LC Van Savage
Time And Gravity Wait For No Person
Please, somebody out there help me. The bottom half of my face is falling off. It's true! I can see the cracks! They are all in the bottom half of my face from about mid-cheek down and are getting so deep they're actually casting shadows in certain light. What's worse, they're spreading down to the front of my neck, too. I'm not sure, but it may very well be that those cracks are actually, well, ---
I've noticed a lot of those very same kinds of cracks developing around my eyeballs in recent years too. But I haven't worried that my eyes will fall off the way those cracks around my jawline are definitely going to make the lower half of my face fall off. Like everyone else, I call those cracks around my eyes "laugh lines" because that's the merry spin we put on those claw-like grooves when they begin to carve themselves deeply into our eyeball skin. And you know what? You and I both know those creases aren't caused by any excessive, joyful laughter. They are out-and-out squint lines developed in direct proportion to our diminishing eyesight. Oddly, we don't get wrinkles around our ears as our hearing lessens, but I suppose that's because ears can't squint. Well, at least mine can't. Maybe yours can.
I've had to make a decision about this new wrinkle. I've had to give some thought to finding, and then hiring a local face-tightening surgical guy with a set of very sharp scalpels. That, or spend the rest of my life smiling broadly, because I notice when I grin at myself in the mirror, I've got enough working lower facial muscles left to pull those skin pleats up far enough to make my skin look smooth. Ish. (That is if I smile constantly.) Well anyhow, that's how it looks in my mirror into which I peer through failing eyeballs through a nest of skin furrows magnified three times by trifocals. This getting old stuff really bites.
Smiling all the time has its problems. First of all, I can't do it when I sleep no matter how hard I try, and I do try, and second of all, smiling all the time begins to hurt after a while, and third of all, smiling all the time can make one look like a vacuous moron. Furthermore, perpetual beaming does convey a certain lunacy, or even evangelism. Ever notice how most of those TV evangelists grin incessantly? Doesn't it seem a tad divergent that they warn us so passionately about the wages of sin, all the while grinning like deranged baboons? Really makes me uneasy when I see those guys always smiling so maddeningly as they announce that there's no hope for us, and that we'd best stock up on fly swatters because the locusts are well on their way to our houses.
But back to my facial problem. There's something else. Now, my neck seems to have developed something that looks very much like wattles. I saw a photo of myself recently taken from the side and thought something had gone awry in the developing. There it was, this fin, this grotesque wattle hanging down from beneath my chin like that horrid thing that hangs beneath the beak of those tough, nasty old turkeys. Ugh. And worse, I think it quivers when I laugh or talk or chew. And to make matters even worse than that, as if anything could be, my neck beneath all that grotesque wattling is now corded. Vertical ropes now run up the front of my neck.
When did all this happen? Is it because of that old bugaboo gravity? If it is, I'd prefer it if gravity just concentrated on keeping us from flying off into space and leaving our body parts where they should be, instead of dragging them all into a point-down position. Gradually, it seems, I am being reduced to a wattle-trembling, corded-necked, shuffling old bag of russet potatoes, all caught in the death-grip of those unrelenting forces of time and gravity, and I do care for it one bit.
LC's books are at local bookstores.
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