Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Disappearing act


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I was reading an article in the "New Yorker" yesterday that set me thinking once again on the subject of aging.  Not that I'm obsessed with it or anything...wait...maybe I am...just a little.  Though obsession might be too strong a word.  Let's just say that aging crosses my mind more often that it has in the past.  Perhaps taking that big step called Retirement has a lot to do with it.  Also, anything crossing my mind these days is a good thing.

For several years now, I've suspected that we become more invisible as we grow older.  I'm sure I'm not the first, or the last, to make that observation, but it is a really intriguing phenomenon.  If you are a person of age, the next time to go to an especially robust public place or event, notice who's not noticing you.  It's as if you don't really exist.  Your existence is marginal at best.  Or attempt a conversation with a stranger.  They will look at you, well, strangely.  Or be in a group of younger people discussing any topic -  politics, sex, fly fishing - and make a comment and take note of the level of credibility your statement rises to.  It's as if they hear a stray, somewhat annoying sound...like the buzzing of a mosquito.  They pause a moment, look toward the ceiling, and then resume their conversation.

I suspect that eventually, if we live long enough, we will disappear altogether.  And that might not be all bad.  When I was a kid - Mount Rushmore only had two presidents - there was a popular TV show called "Topper."  God bless you if you remember it.  The premise was this:  Cosmo Topper, played by Leo G. Carroll, was a banker with a wife named Henrietta and they lived in a mansion once owned by a couple, George and Marion Kirby.  George and Marion had met early and untimely deaths in an avalanche.  A Saint Bernard by the name of Neil had tried to rescue them but had expired as well.  Now the couple and the Saint Bernard haunted the mansion, though in a very friendly way.  Topper was the only one able to see the ghosts and that was the core of the premise of the sitcom.  George and Marion really made life interesting for Topper's otherwise dull life.  With their antics and pranks, they attempted to get the old boy to loosen up, if you will.  (And a side note, Marion was a looker!  Google Anne Jeffreys.  Lots of adolescent fantasies there.)

Anyway, being invisible definitely has its advantages.  You can get away with things that  visible people cannot.  You can come and go more freely than visible people.  Like if you get bored at a party you can leave and not only will people not realize you've left, they tend to forget you were ever there in the first place.

You can pass gas and blame it on the dog, though I know folks who don't think you have to be invisible to do that.  I highly suspect you can shoplift at random and never get caught.  You can move to the front of the line without anyone taking offense because obviously you're either invisible or senile.  Endless, endless possibilities.


So I'm not sad about becoming less visible and more invisible.  I'm not happy about it.  I'm nothing about it.  It's an invisible entity to me.  It's just happens to be the culmination of a suspicion that I've had for many years now.  I think it began in my early 50s.  Maybe it bugged me then; I don't remember.  (I remember the early 1950s much better than I remember my early 50s.)  This is where I am with it:  It's sort of like we all have our time in the sun.  Our time to be visible.  Our time to reap.  Our time to make a mark and be noticed.  Hopefully in a positive vein.  

I'm okay with entering the diaphanous dimension.  The pellucid plain.  The land of limpid.  I intend to do it with flash, class, and aplomb.  I'm going to take my invisibility and embrace it.  I'm going to run with it.  Or at least limp along at a decent pace.

And if the invisible world contains the like of ladies that look like Anne Jeffreys, sign me up for overtime.

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