February 23, 2005

Sale on Anti–Aging Supplements

Desperate women cram the counter, elbowing, shoving, kicking shins. A simpering earringed youth pleads through a handheld mike: “Ladies, three to a customer!”

Wait, stop, rewind! I refuse to indulge any longer in this cheap sexist and homophobic humor. Let’s try this:

Hesitantly, admiringly, the forty-five-year-old man approaches the woman of his own age, whose natural glow proudly shows the lines that come only with the constant exercise of wisdom and empathy. “I see you’re reading THE HOURS,” he murmurs. “Don’t you agree that the film couldn’t capture the novel’s tone?”

Cut! Julianne Moore isn’t available and Annette Bening doesn’t need the money. But wait, what’s happening? The scene shimmers and dissolves—where am I?

With a lurching suddenness I dimly—for I am not wearing my glasses—recognize the surroundings. We’re looking at old photo albums from before she met me.

“You were handsome,” she says, conceivably intending a compliment.

Were? WERE?

I’ll take three jars!