Monday, January 6, 2014

A Wrinkle in Time

I was forty-six at the time. I needed a haircut. I walked into one of those cut rate chop shops for hair and asked in a youthful, jolly way, “I just walked in for a haircut. Who wants to welcome me?”

The receptionist gave me her best and most practiced smile. She looked twelve.

I flipped my scraggly hair out of my eyes in a hip, child-like way.

“And will you be wanting the fifty-five and over discount?” she said, her hand hovering over the appointment book.

Stunned, shocked, dismayed, and startled, I said, “No, no discount! And I’m not pregnant either.”

There it was, my first brush with death, the dreaded senior citizen’s discount inquiry.

I was forty-six. But some of my wrinkles were ninety.

I blame Botox. It’s hard to find a forehead that isn’t lying about its age. So, in the spirit of honesty and full disclosure I make an accounting of my wrinkles and how they came to roost on my face.

Please note: I have a very expressive face. My face expresses itself a lot. If I paralyzed my wrinkles my mouth would turn to stone, not unlike my heart.

To begin there are four parallel lines across my forehead. They look like wrinkle canyons. These are my shock and awe lines. As in, “What made you think that lowering the cat out of the second story window in a pillowcase was a good idea? Pull that cat back in this window right now.” Or, “Your brother put peanut butter where? Show me.”

These wrinkles are also my “Ask a stupid question wrinkles.” They appeared after having to ask questions like, “Is that Barbie doll smoking a cigarette?” Or better yet, “Please tell me that you are not making Barbie porn with the family video camera?”

Then there is the single SLASHING wrinkle across the very top of my forehead known as the mark of the oldest child. This line appeared the day I found our oldest son dangling upside down by one foot from his grandfather’s motor home. Typing a rope to the railing of the RV, he’d attempted to go “rappelling.” The RV was the tallest thing he could find in Florida. Now, he dangles out of helicopters for the US military. The wrinkle deepens.

The nest of crosshatched lines around my eyes was created by having to watch 1,247 games of Little League baseball without sunglasses in the Sun Shine State.

The marionette lines around my mouth are inherited. I got them from my mother, who got them from her mother, who got them from . . . It’s hard to argue with genetic baggage.

The wrinkles on my cheeks are my very own. They’re dimple wrinkles, and they’re from laughing. They’re from hearing my husband (at public swimming facilities) say things like, “Quick, everyone run for the car, the baby just pooped in the hot tube.” And then running, and then finding out nobody pooped in anything.

Actually, that’s the problem. I don’t have a heart of stone.

Like you, I feel everything, and everything I feel comes pounding out of my heart, surges through the pores of my face, and drips right off the end of my deeply lined chin. It seems odd that the goal of our society is to make our faces look as if they’ve never felt anything or been anywhere.

My face was forty-six years old, and it had seen some stuff.

My face is older now and it has seen a lot more stuff.

And it’s a good face—wrinkles and all.

Linda (Discount Diva) Zern

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