Sunday, May 27, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on March 4th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 52

I'm not 60--I'm 59.95

Yet another milestone, and my feet are killing me!


Five years ago, in this venerable newspaper, I wrote about turning 55 years of age. Oh, God, where did the time go? My birthday is in three more weeks, and it’s not a milestone I am thrilled about. Sixty? What the hell happened to 16? It seems like only yesterday that I could roller skate with the best of them, and that was on four wheels, mind you, not those newfangled, two-wheeled roller blades!

This month is also my eighth anniversary of marriage to The Brit and grandmother-hood to our now 12-year-old Britween. Five years ago I thought there was nothing like a child to keep you on your toes as you grew older. I now realize that, in truth, they simply run you off your feet! I’m so tired that if the bags under my eyes get any larger, my face will fall in them.

Sixty years is quite a span of time. Just ask my mother. According to her, she’s still 60 and I’m really her twin sister. Hey, Sis, how they hanging? Mine are overhanging so much now that my bra no longer has a band and cup size. It has been assigned its own zip code. I’ve gone from wearing those frilly confections at Victoria’s Secret to the solid constructions of Playtex. Unfortunately, my 18-hour living bras are dead tired after only nine hours. By the end of the day my foundation garments have been condemned and need retrofitting.

Speaking of foundations, I am now more keenly aware of cosmetics companies advertising myriad youth-restoring wrinkle reducers, expression line fillers, facial primers, and corrective foundations, all at exorbitant prices. But, hey, I’m all about saving a buck, so I think I’ll just head on over to Home Depot for a calking gun, some spackle, and a sander.

I am proud to be a member of a generation that has one foot in the past and the other in the future, as we straddle the present and try not to lose our balance! My generation did many things that we then took for granted, and we are the first to achieve many groundbreaking feats.

I am one of the last people I know who recorded songs off the radio onto a cassette tape player. I am one of the first I know to program a VCR (OK, in my case, a Betamax), use a DVD player, and now set up programs to record on a DVR.

I remember the excitement of Atari video games and was terrific at playing Pong! I rode in a car without wearing a seatbelt, or even a lap belt. Airbags? Those were the plastic things that came from the dry cleaners that we would blow up and loudly pop behind unsuspecting parents’ backs. Ah, good times!

Mobile phones, seeing the person you were speaking to on a screen, computers, space travel, and cars that park themselves were all stuff of science fiction and comic book characters. But, suddenly, with a back-to-the-future flash, my last cell phone looked just like the flip-open communicator used by the crew on Star Trek.

I remember walking to shop at the local dime store, TG&Y, named for its founders, Tomlinson, Gosselin, and Young, but we called it “Turtles, Girdles, and Yo-Yos” because you could get all three of those items there. Now I shop online, scrolling through multitudes of mercantile goods without even leaving the house.

I remember playing hide-and-seek in the street with friends until after dark, riding my bike through the neighborhood, and selling Girl Scout cookies out of boxes I toted from house to house all alone. I rode the public bus into the city each school day and walked to and from the bus stops, without fear of anything bad happening to me.

I loved playing jacks, Scrabble, and Rummikub with family and friends. I still do that with our MiniBrit, tempting him away from his mind-numbing Minecraft and Clash of Clans games on his iPod.

Mom used to make popcorn on the stove, shaking the pan furiously for about 20 minutes so the kernels didn’t burn, while holding down the lid to keep them from popping right out of the pan. Then along came Jiffy Pop, a foil-covered pan filled with popcorn. As it popped, the foil covering ballooned up, creating a perfect, hot snack in only 10 minutes. You still had to shake furiously, though. Now I just shoot a pre-buttered, pre-seasoned bag into the microwave, wait three minutes, and voila! Fresh, hot popcorn to go with the flavored smart water that has replaced my childhood Kool-Aid and Fizzies.

I loved packing up our station wagon for a night at the drive-in movie theater, where you parked close to a post with speakers hanging on it. Grab one, roll down the window, clip it onto the top edge of the glass, and roll the window up to hold it in place, then adjust the volume.

Some drive-ins charged by the carload, others by the person. That’s when I hid in the trunk with a friend or two, while a designated driver snuck us all in. Now I revel in surround-sound and 3-D movies for which I pay exorbitant admission prices.

I have dried clothes on a line outside using little wooden clips called clothespins to hold the garments onto the line. Now I load up the dryer and walk away. I don’t even iron anymore. I have used a hair dryer with a cap and hose, 
a blow dryer, and now an infuser to tame my wild tresses.

I have taken photographs with a camera using film you had to unroll, situate, and crank into place, then digital cameras, and now I whip out my cell phone.

I would never dream of sending any photo of myself to anyone without being properly attired, knowing the recipient very well, and making sure my wild tresses are tamed, my eyes are wide open, and my second chin is well hidden.

I have come to the conclusion that as we age, we evolve and become more like dogs, a higher order of empathetic life form. My hair sticks up and out wildly, just like Honey’s, our 9-year-old shih-tzu. I’m also growing facial hair, I gain weight more easily, I fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the day, and, like Honey, I suffer from involuntary flatulence.

Of course, in dog years, I’m still only 12. Hey, that’s my grandson’s age! Yes, I like this age best. I think I’ll stay 12 and challenge him to a game of Scrabble over some microwave popcorn, flavored Smart Water, and Girl Scout Thin Mints when he gets home from school. That is, if I don’t fall asleep on the couch with my Honey (or our dog)!


Ariel Waterman is hoping readers will still need her and feed her when she’s 64. Send birthday and anniversary greetings, along with some Beano, via her editor, Ryan Miller, at

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