THAT CAN’T BE ME

Have you ever caught sight of yourself in the mirror and thought who the hell is that?  Suddenly, memories of Saturday evenings confined with chainsmoking Grandma flood your mind… the smoke from her endless cigarettes curling into the air, the cheesy Lawrence Welk orchestra playing from the black and white TV, the sound of poker chips tapping on the formica table.  Looking at her lined and wrinkled face and silently vowing to never permit that ruin to befall you.

And you think it won’t.  Age will never catch up with you and you’ll spend your life in a youthful haze where dreams are real and genetic legacy is irrelevant.

Until your peripheral vision betrays you one day and you realize that the promises made in childhood cannot withstand the brutal reality of life.  Despite your best efforts, that is your grandmother’s face -minus the cigarette clamped between the lips- staring back at you in the mirror.

And you know you’ve heard that lamentation before.  I’ve become my mother.  I look like Aunt Doris.  I have Nonny’s thunderthighs.  You heard them whispered or mourned at Bunco club while the ladies rolled the dice or while your mother complained on the phone to her sister.  I hate looking in the mirror.  You thought it was just rejection of vanity until the same notion seized you one day and all reflective surfaces became the enemy.

What good is avoidance?  It’s ineffectual.  Whether you bury the truth in plastic surgery or ignore it by pretending it doesn’t exist, it never goes away.  So why not befriend it?

Is youth so precious that we can’t let go?  Have we completely forgotten that stupidity and folly are also the hallmarks of youth?  It’s strange that when we finally appreciate the gift, it’s slowly taken away from us.  A cruel trick of Nature?  Maybe not.  Perhaps it’s not specific stages of life that are to be valued, but its entirety as human experience.

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2 Responses to “THAT CAN’T BE ME”

  1. “Hey! I resemble that remark”
    I’m nodding and I’m smiling some (quite rare, actually) and I keep wondering about the “mirror image” at the top/ where is it from?
    Is it you???
    i like it, and yr kooky capital T Truth.
    thanx &
    Please Keep On

  2. No, that’s not me; just an image I found while hunting for pix online. Will keep soldiering on… prefer that to the alternative.

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