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Friday, November 23, 2018

Choose Your Superpower

Three of us are about to pounce on a beautiful turkey at Thanksgiving when a text arrives from a young friend. At her dinner table across the country, the question her Thanksgiving Day companions are considering, perhaps in order to avoid controversy, is "Which one of these superpowers would you choose, invisibility or flying?" We three answered in unison, "Flying, of course. We are women of a certain age, and are already invisible!"

As a superpower, invisibility has its attractions but also its drawbacks. It's like a car without a steering wheel. You  don't select when to be visible or not. Like beauty, invisibility is in the eye of the beholder. You don't know when you've suddenly turned invisible, but, like obscenity, you recognize it when it happens to you. 

The day before, I was the last patient for the staff at a health clinic before a four-day holiday. The dazzlingly beautiful, 35-year old dermatologist I had come to visit for the second time swept into the room where I had been brought to wait. She asked good, detailed questions about my skin issues and attended me with extra care and enthusiasm. Before she finished, I showed her the new spots on my cheek that keep showing up to remind me of sun-worshiping days long ago.

In retrospect, I see that I started what would later became a problem. I said to the doctor that surprises like those age spots, wrinkles, and delayed metabolism remind me of the  Bette Davis quote, "Old age is not for sissies." 

She turned and looked right through me, she responded in a slightly reprimanding and condescending tone, "You have a lot to be thankful for!" I naturally responded, "Yes, of course. You're right."  

I was, after all, in to see the dermatologist for mundane repairs, not battlefield scars, leprosy or another serious malady. I was still trying to understand her way of  speaking past me,  averting looking me in the eyes.  It was then that I remembered a 93-year old friend's disdain for being reduced to a "sweetie" or "honey" by store clerks or health professionals. 

After the drive home and the requisite 2-3 hours delay for witty comebacks expired, I realized that the doctor had done to me what I had done at her age to older people I knew. She assumed, as I had during my days as a dazzler, that feeling strong, self-possessed and nearly immortal with energy would be everlasting. Aging changes that, but no one admits it until they are forced to. I imagined responding to the doctor, "You don't know the first thing about me. How would you know what I do or don't have to be thankful for?" 

Some of the superpowers the aging enjoy, besides eventually hitting on a good way to answer dumb statements, are finding that your wisdom expands your sense of life, joy and learning. Which superpower would you choose? Invisibility or flying? How about ditching the need to be a people pleaser? Saying what's really on your mind?  Others?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ten Reasons John Leguizamo is a Latin Hero and Everyone Needs To See His Netflix Show

Ten Reasons John Leguizamo is a Latin Hero and Everyone Needs To See His Netflix Show

1. He not only loves his family, he busts out all the stops a Dad can to help his kids thrive.
2. He explains history in a way I wish my history professors had at least tried to do.
3. He is no-holds-barred ambitious and wide-reaching in the task he accomplishes.
4. He accomplishes his task with the conflict, tension and energy that good story-telling requires.
5. He is Terco como una mula --  stubborn as a mule in his resolve to finish his quest
6. He kept his impossible last name, thus demonstrating real character in an era and industry of Barbie and Ken that he refused to let change him.
7. He walks around on stage in red--bright red--tightie undies. Kind of unforgettable.
8. He condenses 10,000 years of history in a tidy, Mr. Kotter meets Noam Chomskly Netflix comedy performance.
9. He reminds us that talent like his just improves with age.
10. He dances tango, cumbia, reggaeton, and hip hop. Well!