Wrinkled Wisdom – New “Words”?  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Sure, English is a living language. So it makes sense for Merriam-Webster to continually update its dictionary with new words and phrases. It just added a whopping 370, as its editor notes, “to capture the language as it is used.” We love words.  But, some of these???  Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly. Oh, BTW, we borrowed our title from a “spaghetti western,” a phrase that made it into Merriam-Webster decades ago but is now pejorative for low-budget Western films made overseas. Yikes!

Shrinkflation. Good one! It describes how companies are adding to their bottom line by reducing the size or quantity of a product while charging us the same price. Shrinkflation didn’t fool us for long. We noticed when our junk food ran out faster. 

“Side hustle” carries some lingering negative connotations for us. But, today, it describes work done in addition to a person’s primary job…a definite help during this inflationary period but not really of interest to we retired folks.

Covid sure was responsible for a bunch of the dictionary additions. Okay, we’ll go with “subvariant.”  But, we don’t think “booster dose,” “false negative,” and “false positive” are needed new phrases. They simply put together two common words to form a phrase we easily figured out! 

We missed “dumbphone.” But since we have smartphones, we got it. The “supply chain” phrase sure hits home when we can’t find some of our favorite stuff at the grocery. And every time we hear the word “metaverse,” we roll our eyes. We are not big Zuckerberg fans.

Apparently we are not on social media enough because we have never heard the word “adorkable,” which pretty much means awkward or quirky in an adorable way. Okay, cute. 

But, “yeet”? We’ll put that one in the bad category. It describes tossing an item violently. It can also be used as an interjection. Example: After finishing her soda, Harriet proceeded to “yeet” it into the trash while shouting “yeet.” We’ll take a pass.

“Cringe” has been hijacked and is now slang for embarrassing and awkward. Cringe to us means wincing in disgust. If we do cringe in disgust now, are we now cringy??? More bad.

We enjoyed MacGyver, who tackled high-risk missions around the world, and Will Forte’s MacGruber skits on Saturday Night Live. MacGruber bungled deactivating ticking bombs blowing everyone up. Now “MacGyver” is a VERB!?  It’s used to describe making or fixing something with whatever you have on hand. Clever or just huh???

Falling into the ugly category are some of the new “words” created through initialism—acronyms created from the first letters of the words. Okay, we bought into OMG, LOL, TMI, and BTW; and, TBH, this shorthand saves a bunch of typing. Catch that last one? Be honest!

ICYMI is another one of the additions, in case you missed it. Also, FTW…for the win.” It’s defined as an enthusiastic emphasis to the end of a comment and often meant sarcastically. No, not interested. 

OMG! ICYMI! Almost forgot the food world’s influence on the dictionary additions. “Pumpkin spice” finally made it as well as “oat milk” and “plant-based.”  Heh, Merriam-Webster, pretty slow on these additions. Though look for a change in the “oat milk” phrase if farmers get a new law passed that forbids non-dairy products from being labeled milk!

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  Enjoy the “dawn chorus”—the singing of the birds that precedes and follows sunrise. Sweet! Start memorizing these new acronyms, words, and phrases if you want to be able to do crossword puzzles in the future. Only getting acronyms like NASA won’t cut it. Knowing “terraform” will help if the clue is transforming a planet to support human life. Doubt that will happen, so every day enjoy the here and now!

P.S. Geez, Merriam-Webster, science fiction fans have known the term “terraform” forever! You were late on that one too

Wrinkled Wisdom – What? That Was An Old Wives’ Tale??

Eating bread crusts will make your hair curly. You could end up with a watermelon growing in your stomach if you eat the seeds. Most of us grew up hearing these old wives’ tales.

We want to be the generation that gives valuable guidance to the younger generation. So, we thought we would have some fun with old wives’ tales, myths, and outdated figments of someone’s imagination. How did we miss that? It’s not true? Who knew?

Cracking joints does not result in arthritis. We don’t care. Don’t do it. And, not because we suffer from misophonia—the hatred of sound.  It’s just irritating!! Get rid of those gas bubbles out of our earshot. 

Sad to say chocolate is not an aphrodisiac. Again, we don’t care. We will keep eating dark chocolate, justifying our intake on research linking it to cancer prevention and improved cognitive function. Just kidding. We crave it. Oh, and there could always be a placebo effect.

