THE ULTA-MATE EXPERIENCE

Women know that however bad life gets, all they have to do is go anywhere that sells clothes or beauty products and they can go home feeling far better. I wasn’t depressed, just on a mission to replace my discontinued lipstick. And without being disparaging, I entered a store that starts with U and ends with A. Now normally when I enter a cosmetic store, I can hardly get anyone to wait on me. I swear they hide out in back rooms or go for extra long coffee or cocktail breaks. Or maybe they use the old “my grandmother is dying” excuse and fly off to New York for lunch. All I know is that these places have become as popular as pharmaceutical and liquor emporiums and they should have plenty of people who can willfully wait on you.

On a recent visit, I was untypically and rather gladly greeted by four beauty fanatics who had nothing else to do but decide that my face should be a Henri Matisse painting with lots of color and dimension. I suppose they thought I was the very picture of an ancient traveler of the wild west who went gallivanting the countryside by way of a covered wagon without taking proper care of my face. So much for natural beauty. It’s not my fault I resemble a pasty and not so pretty blanched vampire. I was never going for the Twilight look on purpose. Maybe I was born with it, maybe it’s chlorine. City officials should never be putting that chemical in our tap water. I am not going to issue a public apology for the way I look before my morning greasepaint.

Next thing I knew, I was pulled into a beauticians chair as a canvas for eyebrow penciling, lip lining, and cheek contouring. The complete decorating turned me into an instant hooker. You could have called me a covered girl. Easy and sleazy beautiful. All I needed were fishnets, a low cut blouse with a push-up bra, and a twenty year old mid-section. Anyone could see that with mussed up hair and a little help from Victoria’s Secret, I would be ready for prime time on any city street corner.

With all the fashionable sketch artists handling me, I needed to remain calm around wands and brushes that could easily poke my eyes out. I’m sure other customers weren’t pleased with the acoustical moaning that accompanied my makeover, as if the cosmeticians were reconstructing my face with surgical instruments. And when is a bit of blush too much? When you look like a tomato. The red loving craftswoman said, “Let’s take your lashes to luxurious lengths,” I wanted to ask if they will get me to a four hundred foot yacht in the Mediterranean. Another hovering consultant told me, “My, what beautiful eyes you have“… adding “But my oh my, I can fix those sunken cheekbones.” She was a wolf alright. It was enormously flattering. The third sales assistant chimed in, “How about a new lip look.” And the fourth gal had to get the last words in. “I’d like you to rethink your nail polish, or lack thereof.” Being the truly talented individuals that the fine staff of professionals were, I didn’t want them attacking my breasts and making mountains out of my mole hills.

Maybe I misunderstood the geniuses of painted nails in technicolor dream coats, where their every day is devoted to arranging hand takeovers as well. And feeling parched, I asked for a glass of water. But no one was paying attention to my needs. I told them that Indonesian countries are far more advanced. They don’t have to seek out water, water just comes to them. The women looked at me funny and continued to coat my lips with every tube tone available. My worries were normally reserved for late night insomnia. But in this case, I was stricken with thoughts of getting some dubious side effects from these tubes, like lip to brain damage. There was no end to the wealth of bacteria I could obtain. I’m surprised those lipsticks hadn’t been taken away by Center of Disease Controllers. God knows there are other things that need to touch my lips like kisses and margaritas. I don’t want to have to rub noses with a person or a drink. To top things off, the cosmeticians never found me the right shade. Every time they applied a new one, I pointed to an ad where a gal was wearing the color I was looking for and said several times over, “I’d like THAT color.” I also had to disregard the unplushness of their facial tissues which could have easily passed for industrial grade sandpaper. I wondered if it was too soon to cancel my ULTAmate rewards program.

In revitalizing beauty for my aging face, I have to take into wallet size consideration the price of products so I don’t go bankrupt. I may buy a $30 bottle of hair conditioner, but I roll my hair with empty vitamin bottles to avoid purchasing a curling iron. Do you know how many bottles of vitamins I’ve gone through to do this? Those wellness capsules should keep me healthy into the twenty-sixth century. But I can’t give up cosmetics. With all my age spotting marks of maturity, I don’t want to play connect the dots if I have too much time on my hands and no makeup.

I analyzed the extent of these cataclysmic changes and my coverage was eventually cut short, which meant being finally released from the four people who held me hostage. And if it hadn’t been for my decision to claim homesickness, I’d still be there. I left the restorative shop to meet a girlfriend for lunch. When she saw me she said, “For the love of God girl! Unless you want to work with Bozo, you might wanna go easy on the face paint.”

