and hunkered down for the duration.

And everything else on the boat shut down. Everything. We returned to the dining hall to listen to Santa and found him sitting in a corner; the music on this evening of fun stops when the casinos open for business and it stays quiet until time to return to the dock, some four and a half hours later. Plus, they lowered the thermostat in the dining hall to tundra temperatures to discourage "visitors." There were more comfortable chairs in this area, but we hadn't brought our down jackets in August; who knew? And there was nothing to do in there anyway. (We had considered bringing our own deck of cards on board to play rummy, but thought managment might not take kindly to that, so we left the cards behind. Mistake.)

In order to find a restroom (which had no soap in it all evening) or get a drink, you had to walk through......the casino.....where everyone in sight was smoking. Everyone. I haven't seen so many cigarettes alight in one place for decades. It's been three days, and I can still smell it somehow. My clothes had to be burned upon docking. Within 24 hours I developed a head cold, probably due to all those bodies crammed in one space for so long, the lack of soap, and a boat that isn't kept very clean to begin with.

So, if it advertises itself as a gambling cruise, believe it. If it quacks and walks like a duck, don't pretend you can transform it into a swan.

"Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket."
George Orwell