Feed a cold, starve a fever. Or was it, starve a cold and feed a fever? We never got this straight and eat when we feel like it, which is good. Because, whichever it is, it isn’t true.

Despite what our mothers said and despite what we told our children, you do not really lose heat through your head. This pearl of motherly wisdom is false. Wear a winter hat for style not health.

Yay! You can use expired medicines. In a study done for the Army, it was found most medicines last for at least five years and some can last as long as 15 years. Always good to have that leftover painkiller when you get a toothache over the weekend.

“An apple a day will keep the doctor away” cuts both ways. Eating lots of apples can lower the risk of some chronic diseases and cut down on the need for some prescription medicines. But, they aren’t a cure-all and can cause digestive issues. That seems to be a plus for the younger generation that apparently enjoys recording the sounds of expelling intestinal gas and posting it online. We’ll refrain from using the common term that rhymes with “darts.” 

You do not need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Whew! All that water equals lots of trips to the john. Doctors advise cutting back liquids two hours before going to sleep if you don’t want to stumble out of bed in the middle of the night. Alert!  Oldies sometimes don’t recognize thirst and we can get dehydrated more easily.

Okay, okay. Most of us wouldn’t sit on a public toilet without using a paper seat cover. Plop down on a public john crawling with who knows what without protection? Yuck! Whoops, wrong! Using a paper toilet seat cover doesn’t do much and we’re not likely to catch an infection from a toilet. For perspective, researchers say our cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. Studies also show there are lots of germs on our handbags. Two more things we need to disinfect. Ugh.

How many times did your mom tell you when you were a kid that you couldn’t swim after eating? If you are still willing to show up in public wearing a bathing suit, rest assured you can have your lunch and jump in the pool, lake, or ocean. Maybe skip the wine.

“Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.”  Yes, we know it’s not true, but we still bend down and grab it. Habit! And, we’ve long heard that “terrible things come in threes” and know it’s a myth, but sometimes it sure feels true!

We think it’s time to retire the phrase old wives’ tales; it’s sexist. Maybe just refer to stuff as misconceptions. And, it’s ageist. If the younger generation paid more attention to what oldies really have to say today, their future would look brighter!

Our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  Cover those public toilet seats if it makes you happy. Yes, still drink lots of water and eat lots of apples. Forget that hair of the dog morning cocktail; it will only delay that hangover. And, remember what your grandmom told you that is on target. Be smart. Be happy. Be kind. Shoulders back; chin up. And, remember, you won’t get anywhere without asking for it.

Wrinkled Wisdom: Coffins, Cremation, or Composting?

Okay, we’re all getting up there. Guess it’s a good time to give the kids copies of our wills and final directives, and get ready for some “interesting” conversations. One of those conversations will contain a threat. If you dare use any unflattering pictures of us, we will haunt you mercilessly from the grave! Hmmm…the grave? That brings us to the big question and to our title: coffin, cremation, or composting?

Being buried in a coffin was the way it was when we were growing up.  And, there was always a family plot to ensure family members shared burial spaces. Our great grandparents were laid out in coffins at home. The wake the night before the funeral included lots and lots of alcohol.  Those traditions morphed into a viewing at the funeral home the eve of a church funeral service. Then to the graveside ceremony, often limited to family only.  

And, let’s get the terminology correct. Coffins are tapered to conform to the shape of the human form. They have removable lids. Caskets have lids with hinges and have rails to make moving them easier. The average cost of a coffin is between $2,000 and $5,000. Some go for as much as $10,000!  Eco caskets are made of materials that quickly degrade once in the ground and cost less. Good reason to go green!

But, do we really want people to see our embalmed head with bad hair and a terrible make-up job lying in an open casket?

Thankfully, cremation has burned its way into popularity.  Oh, wait. The Romans practiced cremation centuries ago. But, they did things a little differently. At a cremation funeral, the heir lit a pyre with a torch, his face averted as the fire consumed the corpse. The Romans obviously loved drama.

Cemeteries are hurting for space and the family plot is chockful. Ashes in urns are space-effective and friends and relatives can still visit you, propped up on a loved-one’s shelf. If your kids are creative, they can have some of your ashes pressed into jewelry, glass art, and sun catchers, which they can give as gifts. Just an idea!

