Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Elderly Girl's Ravishing Secrets to High-Spirited Longevity

     Elderly Girl is not even 100 years old yet, but for years, the media have been showing up every time she has a birthday to ask, “What is the secret of your longevity?” 
    Have you ever had some TV reporter, drowning in perfume and made up like a porn star, enter your living quarters and ply you with patronizing, intrusive questions while a gang of technical gorillas blinds you with lights and zooms in like you were some newly discovered virus? Elderly Girl is serving notice that this annual ritual is over. 
    She will share her secrets right now, for all to print out and tape to their boudoir doors, and then she will disappear, forevermore, from the tawdry spotlight of celebrity. One can only tolerate so much curiosity, envy and love.
Cranes symbolize a long, healthy life in China.
        Elderly Girl has seemingly been alive forever. No one can remember the last time she was dead. And yet, that ineffable girlishness shines through. It's understandable that the rapidly deteriorating women of the world would give anything to know how she has kept herself so stunningly well-preserved.
    But these reporters who descend upon Elderly Girl’s charmingly bohemian parlor don’t give a hoot about her, or her longevity. They probably think that with enough cosmetic surgery, they can look young for eternity (albeit in plasticized form) and will thus never die. Longevity is, like, a total non-issue for them.
    These twenty-something prima donnas undoubtedly sighed with dismay when they got the perennial Elderly Girl assignment (old people are so boring, god!!). They sped  over to her tree-shrouded abode in their fancy vans, assuming that the old broad would be so honored by their interest in her that she would be thrilled to get out of her bathrobe and provide a sparkly deluge of pithy sound bites so they could get the hell out of there and find some Nouveau Fusion eaterie for lunch.
    The problem with these girls who call themselves reporters is that they regard themselves as stars – which is why they got into the business – and they keep forgetting that it is the interview subject who is supposed to be the story, not them!  They don’t know or care a thing about journalism. They think the First Amendment is a classic rock band. They are “cultural celebs” whose expertise is in hair and makeup, particularly lip gloss, which is SO DAMN GLOSSY you can use their mouths as mirrors. 
    During the time that they should graciously be chatting with the interviewee -- to warm her up and calm her down – while things are being set up, they are instead checking and rechecking themselves in the monitor to be sure the new blonde highlights are getting the attention they deserve, and to ensure that their cheekbones and bosoms have the desired prominence. Then they get out their hand mirrors one last time to gauge the intensity of their eyeshadow, froster and blush and to assure themselves that no lipstick or cinnamon-latte foam is on their blindingly white teeth. Out comes the eyebrow comb, to give one final upsweep.
    Meanwhile, Elderly Girl is sitting there, needing to pee, dying to get out of these stupid clothes and back into her robe, waiting to get this whole thing over with, exhausted already to think that she’ll have to do this at least 20 times more in the next week or so as an international retinue of inquiring minds with microphones lines up at her door. 
    There will even be reporters from Asia asking about her longevity, and they are the world experts on the subject. How did this happen?

    Elderly Girl has become like Groundhog Day, and she feels as if she is living Groundhog Day -- again. Every year, there are stories the media feel compelled to cover – you know, Black Monday, etc. -- just because they always have, and because the competition will. Somehow Elderly Girl has been placed right up there with the Pearl Harbor anniversary, the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., and the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
    Perhaps the most exasperating aspect of the fashionista “journalists' ” self-glorifying interviewing technique is that Elderly Girl never actually gets to share the secrets of her longevity, which she would be happy to do if it would benefit mankind, etc. But once the glam girl sultrily and poutily and bosomly does her intro, reading – of course – from a teleprompter, she finally asks the pertinent question, and just as Elderly Girl gets going, Miss Power Suit says, “I’m sorry, but our time is up.”
   That line has been shamelessly stolen from the world of psychiatry. Isn’t there some sort of regulation against this psychopathic pilfering? Can’t these airheads even come up with their own catch-phrases?
    Anyway, Elderly Girl has elected from this day forward to bypass the corporate mass media of the world and deliver her secrets directly to you, the little people.
    They are not prescriptive; they are descriptive. If this wording confuses you: She isn’t giving advice, she’s just describing what has worked for her, OK? She’s doing this free of charge, so please don’t ask for a refund.

