After the Glory Days

Posted by:
Susan Rooke
February 15, 2018

Do you ever catch sight of yourself in the bathroom mirror while brushing your teeth and think, “Yeah . . . my best days are behind me . . .”? Boy, I do. Even my teeth aren’t as good as they used to be.

Excitement! Hotness! Talking my way out of speeding tickets! All a distant memory now. Okay, maybe hotness was never on the table, but occasionally I did have excitement, and I also managed to talk my way out of quite a few speeding tickets. Sometimes I did both at once. But now? I hallucinate for fun.

Normally, I can shrug off my creeping, dull decrepitude (except while lying awake at 3 a.m.), but something on Twitter brought it to mind a couple of days ago, and I’m still thinking about it. A friend of mine tweeted an entertaining prompt that was making the rounds: to state “3 Random Facts” about yourself. Hers were that she got to meet Muhammad Ali and shake his hand, she’s not a fan of chocolate, and she loves to fish.

Then she tagged several people, including me, to tweet 3 Random Facts about ourselves. I figured the aim was to come up with something fun and quirky, so, after some thought, I tweeted this (“I can row a rowboat” and “I wanted to be a nun when I was a child” didn’t make the cut):

1. I can witch for water.
2. I stood in North Korea when visiting the DMZ.
3. I smuggled a dried llama embryo into the U.S. from Bolivia.

Then I, in turn, tagged several more people. (Thank you, my dear Claire M., for tweeting your 3 Random Facts in response! FYI, Claire has, among many other gifts, the talent of making elaborate, gorgeous doodles.)

It didn’t take long for Fact Number 3, the dried llama embryo, to be noticed and raise questions, and soon a couple of people started tweeting jokes about how “awesome” I was. It was funny and gratifying, creating one of those rare moments that make Twitter seem like it’s just some friends hanging out together, but on opposite sides of the world. Once I stopped laughing, however, I looked over my random facts and realized something:

1. I was 7.
2. I was 11.
3. I was 14.

Not only did all these so-called awesome things happen before I’d hit mid-adolescence, but also, Number 1 may not even be true. I’d first written “I’ve witched for water,” but had to shorten it due to Twitter’s tweet-length constraints. I did know how to witch at one point, but do I now? I’d like to think so, but who knows? (Here are the two blog posts I wrote last year about 1 and 3.)

Wow. Have I really not been awesome since I was 14? (Delusional doesn’t count as awesome.) I racked my brains. Surely I could dredge up something notable that’s happened more recently, but no. That’s when I came to the sobering conclusion that my 3 Random Facts are misleading, so far behind me in the rearview mirror that they might as well have happened to someone else. Nowadays I’m a big chicken, I don’t travel outside the U.S., and even if I did, I would never dream of slipping some disgusting, improperly dried magical totem through Customs. Yuck.

It became evident that I needed to make a new list. One that, in the spirit of honesty and self-acceptance, represents more accurately the person I am today. And is probably, leaving aside a few aberrant moments, closer to the person I’ve really been all my life. So here goes:

1. I am known to put off going to the doctor for any reason, for as long as I possibly can. To keep my teeth from falling out of my head, I do make an exception for the dentist.
2. I have never once worn a top that bares even the merest 1/8” of cleavage. Never. Probably because my mother wore enough such tops for both of us, as well as for all the rest of our female relatives. And friends.
3. I haven’t had a ticket for speeding, or for any other moving violation, since 1984.* And sadly, it’s not because I’ve talked my way out of them.

*This is apparently considered prudent, rather than wimpy, in some circles. For example, it’s one of the questions my life insurance company asked me last year before renewing my policy. At a really good rate.

Also, I gave some consideration to “I have a plantar wart on my right foot” and “Glen and I are in bed most nights by 9:15,” but neither of those made the cut for this new list.

So . . . “awesome” at this stage of my life has largely gone the way of the dodo. But then I realized there is one Random Fact that keeps getting awesome-er as time goes on. In fact, its awesomeness increased in amplitude just yesterday, as it has every year on Valentine’s Day since 1984. Glen and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. Yesterday was # 34.

Thirty-four years! And still crazy about each other. You know, it’s not magic and it’s not illegal (well, it might be in some states), but it feels amazingly awesome to me.

12 comments on “After the Glory Days”

  1. Sigh. Sadly, this post hits home for me, too. I saw that "Random Facts" thing on Twitter, but I'm not good with that kind of thing so I said nothing.

    I can, however, admit to you that I can say the same for #1 and #3 on your new list. As far as your #2, I am your mother with the cleavage business. I grew up on the beaches of Florida where showing as much browned skin as possible was mandatory.

    LOL, at least we can commiserate.

    1. We sure, can, Salina. And what else can we do but go forward through time, knowing that the alternative is . . . UNTHINKABLE?! Here's to us, to our glorious pasts, and to our futures (which will still allow for a touch of awesomeness now and then, I'm positive. Provided we get ourselves to the doctor when necessary)!

    1. I haven't written three yet! Getting close to two, though. And we HAVE been friends for (wow!) 45 years. I guess those are pretty awesome things after all, Susan!!

    1. Thank you, sweetheart! We had a wonderful day. And as for your last comment, that's very nice, but your mother respectfully disagrees. ^ _~

  2. You're the only person I know who cooks snails! And you've written a cool, original novel. And you've seen invisible cows. Way cool. 🙂

    Happy anniversary!

  3. First: Happy belated anniversary!
    As to your list- I think that you are just so used to being awesome that you don't really notice you're doing it anymore.

    Besides that, stuff that happened a long time ago seems to be an obvious fit in the "random" category- but when you think about it when you're a kid a lot of life IS kind of random, in the sense that the kid is usually not the one making most of the decisions. Parents randomly drag you to Bolivia? what's a 14 yr old to do but make the best of it, maybe pick up a dried lama embryo as a souvenir? And what an excellent souvenir! Not sure about your hood, but in my hood that would have been solid gold awe- inspiring coolness with the peers....and apparently it still works with friends hanging out on Twitter (no small feat on that platform, where contention and righteous indignation are the primary modes of exchange).
    As an adult, things mostly aren't so random, but isn't that all the more impressive? we can chart our own course, and pull it all off without anybody dragging us off to Bolivia.
    I just love your new list- it is hilarious! And you could add to it and include many more awesome things, e.g.: "decided to be a writer and then I worked hard and became one!"; "(insert any of your mystical occurrences and communications)" ; "designed and built beautiful forever home where we get to commune with nature, animals, birds and bugs all the damn time"; "really good cook"....etc. so on and so forth.
    Add in all of the unexpected plot twists and curveballs that life delivers and we have to contend with as adults....I think we get more awesome as we age!

    And that is just my random 2 cents.

    1. Wow, Claire, I LOVE your random 2 cents!! And thank you for your happy anniversary wishes! Seriously, why am I angsting when I have a friend like you to guide me (painlessly) through these seemingly less awesome years?? Idea for later life: kicking ass and taking names! Okay, just thinking that has made me tired. I'll need to build up to that . . .

      p.s. In my hood, in ANY hood, the llama just plain stank!

      <3 <3

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