Ashes can also become part of an artificial reef, mixed with ink for a tattoo, sent into space, buried in a biodegradable urn, or turned into a vinyl record. Yes, a vinyl record! A guy from the UK started And Vinyly, thinking of it as sort of a joke.  He realized what he had created when people started using the records not only to preserve remains, but to include their loved ones stories and memories for posterity. Cool!

Cremation scenes stole the show in lots of movies we grew up with. Remember the Big Lebowski when John Goodman is tossing a friend’s ashes out of a Folgers Coffee can and the wind blows them all over Jeff Bridges? Bridges’ look is priceless and can still be found all over the internet.

The newest trend, especially appealing to the green–minded, is composting bodies. The body is placed into a stainless steel vessel with wood chips, alfalfa, and straw. Same concept as backyard composting of food scraps and yard waste. Well, sorta. It is, after all, a dead body so we don’t recommend this at home. Microbes that naturally occur on the plant material and on and in the body then power a transformation into soil. One advocate describes it as a way to create life from death. There’s a website, Green Burial Council, dedicated to helping you find a certified professional for this after-life option.

Just know these are not body farms, where scientists study the process of human decomposition using donated, nude, dead bodies. One of their main research aims is to make it easier for pathologists to determine a corpse’s time of death. Wow!  Our dead bodies can help solve murders???

Our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  Rethink whether you want to end up in the ground, as part of the ground, or on a shelf. Make sure you have those flattering photos saved for the party and obit —which you should write!!!  We know the kids don’t want our stuff, but make a list of what you own that’s valuable. They don’t have a clue. And, make one of them swear on your grave that they will keep your parents’ first chair or other family heirlooms. They may not be worth much, but the stories that go along with them sure are.

P.S.  In one version of Samuel Morse’s telegraph code, LOL meant “loss of life.” Guess the old saying is true: “There is nothing permanent except change.” Laugh out loud.

Wrinkled Wisdom: Death and the Tone-Deaf

In the 1980 movie Fame, the theme song included the lyrics: “I’m gonna live forever.” The British rock band Queen took the opposite tact in their 1986 song “Who Wants to Live Forever?”

The book of Genesis claims that Noah lived to be 950 years old and that Adam lived to be 930.  At odds with those numbers, the bible quotes the Lord saying, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Who knew?  Right on!  Recent research indicates that the maximum life spans for humans are now projected to be between 120 and 150 years. OMG! That’s a lot of social security dollars and makes IRAs look pretty useless.

Living longer also means attending a lot more funerals. That made us think. Kudos to those who warn friends, who have recently lost a loved one, to prepare for the tone-deaf comments that unthinkingly tumble out of some peoples’ mouths. Maybe all of us could use some tips about what to say to the one fighting back tears. But, first, a sampling of the tone-deaf remarks made to grieving friends.

Are you going to get married again? Huh?? My husband has been dead for less than a week! No, I’m busy planning his graveside ceremony, dealing with paperwork, and trying to keep breathing. Why aren’t you having the memorial service at the club? He didn’t like the club. But, he won’t be there.  What?? You can’t fix stupid.

Gee, I know just how you feel. My dog just died. Okay, we all love our pets dearly. But, is that really an appropriate analogy?? To the widow of the man who died on the golf course:  At least he died doing something he loved. This is not a comfort or helpful in any way. He’s still dead!  Actually, when talking to the bereaved, avoid starting any sentence with “At least….” You are sure to be headed for trouble. Like…At least she’s in a better place. But, she’s not here!

Grief counselors have some suggestions to better handle expressing sympathy. For example, “all I can say is how sorry I am. They were a special person and will be sorely missed.” Or, “I know no words can ease your pain but please know I’m thinking of you.” Less is more to keep from stumbling into that dreaded tone-deaf category.

Since it is so tough to put yourself in another’s place and say the right thing, just admit that to the heartbroken. One of our favorites from the grief experts, which can also be written in a sympathy note or card, is: “I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine what you’re feeling right now and I honestly don’t have the words. But I care so much about you. I’m hurting with you. Love you.”

Friends who recently suffered a loss say they most cherished comments that mentioned activities done with the deceased. “Our golf games won’t be the same without his sense of humor.” “I’ll so miss our Wednesday lunches together.” If you want to keep it simple and heartfelt, you might say: “I just loved Bud. We all loved Bud.” (Bud was our dad’s nickname.)