    One thing to keep in mind, ladies, is that we few, we proud, we Elderly Girls, have already had way more than our share of everything, including longevity. So Secret Number One is to be grateful for that. Elderly Girl certainly didn’t need Oprah to know that gratitude is good for you. 
    No functional brain magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is required – you can feel it. You are fabulous: Praise the Lord. (Elderly Girl doesn’t literally praise a being in whom she does not believe. Rather, when she is jogging – propelled by rock ‘n roll – she gazes up at the darkened sky and says, “Obrigada.”) (If he can't speak Portuguese, how can he be God?)
The longevity gene -- it's OK but the design isn't very original.
     It has become quite tiresome, hasn’t it – this cloying, obligatory questioning of oldsters about how they got so old, without even dying? Must we “senior citizens” really become oddities, mascots, Persons of Interest, little pets over whom society fawns and fondly chuckles for one day each year? We know we’re cute, but it’s none of anyone’s business. 
They have us performing like circus animals for their amusement.
    Our cuteness and our elderliness do not oblige us to be public figures, nor should they justify the media’s exploitation of us for ratings and financial gain. It’s not our job to have a twinkle in our eye that you can gushingly cite in your “reportage.” It’s not our job to be “sharp as a tack” or “awash in pastel memories of a bygone era.” Leave us alone, you whippersnappery twits.
    Elderly Girl has assigned a guard to her front door. His job is to shoot the media on sight. Just do not ever try to use her in your stupid way again. You’ll wind up with an ass-full of buckshot.

    You dear people out there who listen so intently and hopefully to the sage counsel of the elderly, in the hope that you too will experience the Ecstasy of Longevity, have heard all sorts of advice, much of it contradictory.
   One old coot credits cigars and Johnny Walker Red. Some wrinkly crones counsel remaining “productive” – what a despicable word. 
    There are those who recommend after-dinner strolls, meditation & compassion, crossword puzzles, lemon juice and cayenne pepper in warm water, coffee enemas (which do sound damned refreshing, although peppermint tea seems more so), and others insist that remaining “socially engaged” is key, when really, that just saps the lifeblood right out of you. 
     We poor, media-beleaguered oldfolks are obliged to pull something out of the hat – and mercifully, the sexpot reporters only give us time to utter, like, one word, so the public is prodded to try lard, wine, squats, CoEnzyme Q-10, one-nostril breathing, a raw egg in a shot of vodka before sunrise, horseradish, a poem a day, Reese’s pieces, ice-water baths, buckwheat-husk bed pillows, hanging upside-down, bee venom, sinus irrigation with garlic puree, everything in moderation, and everything you want, without giving a damn, etc., etc.
    One can’t reasonably argue with these approaches. They may or may not explain someone’s longevity. But Elderly Girl has always insisted on conjuring up her own ideas, if only to live up to her reputation for originality.
The Buddhist god of longevity, immersed in flowers and girls.
    Let’s get the “wholesome living” issue out of the way right this minute. Elderly Girl consumes the most beautiful, nutrition-packed food imaginable. She jogs every day, and she pumps iron like a testosterone-mad teenager. But she isn’t engaging in this lifestyle to promote longevity. That would be trite, and there would probably be some cosmic backlash if she were, just to make her look foolish.
    “Jogger Dies from Jogging” the headlines would say. “Stampede of Beef Cattle Kills Vegetarian."
    Elderly Girl has little faith that all these things that are “good for you” really make much difference. But she is a person with an aesthetic sensibility and a focused intellect. Her diet and exercise represent a beautiful and intelligent way of life. They make her feel good, just as good foreign films, thunderstorms and kittens do. Living longer is not the motivation.  
    She has her own ideas about longevity – ideas that aren’t spouted by every cute old centenarian in a wheelchair or every researcher who wants to appear on the national news.
    She is obliged to offer a whole new mindset, because she is Elderly Girl, a true outlaw in today’s cookie-cutter world.
    Elderly Girl’s premise, which is original to her (as so many things in the world are, unbeknownst to the masses) is that our thoughts and behavior can bedevil the normal physiology of the aging process. 
    Our brains orchestrate aging, but we can orchestrate our brains. We can disrupt the normal degenerative chemistry within our DNA so profoundly -- by deliberately, concertedly engaging in “age inappropriate” behavior --  that our internal aging “overseer” begins staggering around cluelessly, helplessly, moronically -- like Kramer on “Seinfeld”  --  and is therefore unable to snip away at our telomeres, which protect our chromosomes from the aging process. The little rascal loses his ability to enfeeble and then kill us.  He's not all that bright.
    Meanwhile, we go on our merry way, our whacked-out adolescent behavior neurochemically keeping our brains, and thus the rest of us, from aging normally (if at all).
    Neurogenesis is real. Everything you do, feel and learn creates new brain cells, no matter how old you are. You can create old-person cells (knitting, playing bingo) or young-person cells (blogging, playing Red Rover, rock climbing, going to a midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”), depending on how willing you are to behave in ways that might be regarded as preposterous. 
    But who cares if you are regarded as preposterous? Not caring is, in itself, a secret to longevity.
China combines Santa and the god of longevity into one. Totally adorable!
    You can dwell on old memories or create new ones. You can be respectable or you can be controversial. You can take a cruise or make waves. You can live by the rules or rewrite the rule book.
    These are brain-changing choices. They affect longevity far more than what you eat for breakfast.
    You can sit there watching “Judge Judy,” or you can drop water balloons from the roof of a downtown skyscraper. Your brain will formulate its cellular makeup accordingly.
    Please be advised that Elderly Girl’s Secrets to Longevity are not intended for those who are normal, mature, psychologically intact people. Those folks wouldn’t live through a cup of tea with Elderly Girl, much less adopt her strategies for living long and brilliantly. Here are a few tips to get you on the road to a girlish elderliness:

