Years ago I thought I might be growing old, and I composed these words and later shared them with my friends. Now I'm even OLDER, and a landmark birthday convinced me I should share these words with you:
WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I WILL TURN PURPLE AT MY BIRTHDAY PARTY
and revive myself when people dial 9-1-1.
I will dine on jelly beans and ginger snaps and coffee
and circulate hot rumors all around the town about myself.
I will be haughty with the clerks who carry only tiny sizes,
and I will skip obituary pages in the morning paper.
I will buy a healthy copper bracelet
and rub my skin with mink oil
and start my day with fiber laced with M&Ms.
I will paste a smile on my face for make-up
and refuse to tan and soak for hours at the spa,
for that could make me wrinkle into nothing
and be mistaken for a raisin.
I will ignore the TV ads for PolyGrip and grown-up diapers
and those ugly chairs that stand you up.
I will not let Ed McMahon seduce me into pre-paid funerals
or senior magazines or cheap insurance.
I will cultivate a mellow air of wisdom,
and when the young folks seek advice,
I will tell heroic tales about the past,
and I will also lie to them about the future.
I will gladly let my dwindling eyesight go,
for that would let my mirror lie to me
and also camouflage the cobwebs, dust and dirt.
If you ask how old I am, I will not hear you,
and if you ask about my health I'll simply say,
"It's fine, my dear, I only wish that YOURS was better."
I won't dance with other women on the dance floor
or do the hokey-pokey at your wedding
or spend my days at Big Lots trying to save a dime.
I won't hang out at Craft Fairs, Bingo Halls or Senior Centers
or go to quiet towns in Florida for shuffleboard and golf.
I won't bend over in my garden in a flowered muumuu,
and I won't be seen in funny polyester pants.
I will refuse to let the Beauty Ladies tint my hair
in any shade of blue, or kink it into
scouring pad or Orphan Annie hairdo.
I will wear strong necklaces in case I want to hang myself,
and I will never criticize the young except to God,
who's been around awhile and sympathizes.
If I'm forced to trade down to a cheap and dinky little car,
I will let the neighbor kids paint flowers on it
and glue a wind-up key upon the roof,
and they can ride around with me and make a lot of noise.
I will build a pedestal and designate myself an icon,
and refuse to speak of growing old until I'm 91,
and then I'll hold that very private conversation
only with myself.
(written in the 1990s when I wasn't as old as I thought I was)
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