Saturday, January 19, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 46

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on April 25th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 8 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 8

Boldly old

Ariel finds that growing old gracefully can be a little awkward


Last month I had a birthday, and I am now 63 years old. At this stage of my life, I have grown in many ways, leaving me with just one question.

What the hell happened?

Whoever said growing old is not for sissies wasn’t kidding. Only four autumns ago I would hop over to my grandson’s soccer field at 7 o’dark in the cold-ass morning, get the line painter machine out of the equipment locker, and paint the lines for four youth soccer fields. All before coffee!

Now I wake up at 5 without an alarm, wishing I could stay asleep until 7. I do nothing without downing at least two cups of strong coffee, and try to color inside the lines in my adult coloring book.

When I say I’ve grown in many ways, I am not only referring to my mind. That, at best, is delicately holding on to each of my marbles as if they were Fabergé eggs. But I’ve grown everywhere else.

One morning I rolled out of bed and my tummy just rolled over in despair. My thighs, after struggling valiantly through years of painful squats and lunges, sagged in utter defeat. The backs of my arms simply gave up and gave out, and my butt hurts. Come to think of it, everything hurts.

My breasts used to be top guns. Now they flop around so much they’ve become weapons of mass destruction. I no longer wear bras for support but as back up in an attempt to minimize casualties and collateral damage.

Through the years I have always worked to become a better and more multifaceted person. I now have accomplished that because I take up enough room for two. I have not only grown wiser with age, I’ve grown wider!

I recently wore my favorite Hawaiian shirt with red hibiscus flowers and took a morning walk when a colorful male hummingbird mistook me for a huge hibiscus bush. He must have thought I was Meals on Wheels as he lunged at each flower, then hovered for a puzzled moment, and tried again. The little guy would not give up, so I did and went back inside the house.

Speaking of Hawaiian prints, who thought it would be a good idea to put plus-sized women like me into bathing suits covered in them? The only other option is black. I do not recommend it. The last time I lay on the beach in a black one-piece swimsuit, several concerned people converged and tried to drag me into the ocean.

Oh! That must be why swimsuit makers use such loud prints! They help delineate ladies of my size from any orcas that may have beached themselves. They also scare away the sharks.

Swimsuit designers have also come up with a grandma version of the bikini. They put a ruffled tank top together with a skort (shorts attached to a skirt). It’s called a tankini and is aptly named. I tried one on and looked like a Sherman tank covered in colorful flounces. If only they had made these decades ago, it could have shortened the Second World War!

Growing another year older is not just about growing another size larger. I am also growing hair in places ladies shouldn’t. I have a mustache that would rival Tom Selleck’s.

And that’s not all!

If it weren’t for my aesthetician I’d be a candidate for the local Elks Club’s annual Beard-A-Reno contest. A soft fuzz has overtaken my chin like lichen on a boulder, and my once perfect eyebrows have grown runners!

She waxes and tweezes my face until it’s as hairless as a baby’s bottom. My wrinkles complete the effect so my face really looks like a baby’s bottom.

I still have most of my sense, although there are times when I suddenly become totally senseless. Just the other day I was speaking with our grandson while frantically looking for my cellphone. I pleaded with my husband, The Brit, to please help me find it and he replied, “You’re talking on it!”

There has certainly been a decrease in my senses. I rely on our boy, The Briteen, for help reading labels more than ever. I wonder if the makers of arthritis medications, laxatives, and denture adhesive realize whom their products are for when they label them. I needed help reading a label for eye drops and I was wearing my glasses!

I also suddenly lost most of the hearing in my left ear, which now constantly hums and rings. A recent hearing test was not encouraging.

The Brit sat and watched as an audiologist tested my hearing. She explained that I would hear a series of words and was to repeat them. She then started the test, which was, I thought, a series of character names from the novels by Charles Dickens.

“Havisham,” I responded on hearing the first word. Next word, “Chuzzlewit.” Why was The Brit laughing?

“Sweedlepipe,” I continued. Now the audiologist was laughing. “Pecksniff,” I answered. “Flintwich!” I watched as both The Brit and the audiologist were wracked with hilarity, all at my expense along with my copayment and the price of a hearing aid.

I’ve heard that if you want to have an idea of how you will age, look at your parents. My mother looks fantastic and her mind is sharp as ever! I can’t figure out how she makes growing older look so easy. She’s either aging very gracefully or she’s a 2,000-year-old vampire.

No, that can’t be it. Mom is Italian and she loves garlic. That and the vino must be what are keeping her so well preserved.

I’m just hoping it’s great genes and I got a few. Between those, my physician, my chiropractor, my masseur, and a roll of colorful duct tape, I just might be able to age artfully, if not gracefully!

Ariel Waterman’s butt still hurts. Send her garlic, vino, and colorful duct tape via Managing Editor Joe Payne at

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