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April 22nd, 2010

I am finally trying to come to terms with middle age.

It wasn’t so much looking at the calendar that did it, and admitting that almost 49 was a lot like being almost 50. And that 50 is supposed to mean something. And not in a good way. I mean, really, if you want to be brutally frank, 50 is the middle of 100. And very few people live to that. So what I am dealing with, at this point, is not life’s back nine. We are several holes into that and I just looked up to realize that I can see the clubhouse.

And the clubhouse is blurry. There was an annoying flash of light in the corner of my right eye, while I was working on my last book. But since the hero of the book was blind, I was wondering if it was some weird form of high powered hypochondria.

According to the eye doctor, it was a sign of vitreous detachment, which is a normal sign of aging.

I asked him what I was supposed to do about this aging thing.

He said aging was preferable to the alternative, which was sudden death.

So I got new glasses. And then, I went to the dentist. I have this back molar that was cracked, and on the advice of another dentist, who was a root canal specialist that I went to when I got a major toothache while on deadline for a different book (which, thank God, was not about dental care. Or I’d be looking for patterns with my fictional and real lives…)

Anyway. The specialist said that, if I wanted to take care of the rest of my teeth (like the one I had just spent six hours in the chair getting redone) that I should have that back one pulled.

So finally, I did. But this was giving me visions of my mostly toothless parents, full dentures, old age and inevitable death. So when the dentist said there was a special on whitening, I said, “count me in.” Because, apparently I want an open casket funeral and a scary white rictus grin.

But why stop at teeth? If all the main body parts are going to hell, then I might as well start working on quick cosmetic improvements, like I’m weeding the flowerbeds in front of the worst house on the block. White teeth? Check. Mani-pedi? Of course. Colored hair? It has been so long since I’ve seen my natural color that I have no idea what it is. But as long as it is not gray, I don’t really care.

There is a special on eyelash extensions? They glue individual lashes on the ends of your real ones? And you come out looking like you’ve used that stuff Brooke Shields is selling (which, from what I hear will grow hair wherever it touches. So if you spill it down your front, you will have nice eyelashes, a moustache and hairy tits).

Two hours later, I look like I should be right next to Bambi, grazing on buttercups in a woodland glen. Of course, I’m still wearing the glasses, and I look kind of like a deer with a hangover. But they assure me that the eye redness is ‘minor irritation that will clear up shortly.’

But strangely, none of this is turning back the clock. Even with bunion surgery, and a major change in eating habits, followed by a lot of plastic surgery, I will still be pushing 50. If only I could have a little bit of my youth back.

And then, I felt a strange lump in the back of my mouth, right near the place that they pulled the tooth. And the location of my last remaining, wisdom tooth, which had been resting peacefully, jammed sideways in my jaw, blocked by the last molar. It is on the move.

I am 48 going on 49. And I think I’m teething.

This was not what I meant.