    *Decide that you really don’t care whether you live or die. Don’t cling to life. Don’t think about aging. If you ignore it, it will ignore you. An earnest, calculated approach to keeping yourself alive will only get you slapped down.

    *Swear.  Profanity is good for you. Elderly Girl has felt it in her bones for 50 years, but science has finally confirmed it. Profanity is cleansing. It releases the good chemicals and purges the venom. You will also bring a moment of comic relief to the world if you, as a dear old person, erupt into a swearing frenzy. This feeling of contributing to society will also be beneficial to you.   

    *Exult in the relief that you are elderly and that you need not worry about the long-range problems of humanity and the planet Earth. Everything is going straight to hell, and it’s going to get very ugly, but you’ll already be fast asleep.
       Thank goodness you got to do your thing while the globe was in reasonably good working order. There were still trees, food, predictable weather and lots of species. We did not spend our lives immersed in terror, poison, porn and economic panic. The way things are headed, you don’t want too much longevity, but the knowledge that you’ll be spared the coming conflagration will give you more than enough.

    *Revert to your adolescent brain. If “teens themselves can learn to shape and expedite their own brain maturation,” as Harvard researchers claim, so can we Elderly Girls engage in a bona fide cerebral “regression.” They can speed forward, we can speed back. It’s all a matter of focus and desire.
    The adolescent brain is characterized by risk-taking, novelty-seeking, impulsivity, sensation-seeking and emotional overload. Does this not sound like a blast? Is this not a ride you’d like to get on, rather than loping around, elderly-style? 
    Teens respond from the gut. They laugh their asses off, they live with intensity, they are constantly hugging and making a commotion, and they just don’t feel like being all that responsible. Or would you rather sit on your pink velvet chair and embroider?
    Locate the “previous version” button in your brain and keep hitting it until the adolescent configuration appears. Seek some thrills! Take some risks! Be a brat! Longevity will ensue.

