Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pondering the Big Questions

I was wandering around the book store, and, perhaps inspired by the books, asking myself all the big questions. Are accurate records kept of all our deeds, and if so, how are these records used? Will I ever find out what happens when you die, or will I never get an answer, because I'll be dead? Is this why so many people are either religious or Atheists? So they won't have to confront the possibility of never knowing? Is there such a thing as an unselfish good deed?

Most importantly, I asked myself, what even is perfect skin, and can it ever be attained? What if science figured it out earlier today, and I haven't heard yet? When will I hear, if at all? Maybe the movie stars are keeping it from us. When the terrible problem of imperfect skin has finally been solved, will it be too late for me? If so, will I be able to appreciate it anyway? Once again, I asked myself, is there such a thing as an unselfish good deed, like appreciating a scientific advancement from which you yourself cannot benefit? 

I'm not apologizing for my focus on the external. I will, however, point out that I am the victim of a massive and pointed marketing campaign designed expressly to make me hate everything about my appearance, and also that I'm obviously channeling my fear of death into an obsession with my skin. We in the mental health field call that transference. To tell you the truth, I'm surprised you didn't already know that. With that out of the way, I'll continue. 

At that very moment, a woman walked by me. She was at least 20 years my senior, but her skin looked better than mine has in...ever. As someone who developed frown lines at 19 from being such a thinka, a 60-year-old woman with nary a wrinkle stood out. How did I know her age, when it was so at odds with her skin? That's another question I can't answer. I just knew. 

Here was an opportunity to answer the very question I'd been pondering! This must be fate, but I'd already spent too much time considering how to approach her, and she was gone. 

I should find her, I thought. She's somewhere here in the store. It will be a compliment to her, and who knows? She might be able to give me the ageless skin I so long for. We'd both benefit. 

But I knew - I knew - I would bungle it. Occasionally, I have been able to pull off saying wildly inappropriate things to people with the grace and charm of the klutzy main character in a romantic comedy. But I could feel it in my bones, that wasn't going to happen here. I would make an enormous fool of myself, and make her terribly uncomfortable in the process. 

When I saw she had gotten in line, I grabbed a Calvin and Hobbs book for my kids so I'd have an excuse to stand behind her. I was hoping she'd turn around, start up a conversation, and I could say something like, "You probably noticed I was looking at you. Well, it's because I'd been thinking about perfect skin. Can it ever really exist???? And then there you were, perfect skin and all. What's your secret?" 

Instead, she looked straight ahead, the way you do when it's clear you've somehow caught the attention of a crazy person. 

It's just as well, for in my heart, I know exactly what the secret to perfect skin is. 

Genetics.