Do you know what I’ve discovered? My birthday is coming up during this next week and I suddenly realized that I’m getting old—really old! Two days ago it seemed as if I were in my twenties; dreaming twenty-year-old thoughts of grandeur (I was going to change the world for the better along with all the other Jesus Freaks of our baby-boomer generation). . .
1960’s Time Magazine Cover
Now I’m more than disillusioned by the failures of a movement that changed my life, and I can’t even sneeze without peeing my pants or take two steps without my ass exploding in a cacophony of farts, no matter how much I “pinch and hold.” (Dairy, thou hast become my sworn enemy!)
Image from jokesprank.com
Last week I spent a lot of time having a very interesting discussion with people all around the world (online and off) about whether there was a devil (see last week’s post: “The Devil Made Me Do It”). It was stimulating, spiritually enlightening, and mentally invigorating. This week my mind has turned to addled mush as I try to comprehend a news article about how soon my children and their friends will be able to know that I’m within a mile of their vicinity by my “distinctive smell.” Because, apparently, the older one gets, the riper one becomes, and wherever an old person is, his or her smell lingers forever and a day and is distinguishable from every other age group’s smell! Think: Nursing home smell. Holy Mary, Mother of God!
Elderly Woman by Mary Cassatt||Wikipaintings
“Wait a minute. There’s something unusual about the subway seat you just claimed. It’s awfully warm, and a peculiar odor seems to hover in the air nearby—a stale, musty odor tinged with something as acrid as mothballs. You know this aroma: it’s ‘old person smell.’” ‘Old Person Smell’: Study Confirms You Can Recognize Age by Scent, By Ferris Jabr||Huffingtonpost.com
What is this smell the author is talking about? Is it the smell of death? When does it start? How much time do I have before my children have to start hosing me off before I can enter their homes?
Well, screw last week’s blog! Right now I could care less whether there is a devil or not—I have a more pressing issue to deal with. I cannot get old and start to stink! Yet, next Sunday, if I haven’t fainted dead away from the sheer horror of it all, another candle will be added to my birthday cake, ratcheting me closer to the finish line of living and toward an unfathomable, unearthly B.O that I’ll take to my grave, apparently! Is it because I believe in a theology that marches me to the grave first and then onto resurrection at some point? Would this “old people curse” still make its claim on WW and me if we got recycled, instead?
Horrified, I asked my husband, WW (the smartest person I know), if we could incorporate reincarnation into our theology and return in another life as something—anything—that didn’t have the potential of becoming Pepé Le Pew in our golden years?
But WW (White and Wonderful) just kept on playing with his new iPad and barely looked up when he answered: “NO, absolutely no reincarnation theology—don’t start getting crazy on me in your old age. I’ve just gotten used to your Lucille Ball zaniness in this life; I can’t imagine having to survive your antics in another life! And besides, speak for yourself, ‘pale face,’ I don’t plan on stinking—ever!”
I don’t know what WW is so bent out of shape about. Reincarnation simply means “reentering the flesh.” I wouldn’t mind a do-over in life in spite of WW’s reticence. My husband was born white and male so the deck has always been stacked in his favor. I’d come back so much wiser and richer and take the helm with the people holding the power and the money, and see what it’s like to start off life “ready to rule.” I wouldn’t waste my time with gnarly people or shit that didn’t matter. And I’d take better care of my body from the very beginning so that my old age would be free of disease. In fact, maybe I’d come back as a scientist and eliminate this “old people funk” that’s been discovered by Johan Lundström of the Monell Chemical Senses Center who, IMHO, should have used his smarts to determine whether there is really a devil and come up with a plan to eradicate mayhem and chaos from the Earth rather than giving me something else to be mortified about as I get older. Then we wouldn’t have had horrific “devil” instigated massacres in Syria this week, “devil” inspired zombie cannibalism stories freaking me out so badly I can’t sleep, and a “devil-led” Fox News 4-minute, blatantly false, attack ad against our President—dropping the illusion that they ever were “fair and balanced.” (Talk about something smelly this way cometh!)
But I digress. When I did a little bit of research about reincarnation, I realized WW had reason to be concerned. I discovered that one is not assured to return as a human on a higher plane (richer, thinner, smarter) and much depends on karma. One could come back as a Fox News anchor or as an insect which means one could be destined to go through life stupid as all get out or squished by something as delicate as a child’s sandal on any given Sunday just because one was considered to be “icky.” Either way, I’d be screwed.
Image from faniq.com
Since karma is a bitch, I just know given some of the stupid choices I’ve made in life (I was not always the charming person you’ve grown to know and love); I could easily come back as a really scary looking bug:
Grasshopper (Vietnamese)||Google Image
. . . or too small a bug to keep a donut hole from crushing me to death.
Or, horrors upon horrors, maybe the smell issue would become all invasive because of my ungrateful complaints, and I’d come back as something 100 times smellier than an aging Baby Boomer:
SWAT! SQUISH! RETCH! WTF! There goes Eleanor’s recycled life and all because she didn’t want to own and “rock” a mature old-age smell—vanity thy name is Eleanor.
I think I’ll leave well enough alone, be grateful for what I have and the God I love, and trust that I will be able to grow old gracefully and in my right mind (maybe I’ll add another shower in the evenings). And maybe, just maybe, when I finally do die, I’ll discover that “who” and what is “beyond the veil” is so fantastic, the thought of recycling back to an Earth with a Devil, brutal despots, wannabe zombies, crazy-ass terrorists, and Fox News won’t interest me in the least bit.
I am discovering that part of my blessings from God in this life, of which there have been many, is that he’s included me in the Black Don’t Crack club and given me a heart that easily loves in spite of the fact that I was born a poor black child in the “mistake on the lake” city, currently nicknamed, “The Cleve.” (Translation of ‘Black Don’t Crack’: An urban legend that African-American skin doesn’t age as quickly as Caucasian or Asian skin due to the melanin that seems to have caused us problems in so many other arenas in life. Go figure!)
Case in point: old Asian? Caucasian? lady in her 80’s
Image from onemansblog.com
The African-American singer and actress, Lena Horne, in her 80’s
(no she hasn’t had any face lifts)||lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com
I’m just sayin’. . .urban legend or no, some of that non-crackin’ mojo got bequeathed to me and I will be eternally grateful!
So I may take on this alleged “eau du elderly smell” as I get older—God didn’t promise me a rose garden—but by God, I’ll still have the skin of a twenty-year-old when I die and the heart of someone who loves deeply and profoundly—that’s got to count for something when the younger generation scrunches up their noses and exclaims: “Peeeeeuw, Grandma”! Right?
Happy Birthday to me!
The Author: Old, really, really old, and getting older by the day
“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened?” —Jennifer Yane
“I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”—Woody Allen
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” —Mark Twain
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