It ought to be immediately obvious that I am a shameless old woman. Otherwise, I should hide behind the hairless cat Gravitar. I have to admit that I did a pass or two (maybe a few more, actually) with the “smoothing” tool. The thing was just too hideous to post without a little digital “powder”. My teeth are not quite so white and my skin not so smooth by a long shot, but you must allow me those small vanities. Trust me on that one. I have a photo only because one was required, I thought, when I began this cloud surfing venture. One day, I walked into the bath and photographed myself, composing by guesswork, in the the full-length mirror. This is it…and, by the grace of God, the last it.
But. There is a story here too. Since I am a virtual hermit, I can create my own image without the benefit of the knife. A couple of years ago, I visited my long-time ENT specialist/plastic surgeon for an evaluation of my failing hearing. We got to discussing plastic surgery since he’d always had a “before” and “after” diagram of an old woman posted on the wall directly in front of the patient’s chair. I began by asking him what he thought was wrong with the old woman as she was before the projected transformation into a younger self. He looked me directly in the eyes with his almost-too-blue eyes and replied candidly that he never thought she needed surgery either. On that, we were in agreement. We went on to talk about the aging process, the youth culture, and how we want to project ourselves as something we are not. Then the fun part. I bet him that my eyelids were longer than his. We each stretched our eyelids as far out as we could. He agreed that I was, hands down, the winner.
He has since retired, taken the required immunizations, and run off to help as many of the people of Japan as he can before he dies. His aim is to repair the physical scars and deformities brought on by the devastating effects of the tsunami and radiation spills. I thought he would spend his retirement fishing. I don’t mind that he has left me an Anglo with uncharacteristic Asian eyes…a frivolity in the face of the task and the fate into which he has plunged himself with such courage and grace. Godspeed, old man! I’ll keep the eyelids.