22 June 2010
In my late-20s, it was chin hair. Who would think that a woman would have to check for coarse, often dark-colored chin hairs every morning, then yank them out with a pair of tweezers? Plucking eyebrows is bad enough. Chin hairs are ridiculous. These are stiff little hairs that you can feel if you gently run your finger beneath your chin, and once I discovered them, I became obsessed, yanking and plucking them every single morning and night. And should I miss one, I play with it all day long, and race up the stairs as soon as I get home to eradicate it. My sister has strict instructions to check for and tweeze any chin hairs before my funeral.
Body hair kind of repulses me anyway, so it’s a good thing I’m not one of those hairy women. If I were, I would spend hours every week eliminating the offending follicles.
Now that I’m well into my 30s, one of the things I wish my mother had warned me about is enlarged pores — although I’ve read enough about the condition that I was prepared for the early signs. I’ve always had beautiful skin, with the occasional blemish and some problems in the summer. Once I started noticing the pores on the apples of my cheeks becoming slightly larger than they used to be, I took preventive action almost immediately. It was off to the aesthetician for me, and I fell in love with microderm abrasion and chemical peels. I daresay my skin is more luminous now than it was in my 20s.
Nothing, not even Mom, could have prepared me for what I consider the worst part of aging thus far: gas. For quite a few years, I worked with a friend who was especially prone to gas. In fact, she jokes that the second thing she did out of the womb was fart. She kept a healthy supply of Gas-Ex in her desk drawer, which came in handy when I started a medication that I would take long-term, and the resulting gas was like nothing I’d ever before experienced but have since come to know intimately.
The women at my workplace tend to be one of two age groups: under 30 or over 40. I am the lone 30-something. I am on my own when it comes to finding my way through chin hair, gas and weight gain. In a recent meeting, the topic turned to aging, and I looked at the under-30 group and said, “You’re young. You have no idea about the gas yet.” The girls laughed, while the other side of the table, the over-40 group, nodded sympathetically and agreed.
The problem with gas and aging is that there’s not one trigger you can always count on. I may be one of the lucky ones in that I have identified that medications — just about any medication — will usually make me flatulent. But that’s only one of potentially thousands — maybe millions — of triggers. Sometimes onions make me gassy, but sometimes not. Same with garlic. Occasionally odd things sneak up on me, like popcorn, cottage cheese or nuts. Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what could possibly have caused my suffering. Other times I know that the meal before me is definitely going to cause problems later.
This is the case with Greek food lately. I love Greek food. I eat it at least once a week. And for the last three months I have paid dearly for that love. I have no idea what it is in the chicken souvlaki and Greek potatoes that does it — maybe it’s the tzatziki sauce — but something definitely inflates me with stinky air. In addition, about 60 percent of the time, Greek food also gives me heartburn lately.
The problem with Greek and other food is that I have no idea when it might turn from delicious to painful and embarrassing. Sometimes the bloated, gassy feeling strikes about an hour after eating. Other times, it could be the next day. This makes it incredibly difficult to identify exactly what is causing the gas. I suspect that once you get older, everything causes gas, and you just have to carry Gas-Ex with you everywhere you go.
I recently mentioned to my mother my displeasure with her failure to adequately warn me about the pitfalls of aging. She smiled sweetly and said, “There’s more. There’s much more. But I’m going to leave it all as a surprise.”
08 June 2010
I support airport safety and keeping the country free of terrorist attacks. That’s why I want the TSA to implement effective means of security, not just more measures that make people think they’re safe. Some are happy with anything the TSA or the government implements just so they can feel warm and safe. Airport security measures have become their security blankets. Mission accomplished. Terrorism dead in the USA? Hardly.
The reports reveal that regardless of what measures and procedures the TSA claims it has in place, they’re not working. Every time the TSA receives a negative report, it comes up with some newfangled security measure to appease its critics.
Nevertheless, bombs have been brought onto planes, and terrorists have entered our country. And let’s not forget that a year ago even I was able to travel from Omaha to Denver to Las Vegas and back again, going through security at all three airports, and not one TSA worker caught my stun gun. (Las Vegas caught the souvenir lighters I bought, but you’ll have to read that blog post for that story.) As for liquids, I’ve also traveled with those in my purse and carry-on without separating them into the TSA’s regulation quart-size, clear zipper bag.
For example, Eppley and other airports are giving passengers the choice to submit to the body scanner or to walk through the metal detector and submit to a pat-down. I’m guessing the terrorists are going to choose the alternative to the body scanner — more chance for human error or carelessness — so that basically renders the scanners ineffective from day one.
Perhaps these security measures would be more successful if we couldn’t count on the TSA to regularly do something stupid — like allow a passenger on the no-fly list to board an airplane. That defeats these scanners and other security measures altogether.
Considering all of this, I find these scanners far too invasive. Now, my naked body isn’t even private anymore. I can cleverly disguise my love handles with clothing, but they’re certain to show up in the body scan. I don’t care if the guy operating the machine and seeing the scan of my chubby little body is hidden from my view. I should have the say over who sees me naked, and these machines strip me of that right.
Furthermore, I shouldn’t feel like I need to have a bikini wax before I fly on a plane for fear of what the scan checker might think. These scans also reveal the outlines of passengers’ undies. Now, really, do you want to feel like you have to go buy chic undies before you fly so the scan checker doesn’t make fun of you?
I, for one, certainly am not going to consent to violation of my personal body just so some guy checking scans can get a thrill and the U.S. government thinks I’m it’s puppy dog while the real terrorists are choosing the noninvasive alternative that will enable them to carry out their nefarious tasks.
So, in a couple of years, these body scanners will become passé after a few terrorists foil them. What “safety measure” will the government implement next? I’m guessing cavity searches. Are you prepared to consent to that?
I’ll continue to fly as long as I have the right to choose corporal privacy. When the government takes away that choice — and it will — I’ll take up travel by train. I hear it’s very Old World and charming, and I won’t have to worry about terrorists or perverted security checkers.