Empathizing with words can be tough and even unhelpful. One grief expert points out that people experiencing loss are so grateful knowing that their friends and relatives care. Don’t underestimate the power of showing up and being present in that person’s life. Get them out of the house and surrounded by friends. If you don’t live close by, continue to call, text, and email.   

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today? There is no exact science to loss. Each individual grieves differently. Applaud the grief experts who are attempting to give us some guidance in expressing sympathy to those who have recently suffered a loss. Save this Wrinkled Wisdom with experts’ advice on some tried and tested things to say and do. Yes, create a new file and name it “don’t be tone-deaf.”  We all think we’re going to remember stuff, but haven’t we all experienced a bit of short-term memory loss?? Come on; admit it! And, do your newly-grieving friends a huge favor. Give them a heads up about the tone-deaf. Many people aren’t walking talking Hallmark cards. P.S.  We do not mean to insult anyone who is really tone-deaf by lumping them with people who make insensitive comments. The medical term for their condition, the cognitive inability to discriminate between pitches/musical notes, is called Amusia. Although it’s not very…well…amusing to sit next to them at a concert as they sing along off-key.

Wrinkled Wisdom – The Advertising Industry Has a Problem

We hate ads. We’re not alone. People of all ages hate ads. Companies worldwide spend more than $300 billion annually on advertising that over 90 percent of us pretty much ignore! People also complain that ads today are more intrusive. No kidding. We’re bombarded on television, Facebook, YouTube, apps, games, and even old fashioned billboards.

We will admit to enjoying some humor in ads and those featuring “our” music. Loved learning that most ads for wristwatches have them set to 10:10. That way, the hands frame the brand name and create a smiley face.

And, yes, we do raise our heads and look at the TV when commercials feature classic rock. California Raisins once used Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Carnival Cruises once used Bobby Darin’s Beyond the Sea. But, Geico made a blooper using the Allman Brothers’ Midnight Rider to promote its motorcycle insurance. Duane Allman and the band’s bassist were both killed in motorcycle accidents. Oops!

We are especially ticked by the ageism that is alive and well in advertising. What’s the key to marketing to us?  Use some common sense. Don’t call us old in the ad. We also aren’t excited about being called seniors citizens, elders, or even boomers. Okay, got to admit those terms are better than the days when people our age were labeled geezers, codgers, duffers, and old farts.   

A recent focus group came up with calling us advisers, coaches, wise ones, masters, experienced, and seasoned citizens. Huh?? Seasoned? What are we, food?

The view of the human race would be distorted if it were based on primetime advertising alone. You barely see older people. Only about five percent of U.S. advertising focuses on people over 50. Fifty! Apparently, we don’t exist… except for Depend diapers and ads for drugs that reportedly improve memory.

Yet, in a study polling people of all ages asking when you’re too old to do things like go back to school, start your own business, or date romantically, an overwhelming majority answered that you’re never too old. So there. Quit focusing on age as an indicator of consumer habits.

America does have an obsession with youth so most marketers focus on millennials and Gen Zers. Not smart! Not only do they not have the big bucks; apparently, they are not very loyal to products and services. Ageism in ads could be the consequence of the average age of employees in the advertising industry…34.  Hey, run some of your ideas past mom and dad!

Ignore us at your own peril! There are lots of us and we’ve got money! Respect “seasoned” citizens!

Eureka!  How about ads that focus on our actual needs and lifestyles instead of our age? This would increase the ad’s appeal to all potential buyers. Heck, we eat in and dine out. We drink alcohol. We wear clothes and wash them. We take care of our lawns. We update our homes. We use hair products and lotions. We exercise. We own computers and cell phones. How else would we communicate with the younger relatives? And, we buy lots of stuff at the pharmacy like everyone else for the sniffles and headaches, in addition to the Rogaine for our thinning hair.

Laughing over a number of news articles recently talking about Facebook and Google banning ads for sexual wellness products aimed at people over 50. Are their employees aghast that “seasoned” citizens are having sex?? Read the stats, millennials. ED can hit at any age!

