HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Happy Saturday! I noticed the other day that my ankle was puffy. (I promise this has a point.) So I looked up “puffy ankle” (in Web MD, as usual) to see if it was maybe malaria or dengue fever or something horrible that hasn't been discovered yet. Turns out, in all likelihood, it has to do with, um, getting old.
Really? A puffy ANKLE? Are you KIDDING ME? It went away, but I fear that...well, we shall see.
Anyway, I am delighted to tell you I am not alone in the REALLY? Are you kidding me? neck of the woods. My dear pal Laura DiSilverio (who is much younger than I am, just saying) has been thinking along the same lines.
Those lines being, sadly, in her face.
Wanna talk about this? And, just because it might help--wanna take a QUIZ???
LAURA DISILVERIO: Hello to everyone in Jungle Red land, and thanks to the brilliant Reds for inviting me back. Or course, I’m here in part to publicize the release of ALL SALES FATAL, the second in my Mall Cop Mystery series, but I’ve got something else to talk about, too, so let’s stipulate that ASF is funny, engaging, and a great read, and that you’re going to pre-order it at once, and move on. (You can read more about ASF at the end of this post, if interested.)
What I really want to discuss today, and get your thoughts on, is aging. More specifically, aging gracefully. I’m coming up on the big five-oh and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing “graceful” about the way I’m doing it. Hallie’s sister Nora wrote a hysterically funny collection of essays on the subject, I Feel Bad about My Neck, and I’ll admit those essays resonate more now than they did when I first read the book.
I feel okay about my neck, but I think it’s grossly unfair that I’ve been re-afflicted with acne as my hormones go menopausal. Wrinkles are bad enough, but wrinkles with acne is just wrong. I’m also not fond of muscles that take four times as long to recover from a hard workout, or the way the flesh around my knees sags like it’s trying to visit my ankles.
To facilitate this discussion, I’ve put together the following short quiz. Take it and see how you score on the “Graceful Aging” scale.
1. You notice a few more wrinkles around your eyes. Do you
a. Smile at your reflection and think how great it is you’ve laughed and smiled enough to carve happiness into your face
b. Trot down to the drug store and buy some retinol cream
c. Try a do-it-yourself face lift by pulling your hair back into the tightest ponytail possible
d. Rifle your kids’ college funds, sell your plasma at the blood donor center, and race to the nearest plastic surgeon
2. Your joints ache after a little exercise. Do you
a. Give thanks that you’re still mobile
b. Wander down to Walgreen’s to get some of that chondroitin you’ve been hearing about; it’s worth a try
c. Schedule a massage
d. Use it as an excuse to give up your gym membership (and apply the money saved to your tummy tuck fund)
3. Someone tells you, “You look great . . . for your age.” Do you
a. Thank them sincerely and feel good all day
b. Buy another lotion or potion to fade age spots, diminish wrinkles, brighten your complexion, plump your skin, and raise your IQ ten points
c. Put this person in your WIP . . . as the murder victim
d. Try to patent the phrase “for your age” so no one can use it without your permission under threat of prosecution and a lengthy prison term
4. You put on five or ten pounds that just won’t budge. Do you
a. Think, “That’s why God invented elastic-waist pants and skirts!”
b. Invest in the entire Spanx collection
c. Work a half-hour walk into your daily routine
d. Try the latest fad diet and learn to subsist on nothing but kelp, raisins and Metamucil
Scoring: Give yourself one point for each A, two for each B, three for each C and four for each D answer.
0-4: The “Let Nature Take Its Course” Gal (or Guy). You’re undermining the economy with your refusal to purchase any of the lotions, ointments, dyes, teeth bleaching kits, diet pills, vitamins, or services devoted to making you look and feel four months younger than your calendar age. Your aging celebrity counterpart is Jack Nicholson.
5-12: The Do What You Canner. You have staked out a reasonable middle ground between letting yourself go completely and obsessing endlessly about each gray hair and wrinkle. Your aging celebrity counterpart is Jamie Lee Curtis or Betty White.
13-16: The Interventionist. You’re well on your way to becoming Joan Rivers. You regard the words “aging gracefully” as an oxymoron and are doing more than your share to keep the economy afloat with beauty product, spa, and plastic surgery purchases.
So, Jungle Reds, how gracefully are you aging? What’s your biggest complaint about aging?
HANK: Sorry. Still laughing. Luckily I'm really bad at math,so I can't properly calculate the bad news. And even if I knew the score, I would forget it soon.
How about you, Reds?
In All Sales Fatal, wounded-vet-turned mall cop Emma-Joy “EJ” Ferris finds a dead gangbanger in the Fernglen Galleria parking lot. When her boss then disappears and his three ex-wives insist he’s met with foul play, she searches for a link between him and the dead teen. With the help of her octogenarian Grandpa Atherton (a retired CIA agent), currently working as the mall’s Easter Bunny, she must track a killer with little to lose before the murderer puts her out of business for good. Critics loved the first mall cop mystery, Die Buying, naming it to several Best of 2011 lists: Suspense magazine (Top Four Cozies of 2011), the Seattle PI (Top 10), AnnArbor.com (Top 12).