MY FOUR HOURS OF FAME

Stardom is a many splendored thing for those of you who thought it might be love. Love is only included if you’re making ten million dollars per film and you’ve got a barge sized air conditioned trailer for resting in between shoots.

In an all too brief period in my past, I got a call to be an extra in a Verizon commercial. I’d like to point out that it was my four infamous hours of derogation, which gave me unrealistic expectations about ever getting a CAA award for commercial acting. It was probably the one hundred and fifty buck payment that I wanted at the time, and a teensy wonderment of the starry life. They could have gotten a known Hollywood actress to do it, but it would have likely cost them one hundred and fifty thousand. Instead, they called me. I’m sure it wasn’t my looks or my not-so-formal training in theatre arts that got me the coveted role. So many of us have the word sucker written on our profiles. I did wonder if this was how Elizabeth Taylor got started. Although I was pretty certain it wasn’t how porn stars began their illustrious careers.

I arrived to the designated site and was re-directed to a desert ranch, then rerouted again by bus to the actual filming area in the middle of flipping nowhere. What I didn’t know was that I was one of approximately two hundred extras which basically made me a microbiotic speck in the crowd. We were divided up and standing patiently atop two arid alps sweating profusely, waiting for the megaphones yell of “action.” Talk about being hot in suburban Hollywood. It must have been a hundred degree day and my Lady Speed Stick decided not to provide me with proper perspiration abolishment. I guess I was going for the simmering sautéed look, standing next to others whose shower power and deodorants weren’t working as well. But this wasn’t exactly the time for product comparison. They wanted a diverse group, so they gave us several choices of things to wear. Tuxedo, evening gown, casual wear. It was a good thing I picked casual wear and not a tuxedo. Black and intense heat result in clothing to skin fusion. I swore Satan was there and brought his weather with him.

I should have crammed my upper mounds into that much needed sports bra. However they did say to wear close toed shoes. That’s because sticks and stones could break my lovely toe bones and desert rats could use them for snacking. Several girls decided to go with the glam look inside their full length formal dresses and heels. I took every opportunity to thank the dear Lord for steering me towards a sleeveless top and sneakers. With all the heat suffocating togetherness, one guy keeled over from dehydration while another turned swiftly trying to catch him and almost knocked out my front tooth. Teeth are very important if I want to look ravishing on red carpets, eat meat, or if I don’t want to appear homeless.

All of us were ordered to charge down these huge hills towards one particular person who was holding a cell phone. It would have helped if that person had been Jimmy Smits, giving me a large bit of motivation. At one point of good audio confidence, the main character yelled, “I can sure hear you now!” How could he not hear the storm of ignominious two legged creatures aimed right for him. I finally understood the term cattle call when we looked like a large herd of livestock dizzily stampeding and stirring up dust, along with avoiding tumbleweeds and wild critters, and producing an extraordinary public display of respiratory wheezing. It was good training for when I become a trespassing rancher, or a cow, chewing my cud and qualifying as the laughing stock. I’m sure I spoke for a lot of us when I yelled back, “Can you talk into my good ear? The left one is loaded with soot!” I was told earlier that day to respect my fellow smelly stampeders. But a cattle prod would have come in strappingly handy. I wanted to be insured by the mafia since their slogan is… You hit her, we hit you.

My repeated cries to get recliners for in between takes went completely ignored. I wasn’t the only one who showed up with a work place gripe. One guy wanted pizza delivered. Speaking of nourishment, vendors were set up selling foods that were death threats. I simply wanted to be sipping something very wet and succulent. I was pretty sure it was martini-thirty somewhere. We were lucky if we got water.

We must have galloped up and down those hills ten times. Trying to stay focused on the onerous task at foot, it seemed clear enough that I was hanging on to this simmering spotlight by a breakable thread. By the time we were finished, we all looked like red-eyed emaciated migrant workers from Death Valley. I received the lovely parting present of a sinus infection that took the bulk of my paycheck. The day did nothing to initiate feelings of wealth or stardom. Although it did initiate the need for getting off my sore feet and soaking in hot sudsy bath water. I held out hope that I would see just one strand of my windblown hair in that commercial. As it turned out, I only saw the commercial once and never saw myself in it. I take that back. I was the one running. We did totally resemble a cattle drive, only the trail boss wasn’t riding a horse. He preferred leading the pack from his luxury limo.

Even if I were to get another job offer that requires running and sweating on the set, I’d have to tell them that from now on I will get my four hours of fame the normal way. Under surveillance cameras.

