Dentures-R-Us

I’m often asked what it’s like to be a writer — how I spend my days, how I experience the world. And so I will be sharing occasional essays from the front lines of my writing life. Enjoy!

Post it saying "Get Old" attached to light switch, from Dentures-R-Us, by Beth Mende ConnySo, there I am, roaming the exhibit hall of the BlogHer conference, my complimentary canvass bag overflowing with …

Actually, I don’t know what half the stuff is, other than it’s free. Exhibitors with hopeful faces keep handing me magnets, bookmarks, letter openers that double as flashlights; Barbie-sized samples of organic triple-berry, low-fat, reduced sugar, lactose/glucose/preservative-free yoghurt in day-glow colors. And, of course, there are the pens. Pens, pens, pens. By the end of the conference, I’ll have more pens than Staples.

But then — could it be? — something I actually need! Post-its!

I love Post-its. Can’t live without them. I stick them everywhere: my bathroom mirror, fridge, steering wheel, forehead. I shudder to think of the appointments I’d miss, the bills I’d forget to pay, the coupons I’d let expire were stickies not part of my everyday life. Whoever invented them should be awarded a Nobel prize.

Understandably then, I elbow my way to the crowded exhibit table and scoop up a handful of stickies. This is the high-point of the conference. Nirvana.

Flash forward.

I dump my bag of conference freebies onto the couch and sort through them the way I once sorted through Halloween candy: stuff I’ll keep, stuff I’ll pawn off on others. The stickies I will hoard. But wait, what’s this? There’s writing on the pads. It’s a question:

How do you feel about getting old?

What the hell does that mean? Is this a joke? Obviously, the person who wrote this will never win a Nobel Prize. He/she is not just dumb, but insensitive. I am not getting old; I’m growing older.

Getting and growing have different connotations. Getting old connotes an inevitable loss of mobility and memory; powerlessness. “Growing older” hints at choice. We may grow older, but we don’t have to get old. We retain our power.

How do you feel about getting old?

Insensitive dummies you! But wait. There’s more. Insult upon injury! Towards the bottom of each sticky are two more words:

Get old.

What company has issued such a mean-spirited demand? Greener Pastures Mortuary? Dentures-R-Us?

It gets worse! At the bottom of the stickies are tabs noting possible responses to the question, How do you feel about getting old? Apparently, I’ve got four choices:

OPTIMISTIC – ANGRY – PREPARED – UNEASY

Well screw that. I’ll come up with my own responses. Got any others to add?

Post it saying "Why do you ask? Do I look old?" from Dentures-R-Us, by Beth Mende Conny Post it saying "Like, duh" from Dentures-R-Us, by Beth Mende Conny Post it saying "I can't remember" from Dentures-R-Us, by Beth Mende Conny Post it saying "A pain in the ass (and joints)" from Dentures-R-Us, by Beth Mende Conny Post it saying "so much fun I could die" from Dentures-R-Us, by Beth Mende Conny

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