    *Strut. Elderly Girl has learned, through exhaustive trial and error, that if you will make an effort to convey youthiness through your physicality, it will prolong your vigor. It is natural for us to slow down, hunch over, look at the ground as our bodies attempt to slouch toward the abyss.
    Resist! Get out of your car, stand up straight, and stride with energy and attitude into the grocery store. Swing your hips. Toss your hair. Keep that beautiful chin up.
    Walk like a man. Walk like a model. Walk like Katie Couric, whose clickity-clacking stilettoes invoked terror in everyone up and down the hall at the network.
    Look around. Notice beauty. Notice anguish. Notice babies. Notice people in need of help, and help them with youthful ease and confidence. Notice the dignity of people doing their lousy jobs and the fatigue of people navigating this retail beast that has tens of thousands of items from which to choose – most of them pure garbage.
    Notice the Muzak, and bounce along to it, chewing your gum with a bit too much animation. Notice the tattoos and piercings on all those cute young people, and vow to get both by your 65th birthday. In the meantime, pat those kids on the back and say, “Cool tats,” “Brilliant bod mods.”

    *Tempt fate. Live dangerously. Be fearless. You’ll have to pretend at first, but before long, it will be true. Walk through the “bad part of town” alone, at night, singing “Super Freak.” Stomp toward a bunch of skinheads who are behaving in a menacing way toward a lovely middle-aged black couple, and say, “Back the fuck off, or I’ll kick your balls all the way up to your prefrontal cortex, if you even have brains, you pathetic bullies.”
    Go out for a long, brisk walk as lightning crackles and sparks all around you. Challenge God to prove he exists by striking you down. He never does! He lets you keep on getting even more elderly, just to remind you who’s calling the shots (he thinks HE is!).
    God, not that there is a god, but if he really is up there, he seems to be susceptible to reverse psychology. He’s been said to have a “sick sense of humor” (in some ‘80s alt rock song). He is also a practitioner of irony, and most of the time it’s cruel irony. So you have to be proactive when you’re dealing with the fool.

    *Sleep in the nude, and wear handsome PJs all day. Elderly Girl has been living this Marilyn Monroe lifestyle for quite some time, and it shows. It bestows upon her a feeling of sensuality and decadence. Even if you’re ninety, you can have that kittenish, lavish, voluptuous Monroe aura.

    *When you leave home, wear running shoes. You’ll readily see why, once you’ve tried out a pair. They can take years, even decades, off of the way you move. They put a bounce in your step that is utterly delightful. Their sturdiness and support give you physical confidence. Jazziness ensues. 
    Elderly Girl goes barefoot at home. It makes her feel cool and bohemian and not elderly at all.

     *Stop wearing underwear! Who invented this irritating, pointless aspect of “civilized life”? Just someone looking to get rich, we must assume. Don’t you find undies to be uncomfortable? Don’t they make you feel fat? If they don’t, try going a few days without them, and you’ll see what you’ve been missing. Animals have a longer life-span in a zoo than in the wild (although it is a terribly cruel life). But we girls have a longer life when we aren’t confined, and underwear is constraining. 
    Doesn’t it tell you something that when you remove these torture devices, they leave marks on your skin? Why would you choose to coop up some of your sweetest parts? Give them some air! Let ‘em flow, let ‘em blow. You’ll feel loose as a long-necked goose, and that, ladies, is not elderly.  

    *Continue to invoke your “time of the month.” Decades after her menses ended, Elderly Girl has continued to exploit this excuse whenever she needs it, and no one has ever dared to challenge her. Men, it seems, are hardwired to back away or run like hell when issues of PMS or menstruation arise. So if you find yourself being vicious, hysterical, intolerant or insensitive – or if you burst into tears for no reason – just say, “Sorry, it’s my time of the month,” and you’ll walk away unscathed. Having an escape hatch such as this prevents high levels of cortisol in the blood. This hormone is an enemy of youthfulness.
    *Get arrested. This is incredibly stimulating and intoxicating, a fact that has deliberately been withheld from the middle class. The big young men in uniforms, the guns, the interrogation, the ardent attempts to reason with you, the walkie-talkies and swirling lights, the thrillingly intimate process of fingerprinting, the handcuffs, the squad car, which throbs with urgency and power  – it is all engorged with eroticism. Plus, these young hunks treat you with greater consideration and respect than you’ve gotten in ages (if you’re white) (which Elderly Girl is, much to her dismay). They are just sick about the fact that such a luscious girl as you has gotten herself into this predicament. They’ll do whatever they can to extricate you. But you don’t want to be extricated – you need to get intricated. The whole episode will definitely do more for your overall health than a doctor visit, and it will cost less as well.

