Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and only skin deep. But vanity is to the bone. Neck vertebrae C3 through C7, in my case.
I’ve been out of commission off and on with this sometimes serious, mostly obnoxious, medical issue. It’s had me worried. In theory, there should be another fifty years of fight in this old girl, but it seems my neck has outpaced me by about forty of them. That leaves me staring down a four decade deficit of head support; a problem indeed for someone with a melon like mine.
But it can’t be that bad. I still manage my ridiculous nightly liturgy, my ritual sacrifice of skin cells to the God of Crowsfeet. First of all, I have to get my hair out of the way and for me, for some reason, a headband or hair-tie just won’t do. No, I have to be the bath towel Sikh warrior, with a swirl of terrycloth rising a foot and a half off my noggin. And this is a bit of a challenge when I can’t bend my head to load it into the turban. But still, I persevere. I should join the circus.
Smearing goop over my face and its traitorous stalk isn’t a problem. My hands work just fine, even through the surges of pins and needles. It’s the rinsing it off again that’s a chore. Have you ever seen the brittle contortions a giraffe goes through to get its lips to the waterhole? Legs splayed, back tilted to an improbable angle, the clock ticking minutes rather than seconds off its life, just to strike the pose? Yeah, that’s me at the sink, straining down to slap the acide de beauté off before I have nothing left but cheekbones peeking through shreds of muscle. It’s a sign of the times that I have to pause and think about which is worse – exfoliating myself to a grinning skull with eyebrows or conceding to the indignity of collagen-poor canyons running from the base of my nose down to the corners of my mouth.
I still shave my armpits, although I can’t see them. Not even close. I raise my arms, shut my eyes tight and hope with all that’s in me that those glinting triple blades aren’t spiteful. Blow-drying my hair is a tedious exercise when I can’t get the nozzle anywhere near the back of my head. But I manage to do it anyway.
And I’m fortunate I didn’t put my eye out plucking brow arches with the tremors I had two weeks ago.
So, it’s unpleasant. My head hurts all the time and it takes me half an hour to unload the dishwasher. I cringe at the predictions of Frankenstein pins and bionic disk replacements that await me in the inevitable future. My nightly cocktail is at odds with my ibuprofen, scouring away at my stomach lining and forcing me into abstinence. But I’m thinking I can save the serious fretting until I’m too out of sorts to shave my legs.
Honestly, it can’t be fatal if I’m still willing to crane over the basin for a good view to ensure I catch all my eyelashes into the curler-thingy. Or can it?