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  Social media gives us a voice to criticize condescending and stereotypical ads. Let ‘em have it on Facebook. Boycott brands whose ads tick you off. Don’t underestimate our clout! Yelling obscenities at the TV doesn’t do a thing, but sure makes us feel better. Smile when you see age-appropriate actors pushing products. Otherwise, hit the mute button and tackle a crossword puzzle till the show comes back on. Oh, and, could we dump the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” ad? It’s been on and off TV for 33 years. How about, um, I ate too many edibles and can’t get off the couch!

Wrinkled Wisdom – Post Holiday Ruminations

Hanukkah…Winter Solstice…Christmas…Kwanzaa…New Year’s. Well, we’ve just lived through another holiday season as the Omicron variant surges throughout the world. This year, thankfully, even the grandkids were vaxxed and home tests were available to confirm that no one had to stay in lockup while we partied. We hugged! We stashed the masks!

Wow…some of our friends, who haven’t seen relatives or pals for two years, actually celebrated together. That is, if their flights weren’t canceled because Omicron is hitting airline employees hard. Yes. Omicron! For inquiring minds, the World Health Organization skipped over the Greek alphabet letter Nu because it sounds like “new.” That would be redundant. They skipped over Xi because China’s president is Xi Jinping. That wouldn’t be politically correct. If these variants keep popping up, we’ll need to find a different alphabet!

We all might consider avoiding trips to the mall for a bit since experts predict that about two out of three of us will return at least one gift after the holidays. An alternative? Regifting! Reportedly, the most commonly regifted items are socks, alcohol, and scented candles. Huh? Socks?  We’re not regifting that scotch, for sure. Candles? Maybe. We regift sugar things. The mailman loves candy, and we sure don’t need more calories.

Food, which translates into calories that translate into fat, is a huge part of the holiday season. Some of us look forward to holiday celebrations just because of the specialty foods that will be welcomed on our plates. Some may not be seen or eaten for another year! Home-grown turkey.  Noodle kugel (not kegel).  Yummy mashed potatoes, stuffing, and orange gravy.  Coconut cheesecake.  Carrot cake.  Forget the fruitcake. 

The food is, of course, complemented by multiple wines and our favorite mixed drinks. Yup. More calories. We used to be able to handle three drinks. Now it’s two since hangovers aren’t fun. That’s one of the perks of hosting the party. Yes, you have to cook, prep, and clean up, but you don’t have to worry about driving home.

Then there is the holiday Annual Sugar Exchange. That’s what we call it when the neighbors think it’s neighborly to gift us with their favorite homemade cookies, cakes, or candies, much of which ends up in the compost or trash bin. Of course, that means it’s incumbent upon the receiver to reciprocate with a sugar gift. Oops, be careful about regifting food. One of us once did; then was asked for the recipe. Ouch.

After decades, gifting, in general, has become a challenge.  No one in the family really needs anything, except the grandkids who, of course, want things. So, we’ve established some traditions in giving. It works! We don’t buy that imported canned tuna fish we love because we know we’ll get a bunch for Christmas. We look forward to receiving an expensive scotch we wouldn’t buy but just love. Donations to favorite charities in our name.  Gift cards.  Lottery tickets. 

We had no problem with the answer to a crossword clue recently that read:  Thanks, it’s just what I’ve always wanted. It’s a lie! Well, fib would have fit too. Three in five of us have lied about liking a gift we just opened, according to a recent poll. Guess the others just say thanks and give it away.

One of the positive things about the holidays is that spam calls usually drop. What a relief! But, spam emails increase like crazy. Why? They are trying to dupe us with fake shipping notifications for holiday gifts. With age comes wisdom. If it lands in our junk mail, screw it.

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today? The simplest way to make a person happy with a gift? Ask them what they want. Gifts don’t always have to be a surprise. A wanted gift makes people smile. Hope you got a cute baseball cap this holiday. According to our hairdressers, the pandemic has apparently caused lots of hair loss. Thought that was aging. And, don’t instigate a holiday Sugar Exchange with neighbors. Trust us on this.

Wrinkled Wisdom – Did You Know?

We hope you will smile and laugh at some fun facts we’ve uncovered as we continue to ignore the news.  Smiling and laughing trigger the release of endorphins, making us feel happy.  But, oh, dear, they also cause wrinkles, which are, of course, emphasized as we age.  Crap.  Botox??

While feeling a bit guilty about deepening those wrinkles, we are going to share these tidbits with you.  Enjoy!  Smiling and laughing are optional.

