LC Van Savage
My New Book
Another book is getting itself born in my mind. I can’t seem to get the idea of it to go away and have
already suggested to a group of really good writers I occasionally have the privilege of hanging around with---
oops, I mean with whom I occasionally have the privilege of hanging around—that we should write it together. A
couple of them agreed. A couple ignored me. We’re all of a certain vintage and I’d like to write a book about that
vintage and how we’re all coping with it, if indeed we are.
Done to death, right? (Sorry.) Yes, there are a kadzillion books out there on the hilarity and joys of our
golden period, on what to do to keep on living for another 30 odd years long enough to totally tick off our
progeny, or what vitamins to take and how to exercise, what kind of dog to get, how to fall in love the second time
around, what volunteer work to become involved in---ooops, I mean what volunteer work in which to become involved-
-- what courses to take, how to make out a will that’ll keep our kids from brawling about who gets the diamonds and
who gets the Rolls and who gets the villa in the South of France, and on and on. Yeah, the shelves of all
bookstores groan with those books and magazines for those of us of the wrinkled persuasion.
But still, I want to write another one, completely unique, hoping mine will be a whole lot better or will have a
different slant. One of the chapters, for example, will be entitled, “How to Cope with the Knowledge that The Kids
Are Now Middle-aged and Sprouting Grey Hair and Behaving in All the Ways They Swore They Never Would When They
Observed Us Behaving That Way,” or another chapter, “We’re Way Too Young To Have Cranky, Wrinkled, Middle-aged Kids
So We Aren’t Going To Anymore.”
Another will be a long and important chapter on the discomfiture of women accumulating unwanted hair in all the
wrong places, and men losing wanted hair in all the wrong places, and how to deal with all of that embarrassment
while still holding our probably balding heads high.
Another chapter will talk at length about skin care, and how to deal with all those nasty hard things sprouting
all over our bodies, tiny jagged outcroppings. Remember when our significant others (back in my day they were
called boy or girlfriends or spouses) used to tell us our skin was like the rarest, softest silk? That to touch us
anywhere could transport them to the very gates of the firmaments? Well, no more. Not at this age. Now when our
SO’s touch or stroke us, they could get scratched. Where do those small bits of human skin gravel come from
anyway, and why do they settle on us? Do we actually need them?
Of course the final chapter of my all unique old age book will have to deal with the, well, how to say it. OK,
I’ll dance around the issue; how to deal with those embarrassing moments when we sneeze, cough or laugh too hard
and it’s then we realize, usually in a crowded restaurant, that our once powerful hold-it-all-day bladders are now
quite as old as we are. It is at this time we all start to purchase well-advertised products that both men and
women are now able to toss onto the store’s conveyer belt at the checkout with no self-consciousness. How great is
that? We think about surgery once in a while, but buying those products seems a lot less invasive.
How many of those tediously boring not funny too long global emails have you gotten about the trials of entering
old age? I already know all that stuff. Yes, my short-term memory is shot. Yes, if I close my eyes I can’t remember
what I’m wearing. Yes, if I don’t check the morning newspaper I can’t remember what day or date it is, or maybe
even what year. Yes, I avoid all mirrors where there’s a lot of sunlight in the room because my wrinkles are
starting to cast shadows. Yes, I’ve learned to squint into mirrors or avoid them completely. Yes, my face has that
upside-down horseshoe around my nose pulling the corners of my mouth down. I look like a perpetually ill-humored
bloodhound, so walk about with an incessant, idiotic grin, pretending the jowls are being pulled up and are
disappearing. Yes, now the AARP magazine gives me more salacious pleasure than Playboy. Yes, I refuse to run unless
it’s the most extreme of emergencies and no I do not ever sit on the floor because sitting there is not nearly as
problematical as rising without the aid of several large strong men with a sturdy lever and fulcrum system of some
Obviously I can’t say that Mongo and I are in the throes of middle age, because were that true, we’d live to be
140, and who in his or her right mind would actually want do that? Ugh. No way. We’re imploding enough as it is at
this age. At 140 we’d be a couple of unmoving greyish blobs sleeping in front of Wild Kingdom reruns being
oblivious to interview requests from local newspapers. No, I guess we’re in the throes of borderline old age, on
the cusp, teetering, unwilling to start the descent. Not yet. No, not yet.
Please buy my book once it’s out. I’ll autograph it for you. I’ve thought of a great title. Want to know what it
is so you can find it at the bookstore? It’ll be called, “Barnacles, Mustaches and Very Large Diapers.” Catchy,
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