    *Declare your own personal war against our silly, wasteful, exploitative, unsustainable, corrupting consumer culture. Shop in second-hand stores and at garage sales for clothes and home decor.  Stalk grocery-store sales ruthlessly. Never pay full price for anything, and aim for less than half price. Don’t buy prepared or processed foods. They are poison, and they create the very processes in your body that cause aging.
   You can beat this beast at its own game, and still live with as much flair as some tycoon’s arm-candy wife. It requires strategic thinking, timing, a keen eye and creativity. It’s like cerebral gymnastics. It gives you a feeling of triumph and mastery. Very good for splashing your brain with the eau de toilette of youth.

    *Blog. Getting things “on paper” floods your brain with new insights. It forces you to think more deeply and to remember vividly. Before you know it, thousands of people from around the world will be “visiting you.” You will have an “audience,” as if you were Lady Gaga. You will have a “following,” as if you were the Dalai Lama. Having people come to your site is ever so much nicer than having them show up at your house. You don’t have to get dressed, or vacuum or prepare cocktails and a buffet. 
    Perhaps you have mused, "Is Elderly Girl even real, or is she some transvestite in the Philippines who is gaming us for kicks?" This sort of charade has been uncovered several times in the past, so it is reasonable to be wary.
    But rest assured, Elderly Girl has been exhaustively investigated by the authorities. They have determined that she is an agitator, a scathing critic of everything that the  military-industrial complex holds dear, and a "nascent" threat to the security of our dear Homeland, but she IS Elderly Girl, and they reluctantly admit to having become very fond of her. They are avid followers of her blog, of course.
    Blogging turns you into a performer, and performers are known for their longevity. You don’t want to let the fans down. The show must go on. You must go on. That is longevity.

    *Schedule days of abject immaturity as often as your lifestyle permits. Being mature is boring, it’s tiring and it ages you mercilessly. Immaturity fools your entire body chemistry, right down to the cellular level.
    Go skipping. This is really quite extraordinary. It is inherently young and happy, and it will make you feel that way, and those who see you will feel that way, and their feelings will come pouring into you, thereby doubling the impact.
    Sprawl back with a bottle of Heinekin and watch America’s Funniest Home videos. (It is helpful to learn how to laugh using only your diaphragm and your nose. The Brits do this all the time, and it’s horribly unattractive, but it’s far less hideous than all the lines you’ll get on your face if you laugh in the normal way).
    Play tricks. Boggle people’s minds with adolescent rants. Throw a fit and create a ruckus. It’s all good. It elicits the girlish part of Elderly Girl.

    *Find some poor sucker to whom you can relate – every day, and in excruciating detail -- your dreams. Dreams are magic. Most of us get little benefit from them; we let them slip away. Give voice to them. As you relive them, you will create for them a little resting place in your conscious mind, where you can probe their meanings and take pleasure in the luxuriance, the artful juxtapositions, the harrowing wonder-sickness that your incredible brain possesses. 
    Use your dreams to help you grasp what a deep, lucid, witty, creative, complex and sensitive creature you are. Your dreams aren’t elderly. Your dreams are ageless. Your dreams are YOU, probably more than is your waking self.  Do you remember Bobby Darin’s ‘50s song, “Dream Lover”? Be a dream lover, which ultimately means having self-esteem.

    *Take a taxi (or limo) to a gay disco. Get out there and dance. Become the new Bette, the new Liz, the new Liza. The boys will adore you, kiss your shoulders and cheeks, tell you that you’re divine, come over to your house and do your hair, play dress-up with you, whip up a luscious stir-fry dinner with tofu and basmati rice and then throw you on the bed for a session of tickles and snuggling. All of this is excellent for longevity. By the time he goes home (or maybe you’ll let him stay for a few days!) you’ll feel like you’re 25 years old. Someone really should do a double-blind study of the effects of gay men on female longevity. Elderly Girl believes they are substantial.

    Elderly Girl isn't through dispensing age defying advice! She is dreaming up new, ever-sexier and more controversial tactics with each waking hour! (http://kronstantinople.blogspot.com/2011/11/forever-young-elderly-girl-shares-her.html