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JANICE WELLS: How is that possible? Aging – made more difficult

Thirty years from now, “Jake” will be a scary looking dude.
Thirty years from now, “Jake” will be a scary looking dude. - Contributed

Some tech young people are not very language savvy.

This column is about age, and I know that just saying “young people” shows that I’m not one, but I just saw an ‘updated profile picture’ on Facebook of an old (as in ‘long-time ago’) friend that made me want to cry.

My heart caught in my throat. I couldn’t believe my eyes. What kind of a hard life had Jake (name changed of course) lived to look so old, when I know he’s way younger than I am, and didn’t appear to be having a tough time from what I’ve gleaned over the years.

Well, of course, I couldn’t believe my eyes even though my eyes have never lied to me except for a few times years ago before the lights came on when the bar closed, because it was an age enhanced image. This in itself is an oxymoron. To enhance means to improve or make better.

This is why I made that contention about some tech young people. An aged enhanced image of Jake would have shown him looking better than he did when he was one of my whacky lodgers more than 20 years ago. What this app does should be called dehancing.

There is a line past which I’d just as soon not see a picture of myself age dehanced and I crossed that line a while back. I’ve seen enough. I wish I could stop myself from seeing more, but I am resigned to the reality of the gradual dehancing that is inevitable to all of us without surgical intervention.

There are some good things about it. Aging software purports to increase health and behavioural awareness, therefore, potentially decreasing health-care costs.

When Janine was 20, if she had seen a dehanced picture of herself 40 years later she would have quit smoking. When we were slathering our sun-worshipping bodies with baby oil and iodine we weren’t thinking about wrinkles. Young women today will be forearmed with such a forewarning.

Boomers are living the not-enhanced or dehanced picture life. That is why cashiers are trained not to ask if you qualify for a senior’s discount. It is not to save the store money. It is so if you ask for it, they can show surprise that you qualify and then you like that cashier and sub consciously prefer that store over others.

Retailers have to be very careful these days. Joan Rivers said, "you know you’re old when you’re buying sexy lingerie and the saleswoman asks if you’d like it gift wrapped.” Haha. My idea of sexy lingerie has panties big enough to cover my bumps and scars and bras that make my artificial breast about the same size as my real one and come up high enough to ensure there is no glimpse of one-sided cleavage. Which is another oxymoron.

Everything else, you get used to it. The first time Newman was eligible to order from the senior’s menu he wouldn’t do it. Now the only way you could get us out to dinner is if Canadian restaurants had the sense to offer early bird specials.

If we get an invitation for after 7:30 we usually talk ourselves out of going by seven o’clock. If Janine calls after nine she asks if she woke me. She doesn’t usually wake me, but she interrupts my bedtime read. If you call me after 10 you’d better be calling from another time zone. I need a long time in bed to prepare myself for the person I see in the mirror every morning.

I’m exaggerating. People tell me I look good. The unspoken caveat is "for your age."If I’d been shown an age dehanced picture of myself 50 years ago I don’t think I would have been horrified, just very sad.

I would probably have turned to strong drink. Ok, so I did develop a passing acquaintance with a Beefeater and a fellow named Old Sam anyway.

I must have known what was coming.

Janice Wells offers her own unique take on life as a baby boomer, often served up with a twist of humour and a splash of gin. She lives in St. John’s, NL and can be reached at janicew@nf.sympatico.ca.


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