Did you know that Purina has launched a line of pet food that uses bugs?  Well, specifically the food includes black soldier fly larvae and plant protein.  They are promoting it as a way to better use the planet’s resources.  Bugs are a great protein source and our pets have no mental hang-ups about eating them. 

Heck, that should come as no surprise.  Remember, people eat bugs too!  The selection on Amazon is mind-boggling.  Crickets, ants, and even beetle larva, can be found, covered in rich, dark chocolate.  Something called EntoMilk is used in some ice creams.  It’s made from the larvae of that popular black soldier fly.  But, let’s talk ants.  Did you know that all the ants on the Earth once weighed as much as all the humans?   No longer, as one expert points out, “We’re not just increasing in population, we’re increasing in fatness, so I think we’ve left the ants behind.” 

Speaking of fat, the Washington Post has published its Annual Neologism Contest winners, who offer entertaining alternative meanings for common words.  Our favorites?  Flabbergasted: appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.  Abdicate: to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

And, don’t forget that the majority of the brain (60%) is fat!  That explains so much.

We were very surprised to learn that Competitive Art was once an Olympics competition.  Painters, sculptors, writers, and musicians battled for the gold, silver, and bronze.   After the Olympics were put on hold during World War II, the new IOC president insisted that the Olympics be absolutely pure.  He believed that winning an Olympic medal for Competitive Art was an advertisement for the artists’ work and made them more money on their sales.  Another victim of war.

Oh, my God!  That was our reaction to learning that the ubiquitous text abbreviation OMG is more than 100 years old.   A British Naval admiral included it in a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill.  What is old is new!  Recycling at its best. 

Air fresheners, perfumes, and aftershaves can cause allergic reactions in cats.  Makes sense.  They have a keener sense of smell for survival.  We know how they feel.  Ever been in an elevator with a heavily-fragranced individual??   Thank heavens, we don’t react like some cats and vomit or have diarrhea.  Even our Covid masks don’t help.  When it comes to fragrances, less is more!

Pope Francis worked as a nightclub bouncer in his hometown in Argentina to support himself when he was a student.  Not sure what implications to draw from this!

Historians guess that Genghis Kahn’s conquests killed around 40 million people.  Yet, one in every 200 men today is descended from this murderous Mongolian.  Huh?  Scary?

Before mercury, brandy was used to fill thermometers.  What a waste of good alcohol! 

Hot water freezes faster than cold water. We knew that but forgot.  Because, who cares?

The first McDonald’s drive-thru was created in one of its restaurants in Arizona, located near a military installation.   Military rules at the time forbade soldiers from wearing their uniforms in public.  The manager had a hole cut in the restaurant’s wall so military members could pick up their Big Mac and fries without stepping out of their cars.  Thank you for your service!

So, our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Amuse yourself with interesting facts.  Get with the program; eat bugs and help save the planet.  Suggest to your young relatives that they get an ancestry DNA test for their fiancé before marrying the guy.  And, know when you think someone is a fathead, you are right.  OMG!

Wrinkled Wisdom: STILL Locked Up at Home??

“Coloradans can now get tattoos.”  That was the lead of a news article discussing the end to our governor’s stay-at-home order.  Under the new safer-at-home approach, we are not ordered to stay home, just “strongly advised” to stay at home. Will this make a difference for oldies?  Not much.  We’re retired.   No escaping the house to a workplace.  

It’s going to be a long time till we can hit a bar or restaurant with friends and family.   We do some social-distancing with them; but, time together is usually cut short because we have to get home to hit the john.

Is vanity playing a big part in decisions by some governors to relax stay-at-home orders?  Salons are now open!  Looking good; feeling good.  We have been struggling with manicures and especially pedicures.  Just not as flexible as we used to be; bad news for our toes.  And, we strongly recommend against cutting your own hair after a quarantini or two.

Some governors are allowing gyms to open.  Familiar with the term “Freshman 15”?  That is how much weight students are expected to gain in their first year of college, 15 pounds.  Hmmm.  Worried about the implications of the term Covid-19??? 

Okay, the good news is that we haven’t run out of toilet paper.  And, we’re saving money on dry cleaning.  It’s not like we’re getting dressed up to go to grocery, liquor, and hardware stores or pharmacies or marijuana dispensaries.  

