It’s my birthday.
Don’t wish me well. I’m clinging to my 40s like Chrissy Watkins clung to that buoy in Jaws. I’m sure some women anticipate their 50s with all the joy of a child awaiting Santa on Christmas Eve. I’m just not one of them.
I’m more like Barbra in Night of the Living Dead, screaming in fear as my 50s amble inexorably toward me like the titular zombies.
They’re coming for me.
If only I could be like Kevin Costner in Yellowstone, with his gruff voice and crosshatched face. He is sexagenarian perfection.
Sexagenarian. So many double entendres are rolling through my head. I could fill the rest of this column with Kevin Costner/sexagenarian jokes, so let’s just move on.
Two weeks ago, a quick glance in the mirror revealed something on my eyelid. Good God! Had I been out and about all day with I-don’t-even-know-what hanging from my eyelid?
I rubbed it. I rubbed it again. Still, it clung to my eyelid, like a sloth on a tree branch.
I washed the makeup from my eyes, the better to scrutinize the resistant particle in my magnifying mirror.
It was only then that I realized this thing on my eyelid was not a foreign body but actually part of my eyelid.
It hadn’t been there that morning. But here it was now, taking up space on my eyelid like it owned the thing. It sprouted over the morning, the world’s worst house plant.
No. Oh no, no, no, no. This was unacceptable. What, exactly, was this thing? A second head? An amoeba? Cancer? That’s it. It’s probably cancer. I’m going to die before I ever reach 50. That’s what I get for complaining about turning 48.
In less than a month, my husband and I are going away. Just the two of us. For the first time in two years. Montana. Big Sky Country.
Not because of Kevin Costner. Or Yellowstone.
Well, maybe a little bit because of Yellowstone.
How can I go away for a little, um, sexagenarian time when my eyelid has its own eyelid? Makeup doesn’t cover it. Tea bags don’t shrink it. Bargaining with the universe has gotten me nowhere.
“What bump?” my husband asked.
Was he kidding? “Hail to the Chief” announces its arrival in a room. If this was New York, it would have its own borough. Elon Musk has dedicated an entire satellite to it.
Don’t let this be what the wrong side of 45 looks like.
But that’s the thing about the universe, isn’t it? It’s like Hannibal Lecter, playing with its victims. Taking its time. Relishing the anguish. Anxious to inflict more pain.
The universe came out swinging while I was in the dentist’s chair.
I had an appointment last week. “You have three cavities,” the dentist told me. “Your teeth are crowded. You never wore your retainer, did you?”
No. I didn’t. After seven years of braces and retainers, I refused. I didn’t even get the retainer. Nobody asked me to the prom in that way. I was the third wheel on my friends’ date nights. A retainer wasn’t going to help that situation.
Now my teeth have shifted back. They’re crammed together, causing cavities like I’m an eight-year-old who doesn’t brush. Worse is the dentist’s recommendation for preventing a lifetime of dental ruin.
Braces? Really? Do I want to go back to high school? Will I get back my over-permed hair and clarinet too?
If only, because what I did get back from those high school years was worse than tragically feathered bangs.
On Friday, a swath of pimples popped up across my face. Can’t we make a rule that it’s pimples or 48, not pimples and 48?
Even better, I discovered acne in adult women can linger into our 50s.
Is this some sneaky way to get me onto the anticipating-my-50s-like-they’re-Santa boat? That’s so devious and 100 percent working.
By Monday, I had a problem I can’t even talk about here.
Let’s just say I used to have a subscription. It came periodically. But that subscription is really only useful when you’re having babies.
I’m not having any more babies. So I canceled it.
But Monday saw that subscription return.
I seem to be on my way to Blanche Devereaux by way of Beverly Hills, 90210.
Hoping for some consolation, I complained to my mom. That’s what moms do, right? Listen to your complaints? Reassure you you’re aging like a female Kevin Costner?
But I didn’t get any comfort. What I got was in trouble.
You see, I have my mother’s teeth. To malign my jaw is to malign her own. How dare the dentist — and me by extension — suggest our teeth are anything but spectacular? The misalignment gives us character. It makes us unique.
“It also gives us cavities. It gives us halitosis,” I told her.
Who, exactly, did I think I was? I was dismissed with my mom’s stern disappointment. I was told not to bring up the matter again. I was, in a sense, grounded.
Just one more way I’m greeting 48 like a teenager.