WILL WORK FOR SOCKS

It’s been the American horror story, that paranormal activity within laundry rooms on those solemn occasions when socks come up missing. I have owned about four thousand elastic hair bands in my lifetime and guess how many I have now? Not counting the ones our elastic fetished feline vomited up or flung with her paws into oblivion. No one wants to sense the slow agonizing fury of departure. Socks are no different.

If you’ve been lucky enough to go to your dryer and pull out matching sole mates, then you’re doing far better than most people. There might be hundreds who have their heads bowed in prayerful appreciation when their foot wrapping comes out of dry rotation with its twin. I am in awe of the few, the proud, the machines that consistently pop out pairs. I helped my mother with laundering and that was never the case. She interrupted my playtime to tell me it was hunting season, like I was suppose be socktually stimulated and turn into a footsie wear detective. As if it was an attempt to associate me with another behavioral trait of carelessness.

I wondered if this is how the phrase “sock it to me” originated. Chances were that the socks wound up pasted to the washer or dryer drum during their whirl, or were suctioned inside a trouser leg. If missing socks didn’t resurface within the first five minutes, the recovery rate would therefore be slim to zero. Mom would be mourning the losses then go broke buying more. I suspected that they were abducted by hand puppeteers, or by aliens. Or by brothers who used them as dog dickeys.

Mom originally delegated this daunting dryer task to me, then after many missing socks, demoted me to grimy laundry washing. There was something always to be said about dirty socks. My siblings would saunter into the laundry room after trailing through the grungy pumice paths of outside soil, or doing risky business Tom Cruise style and sliding on unwashed floors. You could tell by the flex of their feet that I wasn’t orgasmic. I was never one to condone a hot n’ sweaty socks scene, although I didn’t care who died in them as long as I didn’t have to remove them from the bodies and place them in the washing machine. If cringing was a color, it would be dismal smelly brown.

I don’t know how my mother ever did keep track of ten children and socks. The puzzlement continued when I had kids of my own and came to the conclusion that I owned both front loading and spin cycling knitivores. Socks were eaten then somehow mysteriously disappeared into nowhere. Today it is trendy to wear unmatched socks. How I wish it was modish way back when I was on a mission to send my kids off to school in paired footwear, only to find out that I walked to the bus stop with my shirt on inside out or my shoes on backwards. Although I must say that it’s far more unfashionable wearing socks with flip flops.

Living in Michigan part of my life, I had foot mittens made from virgin wool. Opposed to what? Socks made from promiscuous sheep? Now I’m not one to tout the virtues of certain fiber material. But no itch, no bitch. I prefer cotton over wool. And polyester. And nylon. Acrylics should be reserved for painting. If mine were merino, I would appear spasmodic with bouts of severe scratching. I embodied enough genetic material to constitute the genome of a woolly mammoth living in the permafrostic ice age. I’m sure those animals became extinct because they had too much fleece in their pathway of procreating. I wore any kinds of knee socks so I wouldn’t have to shave the jungle on my shins. Of course with it came the worst cases of staticshockophobia when I wore socks that had no fabric softening. I only wish I’d been the one to invent dryer sheets first. All I needed to do was throw a bunch of mints into socks, coat them with hair conditioner, tie them up, and I’d be making millions as well.

I swore I would never date a man who wore socks to bed. Luckily that’s all my boyfriend wears. I wear them myself whenever I have unsexy chipped nail polish and haven’t had time to get a pedicure. I can never have enough warmth for my tootsies. And it sure helps to have socks for traction when you’re slipping and sliding around on satin sheets. Who knows if Hanes will make them my way and come out with Cheetah prints for the most masculine of men. There’s nothing sexier than seeing Deedle Deedle Dumpling in a pair of bestial prints, bringing out the total animal in him. Hopefully he will never get cold feet. My husband owned a variety of socks for different days. I always knew which pair was for golfing because of the hole in one. He bought crimson colored low cuts which totally spelled eroticism. Although not quite the case after I noticed Red Sox printed on them.

It takes a lot of hard earned paychecks to stay supplied with those important things in life like food, socks, and hair bands. In the interest of sock safety, washers and dryers should have their own tracking system. I did have the brainstorm of opening a Sockorama, for those whose fallen comrades have flown the proverbial laundry coop. I figured it is my patriotic duty to provide a system where you can drop off your onesies and pick up a pair for free. Either that, or start a California Sock Exchange and offer crazy days of trading.

