Age is a funny thing….not funny as in the belly laugh that comes after a good joke’s punch line. It’s more like the ‘funny’ when you discover the milk is almost out-of-date, or ‘funny’ like when the person in line in front of you buys a winning lottery ticket. The thing about getting older is that it isn’t very funny, at least until we get a bit older and look back on it…and then realize those were the ‘good old days’.
For instance, I remember in my twenties, I noticed the first fine wrinkles around my eyes when I laughed. It bothered me to find that my appearance was the roller coaster at the top of the highest peak and I would soon enter the downward plummet. I figured I could either put my hands up in the air and enjoy the ride, or go plastic. (Plastic isn’t good for the environment, so I chose to take the ride…but my well-moisturized hands are hanging on tight :))
Now, I can laugh at the horror of my discovery and my silly reaction to it. Mostly because God has blessed me with eyesight that gets worse every year, so I can’t see the deepening of wrinkles even with my nose touching the bathroom mirror. To my eyes, I haven’t aged a bit!
There is a downside to this blessing of deteriorating eyesight though, besides the obvious not being able to read the TV listings without getting off the couch. At first, I planned to save myself the embarrassment by not sharing my story. Then, I thought about it for a few days and decided it didn’t make sense to start sparing myself embarrassment at this stage in my life. So, here goes:
Last week, in the early morning darkness, I prepared to go to work. Half asleep, I packed myself breakfast and lunch to eat at work, woke the kids up and got dressed. It was time to brush my teeth and put on some make-up. I reached for the tube on my vanity top and squeezed some of the white paste onto my toothbrush. When I brought the toothbrush to my mouth, something seemed off.
I sniffed my toothbrush again…definitely wrong. I looked down on the vanity and saw two tubes. I flipped both of them over and was immediately aware of my mistake.
I have been having neck and shoulder pain, bad enough that I’d resorted to using smelly muscle cream. I’m too young to smell like an eighty-five-year old man, but I ran out of the odorless stuff. Yet I’m old enough to realize I’d rather stink without a headache than smell nice with one.
I had a 50/50 shot to pick the correct tube and of course, I got it wrong. Without my glasses on, the tubes looked the same and I almost brushed my teeth with cold/hot muscle cream. Thank goodness my sense of smell is better than my eyesight. I’m also thankful I didn’t have the odorless cream.
Age is funny that way. It will bless you and kick you in the shins at the same time.
This (tooth)brush with disaster (a bit melodramatic?) brought to mind a story my parents told me about fifteen years ago: They were on vacation (I don’t remember where, now…another sign of aging, I suppose…) and they had been suffering with allergies. For several days, they took the pills and couldn’t figure out why their stuffy heads weren’t getting any better. Finally, one of them put their glasses on to read the package. It turns out they had been taking Imodium instead of allergy medicine.
For years, they have endured my relentless teasing (“Remember the vacation you went on and didn’t have to poop once?” or “Your allergies are bad? Have you tried Imodium?”) I couldn’t believe they could make such an obvious error.
I can believe it now, and am a bit frightened by this glimpse into my future. How about we keep this toothpaste mishap to ourselves?
Have you had a similar experience? (Please say ‘yes’ and make me feel better 🙂)