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Middle Age, Spare Tires and Clean Plates: Something's Gotta Give


I'm too young to have an arthritic hip.

That's what I tell myself while I rub prescription gel in to numb a sharp, insistent pain that is most certainly not from arthritis.

I'm too young to need reading glasses, let alone go up in magnification, I say as I shop online for 1.5 strength "cheaters."

These lidocaine patches must be for someone else, I think while the lady at the pharmacy rings them up.

"Is there nothing I can do to slow this mudslide into decrepitude?" I ask the doctor as I sit in the disposable shorts they'd given me for the hip X-ray. The shorts have an elastic waistband, balloon out wide enough that a strong upward breeze could send me into flight and feel disturbingly comfortable. I consider sneaking them home in my purse.

"You could always lose weight," the doctor answers, slowly, bracing for impact.


I'm not insulted, though I am depressed.

What's the secret? What's the pill, the exercise, the specialty diet that works where others don't?

"Count calories. When we get older, we can't eat the same way we used to."

My mind wanders back, wistfully, to high school, when I'd have an orange juice and a Nutty Buddy from the vending machine for breakfast. At least it was high in vitamin C.


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