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When I'm 64

Suddenly, I’m a stranger in a strange land. I am losing my confident baby boomer grip on life, and I’m worried. I sometimes yearn for the simpler life of rotary telephones and the static bulls eye test pattern on my old black and white RCA Victor TV. Only an intervention with a live-in culture coach can rescue me from confusion, or if all else fails, I can always opt for total surrender from modern tech-heavy life.

I confess that at 64, even a daily morning shower can be a challenge for someone who once felt invincible. Is that the hair conditioner or the shampoo I’m squinting at? Why do they make the lettering so faint and small today? No matter how I strain to see the letters, I just can’t decipher the code. Stepping out of the shower, groping blindly for my bifocals and trying not to slip on the wet floor all pose daily health risks. I’ve seen the ads for Life Alert. No way do I want to lie helpless on the bathroom floor, a beached whale squeaking hoarsely, ”Help me, help me,” until someone young and lithe notices that she hasn’t heard from me in days.

Weight control is also confusing to me. I’ve tried low-fat, low-carb, low-glycemic, high-protein, no-sugar, fat-burning, energy-boosting, calorie- counting and enzyme-busting. I’ve bought every natural product guaranteed to control appetite and suppress fat and starch and awaken my metabolism. And now, suddenly, curvy is in?

They must be kidding. Kim Kardashian and her booty will never alter my size four yearning heart, but I do feel guilty and outdated. After years of watching my weight, or to be more honest, totally absorbed by my weight, how can I suddenly surrender the ideal that large is good, but thin is better? Tethered to my bathroom scale, it’s clear that I need help.

Unfortunately, my fashion IQ, no better than my heavyweight attitude, has left me stranded and a prime candidate for the seal of disapproval on “What Not to Wear.” Why can’t I wear a red suit without my daughter telling me I look like Santa Claus or a maraschino cherry? I have a full-length mirror, and so leggings would never grace my sagging Pilates-free and hot yoga-deprived body but what’s wrong with a red suit? Ditto for not ever wearing the layered look. Why would I wear eight tank tops in the summer? (I wish someone would explain the hot yoga fad to me. Why willingly exercise in a room set at a sweltering 80- 105 degrees Fahrenheit? I think it’s easier just to tape my mouth shut or opt for gastric banding stomach stapling surgery.) And what about those skinny jeans? Am I the only woman who manages to get into them but becomes a hostage when trying to take them off?

Without a doubt, I flounder most in the modern world when it comes to popular TV viewing habits. I’ve grown accustomed to boorish Housewives’ foibles, Kardashian nonsense, and Jersey Shore debauchery. What I don’t get is the homage paid to mental illness and addictions on TV. I just don’t understand watching or buying the complete season of any show that features OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, even if the CD is on sale.

This is entertainment? I sure miss Ed Sullivan and Sonny and Cher.

On a much smaller scale, ordering a coffee at Starbuck’s can be bewildering for me. Why is there a special language for cup sizes and types of milk? Weren't there any words in English that were adequate? Venti. Grande. Tall. I'm forced to beg my eye-rolling “I can’t believe you don’t know how to order” daughter, who speaks Starbucks fluently, to order for me. “She’ll have a Venti soy latte dry with room, non-fat,” she tells the barista, speaking for her suddenly mute mother who remembers when ordering coffee was neither a trap nor performance art.

I’m sure that I’m not alone in my global confusion, but I do feel isolated and ashamed by my low culture IQ. It’ s not as bad as my technology IQ but it’s an undeniable crisis nonetheless. I can only hope that if this article is published, the printers will use a really, really large font so that I can read it. Maybe Time New Roman 20 ?


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