August 25, 2008

Another Day Older and Deeper in Denial

By Bruce Cameron

I'm aging very well; so well, in fact, that I can do it in my sleep. I can wake up in the morning and see a face in the mirror that's decades older than the one that I remember putting to bed.

Like most people, I fight back against getting older, using medicine's most potent anti- aging agent: denial. So when my birthday came around recently, I told everyone that I wanted the passage of another year to be marked with absolutely no acknowledgement at all except presents. And OK, a party. With cake.

As I ponder my accumulated years, which I'm willing to admit is more than 30 - oh, who am I kidding, I'm not that old. Let's say I'm in my mid- to late 20s. In other words, I'm the same age as my daughter.

So anyway, as I ponder these years, which I've added the same way I've put on weight around my waist - surreptitiously, like a burglar coming into the house in the middle of the night, only a burglar who leaves stuff instead of taking it - I realize I've had enough.

That's right, when it comes to age, I'm good. I don't need any more. Give the rest of my maturity to someone who needs it, like, say, Lindsay Lohan. There's nothing to be gained by having me get older than I am right now. Indeed, as far as I'm concerned, we could have ended this nonsense 20 years ago, back when I could stand up without grunting like an Olympic weight lifter going for the gold.

I realize that if I stop aging, I might not be able to retire as soon as I want, which is last week. But columnists don't ever retire anyway, they just cease to be relevant. (By that standard, you could argue that I retired before I ever got started.)

Scientifically speaking, aging is the process wherein your body's cells decide they're tired of regenerating and want to do something else, like sag to the floor. Our cells are programmed from birth to undergo this transformation. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to halt the aging process, like die. If that strikes you as extreme, try doing an Internet search on "prevent aging." You'll come up with 625,000 articles. Read them all and you won't have time to age.

What I don't like about getting older is that I don't think I've done anything to deserve it. I'm not ready: Not only have I not accomplished everything I set out to do, but most of the things I've done I didn't set out to accomplish. When the Grim Reaper knocks, I'm going to have to tell him he'll just have to come back when I've finished my task list.

Yet as much as I don't like aging, I certainly wouldn't pass up an opportunity to do it again. There are about 8.2 million articles on the Internet about reincarnation - but don't worry, if you can't read them all in time, you can finish them in your next life.

I took an online quiz on a reincarnation Web site that informs me that when I come back in my next life, I'll be a rhinoceros. Great. Rhinos look old when they're born. I'll be even less popular in high school than I was last time, and my columns will all be late because I won't be able to type.

There are also more than a million articles about premature aging, which is ironic. Doesn't all aging feel premature? I realize the AARP wants us all to be old, but how about you - are you ready for it?

I expect I'll hear from a lot of people who will tell me they're "growing old gracefully." Well, I'm growing old the way I acted when I was 2 years old and my parents wanted me to take a bath.

Anyway, yeah, I had another birthday recently, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it.

I did like the presents, though. And the cake.

Originally published by Bruce Cameron.

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