Monday, August 6, 2012
Way Back When Our Faces Were Young And Thin
“Oh my damn!” we silently think to ourselves. “What the hell happened to YOU?! Your face. It blew up, yo! It’s… like ... you just swallowed a damn pumpkin!”
It’s so good to reconnect with old friends. Nothing quite beats that feeling of having shared many of the same experiences and memories, laughed at the same jokes, feared those same fears and shared an affinity mixed with a rich and varied history we have with another person. Yet, in our mind’s eye, when we see or think of those old friends, it’s usually in the way they were, the way they appeared when we last saw them. We don’t always allow for time to do that sly thing and hideous THING it does to all of us: It ages and matures us to the point where we barely recognize each other anymore.
I took particular notice of this last week as I attended a funeral for one of the old neighborhood's elder women. She was very much beloved and we all had warm stories and vivid memories of our adventures in her presence. For instance, for decades, each 4th of July, she would plan these elaborate barbecues where everyone who was anyone within the community regularly attended. She was quite the hostess, an expert chef/griller and her food was always top-shelf delicious. Her spacious backyard became the IN spot, the holiday jump-off, and the hottest place to be.
Rest in Peace, Miss Easter.
And so, with her passing, and because she was so beloved, people came from near and far to honor her memory. It was a wonderful thing to see. Many of these people were faces from my childhood and teen years. I had not laid eyes on some of them in about 20, 25, hell, even 30 years!
After the ceremony, people were stepping to me, as people usually tend to do at such events. They seemed to know my name, to remember me vividly, and that felt strange because these were people who I didn’t know, had no recall of ever knowing, and it caught me by complete surprise. But the biggest surprise came when they REINTRODUCED themselves to me.
Meanwhile, I’m thinking: Oh snap! Oh MY Damn! That’s YOU under all that?
Yes. I know I’m wrong, but that’s me just being real, mentally. I would never say it out loud. It’s just a bit astonishing to see someone you once knew has become this whole OTHER person physically. But it’s also another naked fact of life: Unless we have a plastic surgeon on speed dial, we don’t tend to get prettier or more handsome as we grow older. We change. The body shifts and it morphs. The pounds appear. The gray hairs sprout. The wrinkles settle in…
… and we are no longer the hotness, or the serene beauty queens…
… and awesome Adonis boys of yesterday.
Sad but true.
So as I’m conversing with this person from my previous life as a young buck, I began to do a visual survey by looking for signs of the person I once knew. That’s when it HIT me: Do the people we haven't seen in years all develop chubbier faces? I mean is this to be our true fate: Fat-face-did-ness?
Unless you happen to be naturally or unnaturally angular, maybe sporting a fatter, fleshier aspect is simply the way we tend to age. We don’t obsess about it… in fact, we hardly pay this much attention. However, when we see an unflattering picture of ourselves, and we silently recoil... then ummm... that's a problem. Also, when something happens, some watershed event or some benchmark episode occurs and it brings people together, it has the feel and vibe of a high school reunion, and it’s then we are suddenly face to face, eyeball-to-eyeball with our reality.
And it is then that we are reminded of how time changes the mugs of those people we knew long ago, back when we were young and we all had thinner faces.
This may just become my new reference point to measure how long I’ve known someone. Example: Hell, we go back, waaay back to when we BOTH had skinny faces!
But having noticed that one old friend’s (once thin) head was now a BIG, cheeky ballooning dome, that was just the beginning. It seemed as if people would appear out of the proverbial woodwork to remind me of this strange and growing phenomenon. So many of my old school friends showed up and ALL of them sported these rounder, chubbier faces (yes, myself included)... even the formerly skinny people... and suddenly I was left wondering "What's up with this?"
It can be gradual… so gradual as to be one of life’s more insidious occurrences. Stuff happens to us and we don’t even notice it. We’re too damn busy living our lives to pay any attention. And then, something happens, and it suddenly opens our eyes: “Oh my damn!” we silently think to ourselves:
“What the hell happened to YOU?! Your face. It blew up, yo! It’s… like ... you just swallowed a damn pumpkin!”
And please believe I’m not only cracking on the rest of them. I fully own up to my personal bout of pumpkin-headed fat-facedid-ness!
(Top): The more angular Lin…
(Bottom): The current, more fat-facedid Lin…
There are some days I’ll accidentally catch a glimpse in the mirror to find I'm repulsed... because suddenly I possess these mad puffy-verging-on-Dizzy Gillespie-type cheeks!
This is all very odd because, most of the elderly people I know tend to have thin, sunken-in faces. So, perhaps this is all a part of that whole middle-age-spread concept… and IF we live to become older and more elderly, we can at least look forward to a frailer face, and thinner physique.
It’s reached almost epidemic in proportion as it effects the people I know personally. When did it happen that so many of us became afflicted with this dreaded disease of: Fat-Facedid-ness? It seems we are not our physical selves anymore… no… we just become these older people with BIG faces.
Don’t believe me? Go on, do your own visual survey. Trust me, it won’t always be pretty. But it will be LIFE!