HAPPILY NEVER AFTER

When my boyfriend’s mother was still alive, he took her into the Emergency ward after she suffered shortness of breath. While laying on a gurney during the medical evaluation, the nurse left the room for a moment and my beau pulled the sheet over his mom’s head. She yelled, “Dammit Bob. That’s not funny!” Apparently he thought it was humorous, as did the nurse when she caught him doing his comic act. Knowing my beau, he will find it hysterical if at some point his own son pulls a sheet over his still breathing body. He is all about partaking in any prank and is quick with witty repartees. I can’t discredit his mother’s reputation for being a comedienne herself. When the doctor told her she was out of the woods, she said, “That explains the cement and crosswalks.”

Another male friend was talking to me about his aging mother. In front of a crowd of family members, she lifted her blouse and flashed her deflated balloons. I told him, “That’ll be me one day! I’ll just make sure I’m wearing a Wonder-bra when I’m entertaining people.” I can only hope that any devout members of my audience won’t cast judgment on me when I’m older and possibly posing nude… boobs. Some dreamers say life begins at 60. Let me tell you, that statement did not come from any sisterhood member of shrinking jeans. Although growing older can be fun if you do it with just the right people. I’d hate to miss the climactic opportunity to spoof the next person right up until the end.

In talking with my father after his trip to the hospital with an attack of angina, his doctor told him, “Only the good die young. “ Dad responded, “Then I guess I have awhile to go.” He said it’s uncontrollable entering the golden years without using the F words. Flab, feebleness, fatigue, farts n’ flashes. I need to concentrate on faith, fellowship, fitness, facelifts, and keeping my falsies in place. I will swear right now that I won’t be an insurgent senior who goes around baptizing people with my martini mixture. Who knows if I’ll be venturing out into the streets driving like some fast train tearing through speed bumps. That’s when red lights really mess up a cheerful joy ride. When I die, I want to go tranquilly. Not like those jumpy screeching pedestrians I almost wiped out on sidewalks. On the other hand, I could be sitting around heckling hideously and freebasing powdered sugar.

I will save myself some big bucks on doctor visits by going through airport security for those free body screenings. Yet anyone handling my bags may be in for a flabby surprise. I’ll remind them of my right to bear big arms, and legs. I’ll walk in with a headscarf and the mere mention of the Middle East. Hopefully the medical examiners will have some sort of date rape drinks and sedation on hand when they do the pat down and endoscopy. Some senior women might say, “Back off buster,” while thrill seeking people like myself might be thoroughly delighted having someone go to second and third base. I have never aspired to be a gastronaut, but I must warn them that the release of my internal vapors might make a sizable explosion.

A lot of thought has gone into this grim tradition of maturing quickly, considering the fact that I was just 20 a few years ago. And especially since I have a career placing seniors in homes during hours I’m not writing, washing down martinis, or strolling through sprinkler systems having a wet T-shirt contest with myself. It’s the thing to do when you still have peri-menopausal sweats that are hotter than the door handle to Hell. I also love a nice bath and try to take them without clothes on. In my not so far future, I hope bathing will still be a happy time and my helpers will be good natured about it. I’d also like to die feeling like Steven Tyler, where my family and friendly fans come to see me, crying tears of endearment and passing out from sheer idolism.

Other aging issues include choices of burial. Hopefully my offspring won’t take the cheap route by dicing their dearly departed into cubes that resemble chopped rump roast then spreads them over the sea, leaving me to rest eternally within the intestines of a ferocious mammal. This is based on plenty of doubt that my commemoration won’t be typical with everyone eating neighbor brought casserole comfort food and getting schnockered. It leaves me with a trifling undercurrent of paranoia wondering if I will be dinner for Orca. The less slaughterish alternative would be to kiss my fanny goodbye then be cremated and crammed inside a Build-A Bear. That way my loved ones can hug and hold me forever. My stiff cadaver could be stuffed at a new car assessment area and used as a corpse-crash-test-dummy when proofing automobiles for highway safety. I could also go ashes to jewelry through the cremation process of Life Gem. After all, diamonds are forever. Or, I just might immortalize myself by having my body bound into mummification like an Egyptian pharaoh, and have it set somewhere very special. I’ll figure out which of my friend’s front lawns will be my final resting place. I think of things like this when I’m having a dull day.

Senioritis has other symptoms like memory and hearing loss, and lack of stamina. My boyfriend is forever looking for things. And I’ll be watching a movie with him and go to the kitchen for two bowls of ice cream, either coming back forty-five minutes later with an omelette, or going out the back door towards Baskin Robbins. My beau and I have already decided never to get married. If at some point his heart is on fire with the burning impulse to wear a wedding band, I will discourage him from proposing on one knee. He may never get back up. One of his friends has a standard line he uses. “Run while you still can, Patty!”