Our water bill may drop too since we’re living in our PJs most of the time and doing less laundry.  But we are washing our hands more often.  Hmmm.  Guess that might be a wash.  (Did we just hear a giggle or was that a groan???)

Saving money isn’t any consolation.  While the media often refers to staying home as a lockdown, we jokingly describe it as being locked up.  Yes, yes, we know it is absolutely the right thing to do; but.  We are getting lots of emails from friends with the same message:  this is getting tougher.  The novelty has worn off.   We’re antsy.

It’s fun to hear from people we haven’t heard from for ages, suddenly checking in to see if we are alive.  And, it’s been entertaining to get lots of inquiries from young neighbors asking if they can pick up anything for us at the store.  Huh?  We can still drive!  Then we realized loads of organizations have urged people to help the elderly.  And, by definition, we are the elderly!  Hate that term.

Since we are oldies and at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19, we asked ourselves: is it smart to take advantage of senior hours at grocery stores?  Does lumping a bunch of vulnerable seniors together at one time make sense—even if we might get to the toilet paper first?  We all have a pre-existing condition—aging.

Good thing we can’t walk into our banks.  Wearing masks could create panic.  Now we just bring multiple disinfectant wipes when we drive through or use the ATM.

We have used some of our new-found free time to do a bunch of stuff around the house.  Some projects are just so boring that we stopped.  And, social distancing at Home Depot is a challenge.  Besides, it’s just so easy to say: I’ll do that tomorrow.  Ah…procrastination!

We still don’t know for sure whether Covid-19 will result in more babies than breakups.  But, one national law firm reports that they’ve gotten so many calls about divorce that they’ve added extra hours.  Divorce mediation is now online.  A hint, maybe?

So our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  Hang in there.  Don’t forget your mask.  Call your insurance company and drop insurance on that second car for a couple of months.  Step outside at 8 p.m. and scream and shout and howl to honor our healthcare and frontline workers.  Think pork plant closings and hoard bacon.  If you are bored, count Dr. Birx’s scarves.  And, take note.  A Maryland police department just issued a warning:  “Please remember to put pants on before leaving the house to check your mailbox.  You know who you are.  This is your final warning.” 

Visual Acuity

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Ghosts!!?? Apparitions of some sort!!??

Okay, we don’t believe in ghosts.  But, what are those flickers of light in the corners of our eyes that create the illusion of elusive shadows lurking around the house?

Time to visit the eye doctor for a reality check.  Hmmm.  Just manifestations of eye issues, we’re told— “floaters,” leaky vitreous fluid, double vision (there are not two dogs coming toward you), macular pucker, stressed retinas, cataracts (get the upgraded lens), and corneal conditions….take your pick.

Ah…..another sign of aging.

Everyday visual challenges are exasperating.  Can’t read the number on the prescription bottle to reorder.  Can’t read the amount owed on bills.  Can’t read the due date for paying the bills.   Don’t these organizations realize that some of their customers are oldies?  Use larger print!  Seeable colors!  The easy answer?  A magnifying glass.  Oh, and yes, perhaps we should opt for paying bills online.

Wow.  Amazon really hypes magnifiers with lights for seniors, emphasizing that they end struggling to read tiny print.  The promo language also points out that these magnifiers are great for reading in bed without waking your partner, and are useful for parents and school nurses inspecting children for lice.  Okay.  Hadn’t thought of that.  Bad image!

We’re oldies, but we do own a cell phone and have learned to use its flashlight to read menus in dimly lit restaurants.  Carrying around a magnifying glass would be a bit embarrassing.

Not only has a magnifying glass now become a necessity to read fine print, a magnifying mirror has become essential paraphernalia.  Essential for nailing those black and white hairs growing from our chins, those errant hairs emerging from our ears and noses, and those seemingly foot-long ones jutting out of our eyebrows!  Yes!

Other visual challenges?  How about coping with the glare from headlights while driving at night or sun reflections during the day?  Yikes, those low, huge, setting suns are stunning…stunning in their ability to blind us!  What’s happening?  Those darn lenses are scattering the light as it enters our eyes rather than being focused precisely on the retina, creating an exaggerated glare.  Listen for glare warnings from traffic helicopters.  Really, weather reports include glare!  Wow, who knew?

And, it’s tougher when we are going someplace we haven’t been before at night because reading street names in the dark from a distance is almost impossible.  Love it when it is a numbered street.  Easy, 112th comes after 111th.  But, then they squeeze in a street with a name!  Rude!