SECOND CHANCES

I admit. I never bought my kids those ponies when they were young. Oh the regrets. But foal can be just as stubborn. And eight hundred pounds of dense bone and manure smelling Equidae eating me out of house and lawn is just something I can’t get from goldfish. It runs right along the same faulty line as my not purchasing a unicorn or a Pegasus.

There are many things I would do differently if I was brave and young enough to have another child. First of all, I would need to have more things in common with Maria von Trapp. Sounds of music and good vocals, unique ability to solve problems and sew clothes from heavy drapery material, postulance for entering an Abbey if things went haywire at home. And I would have a surrogate so I wasn’t left with belly marks that stretch from here to Hungary. I also have to say that making room for a cow in the house would sure make nursing simpler. All I would need to do is slip my baby underneath several udders and the suckling can feed all day while I do other things. It is a known fact that if you nipple feed, infants become dependent and eventually demand cell phones and a car.

Dysphoria filled my house along with toddler temperaments, something I never saw coming. My inquisitive little ones climbed every mountainous cabinet in the kitchen looking for Fruit Loops, following every rainbow color till they found the red ones. Then proceeded to ford through every ice cream container and left melted dairy distributed all over my fabric chairs. Of course eating at the same time they were applying glitter nail polish. I would never again turn my head for two seconds and have a tot turn on the filled blender without a lid, or have adorable dance-offs on counter tops. My youngest child was so cute, until I found cupcakes that I had baked for a birthday party in brown paper packages tied up with every last bit of decorating dental floss and was gifting them to the neighbor kids. Such upheaval lies in households when children are involved. This pearl of wisdom came after hearing my own parent’s loud shouts about community property and threatening divorce. I was so shaken until I realized they were playing Monopoly with my brothers. If they had their second chances, I wonder if they would have played board games.

In addition, I would save every last pre-school and kindergarten project my children ever made. Hell hath no fury like females who find their Popsicle stick and paper plate craftiness in the trash, underneath cantaloupe innards. One daughter thought a huge rope necklace would look good on me. I would have saved it if I’d known later on that I needed a noose. I’d make the decision to home school then bring in a competent drill sergeant to teach my youngsters a thing or two. Going to school requires bathing and brushing teeth, so I wouldn’t sound so psycho trying to get through habits of hygiene and pushing them off to the bus most mornings. I’d also have Humpty Dumpty themed parties and have all the kids fetch me pails of wine. I didn’t drink to escape. I drank to celebrate surviving the turmoil and the fact that I was still somewhat sane. On the bright side, at least I wasn’t addicted to heroin.

I realize things can happen and I adore spontaneity, provided pooping is properly executed on the potty chair and not on the floor. Plus, far was a long long way to run when my tot left drops of golden sun, or rather rain, all over the carpeting. A few of my favorite things did not include one daughter trying to make concrete by putting a whole box of Dawn dish detergent in the dishwasher. No one would want to see me become the Baroness of bad by pulling a Michael Jackson, dangling my darlings from a balcony. And I would wear glasses, regardless of whether or not I needed them. That way I wouldn’t get injured if my child wanted to show me things by shoving them directly into my corneas. I would certainly take my younguns to McDonald’s Playplace way more often. Sometimes the best moments in life are kids filled with happy crappy meals and being exposed to germy jungle gyms.

My girls never pulled whiskers on kittens. But at one point, one of my lovelies turned my bright copper kettle disastrously charred by walking away from the stove. Like mother like daughter I guess. I wouldn’t call chlorine the most sweet-smelling of all aromas, but it sure switched black socks into fifty shades of gray when unproperly washed by adolescents. Without any doubt, I would never again shop at Abercrombie & Fitch without a flashlight and good sound proofing earplugs. And I’d install surveillance cameras to see if my sixteen going on seventeener was doing her chores correctly. It would be truly entertaining to see a teenager washing the collie in the bathroom using a squirt bottle and Soft Scrub. I wouldn’t want to fall on the human cruelty scale when taking away privileges. So during a momentary lull in hostile takeovers, I’d soothe the situation by gathering my offspring together to sing supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Okay, that was Mary Poppins. Maybe I would adopt some of her nanny-ish characteristics as well.

Since having more children is inconceivably out of the question, there is still time to go to my grown girl’s homes and open the freezer door twenty times, climb on their countertops, chug some chocolate syrup, scribble on their walls, pour chlorine on their colored clothes, interrupt them incessantly, whine, pick my boogers, look at their messes and chime “so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night, I hate to go and leave this pretty sight!”