Got a giggle when older friends would jokingly say they only dated individuals who could drive at night.  Thought they were kidding.  They weren’t.

“Visual acuity” is defined as the sharpness of our vision.  The test for visual acuity is our ability to identify which vile line of those tiny letters we can still see when tested at the eye doctor’s.  We flunk.  Who doesn’t need reading glasses at our age?  Thank heavens the eye chart for drivers’ licenses is more forgiving, and we don’t have to wear glasses while driving.

We recently wrote about being both literally and figurative thin-skinned.  Visual acuity is the visual equivalent.  We can’t see some stuff, and we really don’t want to see some other stuff.

So our wrinkled wisdom for today?  Make your ophthalmologist your best friend.  Forget hoping for good grades on that visual acuity test.  Can’t read something?  Forget your pride and grab the magnifying glass.  When searching for that least noisy restaurant table, check out the lighting, too.  And, remember, the CEO of Uber said people won’t own cars in 10 years, so night driving won’t be a problem.  Of course, it won’t matter to us since by then the kids will have taken the keys and put Uber/Lyft apps on our cellphones.

Senior Moments

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What was the point I was about to make?  Did I close the garage door?  Lock the car?  Why did I come into the kitchen?  Ah…we label these senior moments.  Is dementia or Alzheimer’s just around the corner?  Nope.

Stop worrying!  Oops.  Actually, worrying about senior moments—those familiar lapses in memory—is healthy.  People with dementia aren’t aware that they just had a senior moment.

Let’s get real.  We’re oldies.  Our brains change, making it more difficult to dredge up certain facts or memories.  The hormones and proteins that repair brain cells and stimulate growth have begun to decline.  Age-induced forgetfulness is normal just like bad knees, sagging skin, and cataracts.

We oldies have probably brushed our teeth 50,000 times and closed our garage doors 40,000 times.  These repetitious activities are now automatic.  We are often thinking about something else while doing them…like…shall I listen to classic rock or jazz on my car radio?

Reality monitoring is a term used to describe focusing on common activities we do so frequently that we have difficulty remembering if we actually did them.  A reality check is easy, we’re told, because the actions we perform leave behind memory records that are different from actions we think about.  Okay, if you say so.

But, we do like the concept of reality monitoring to help us determine which repetitive activities we most frequently fail to remember.  Once identified, develop a ritual.  We put our seatbelt on as the garage door clatters down.  Done.  No worries.  Garage door closed.

It’s not just us oldies.  At any given age, we’re improving at some things and getting worse at others.  The brain’s processing power and detail memory peaks at age 18, according to research.   The ability to learn unfamiliar names peaks at age 22.  And, facial recognition peaks at 32.  Okay, we think we feel better now.

Research also found that people of all ages often forget who someone is and personal details about them.  And, forgetfulness isn’t limited to someone we’ve just met.  We forget acquaintances, coworkers, classmates, and friends.  We forget shared experiences.  Most younger people excuse the “forgetter;” but, apparently, the individual loses points in a dating relationship.

Oldies are even more forgiving because, well…been there, done that.  Plus, we’ve probably already forgotten what you told us.

And, we found this interesting theory called memory decay.  Hmmm.  How appropriate.  We know something but can’t retrieve the information.  The reason?  We don’t use the information regularly.  Yes, we once knew who sang Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.  Storage of new information is also believed to interfere with recalling older information.  Never did “use it or lose it” make more sense!

We’ll close with one of our favorite lines we often quote to each other walking out of a store after shopping.  It’s okay to forget where your car is parked.  It’s not okay to forget what your car looks like.  Another reason to value handicapped parking.  It’s close in.  Makes it easy to spot your car!

Our wrinkled wisdom for today:  Write yourself notes.  Don’t be naïve.  You won’t remember in the morning.  Same with New Year resolutions.  Did we break them or just forget what they are??  Have a place for everything and everything in its place.  Don’t overdo it.  But, put your keys in the same spot when you walk in the door.  Have fun playing word games and online bridge.  Do crossword puzzles and Sudoku.  Great for keeping that aging brain with it.  Pay attention to each action you perform even if you’ve done it tens of thousands of times already.  And, remember that you said you would never drink that much again…ever again.