A Uterus Named George (My Speech to “The Young”)

Not mine, thankfully.

Luci’s getting a hysterectomy. Actually, it’s called something else, but I can’t pronounce it (only LuLu could, she’s a medical transcriptionist, which means she’s the one you want around you at parties, just for the fun terminology she can throw out. Unless, of course, you’re at a ACLF party, in which case every gray hair in the place is Lu’s new best friend).

In honor of her “procedure”, she has named her uterus. Here’s her reasoning, sent to me (and 37 of her closest friends) earlier today:

“I want to name my uterus. It will be departing soon and I feel it needs a name. I tried long and hard to think of female names I associate with discomfort or mayhem, like “Dina”. Dina sounds like the name of a broad who picks fights in bars, smells like a mix between gasoline and whiskey, always has an STD, and sleeps with her sister’’s husband, his father, and the family dog. But it’s not really appropriate for my organ. Then I thought about “Hester”. Hester to me sounds like the name of a malevolent old bitch that would steal your mail just to use it to line her parakeet’s cage, frequently poisons her neighbor’s cats, hands out razor-blade laden apples for Halloween, and constantly nags her daughter about how she doesn’’t do things like they did in the “old country”. Again, not quite right. Then it hit me. I’’ll name it George. George sounds like the name of something with no cognitive consciousness that causes more harm than good and has long outlived its original purpose. Say goodbye to George everyone.”

Which got me thinking… how old are we, really? Because in my mind, I am eternally 25. Never mind that I spent my twenties with a man who fed off my good moods like a dementor on Harry Potter, working as a civil servant where the only expression of youth that Satan (my boss) didn’t mind was Mr. Potato Head (I think she thought he was hot), in my mind, I haven’t aged past the quarter-century mark. But now Lu, someone I’ve known since I was ten, is having a hysterectomy of sorts. I have known people my age who, after several children and (in one case) years of welfare, have had their tubes tied, but Lu’s the first one to get a hysterectomy. That’s something middle aged people do, right?

But, as I was told the other night, I AM middle aged. Tom, angel of light that he is, informed me of this. If my bones hadn’t hurt from working outside that day, I would have thrown something at him. His thinking is that it’s more about what you’re body’s doing than a state of mind, and, whether I liked it or agreed or not, middle age starts at 30.

Now, he does have eleven years on me, so I guess I can’t get mad at him, he’s closer to the nursing home than I. He’s reached the age (and, see, this is what you get for knowing me, call me middle-aged and I’ll put your ass on my blog for all three of my faithful readers- Hi, Mom!- to see) where the doctor tells him “turn your head and cough”, plus he’ll get AARP mailings in just a few short years. AND, since he has a 20 year old daughter and I have no children, he’ll be Grandpa WAY ahead of me.

But, still… middle aged? When did that happen? I’m YOUNG, I still argue with my parents, I don’t have an annuity. I CAN’T be middle-aged, it simply isn’t possible.

Of course, I have noticed that weight gets harder to lose (not that I ever try that hard, but still), I have a sprinkling of gray hair (got my first one at 22, but now it has friends), and people call me “ma’am” a whole lot more than they used to, but that doesn’t mean I’m old, does it?

Sadly, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I may, indeed, be middle aged. Here are a few signs:

-The music across the street is too loud. Now, I’m not much of a rap fan, and it DOES rattle my windows, but still, if it’s too loud…

-My doctor refers to my skin as having “adult acne”. Funny, it seems that ANY acne at all would be an indication of youth, but the medical profession has found a way to take even THAT away from us.

-I cannot donate eggs. Sorry, folks, for those of you planning to do so, the cut off is age 30. Apparently our eggs go bad after that.

-I am too old to work as one of those people who does the liquor promotions in bars (you know, you’ve seen them- passing out shots of Malibu and giving away t-shirts). Apparently the cut-off THERE is something like 26.

-Crows feet. Yeah, I know, wrinkles only go where the smiles have been.

-I have not been carded for a movie or alcohol in years. When I joke with the clerk about it, he or she laughs at me.

-Facial hair. Yup, it goes well with the breakouts. Granted, the sun bleaches it out most of the year, and I’m not full Italian, only 3/4, so I guess it could be worse, but I have a mole on my neckline that, every now and then, has a little hair growing out of it. Thank god for tweezers.

-I have caught myself discussing insurance plans and mortgage rates with my friends, and, on more than one occasion, health issues.

So, ok, I’ll go with middle aged. But hell, where did my twenties GO? What happened to Lu’s healthy uterus, my hair-free face, all-night parties, and that kind of thing? When did kids start calling me ma’am instead of “hey, you” (I realize the fact that I call them kids may have something to do with it)?

I leave you with two things:

1. “Value this time in your life kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you’re a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do.

Your twenties are a blur. Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, ‘What happened to my twenties?’ Your forties, you grow a little pot belly you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother.

Your fifties you have a minor surgery. You’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery. Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering ‘how come the kids don’t call?’

By your eighties, you’ve had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can’t stand but who you call mama. Any questions?” -Mitch Robbins, City Slickers

2. For those of you out there younger than I:

You may chuckle now, or not relate to this at all. Whatever. When you are in your thirties, you will. USE YOUR TWENTIES FOR FUN. Do NOT put off doing something like going to the AC/DC concert (do you guys know who AC/DC is?) because you have to work the next day; do not agree to work when you’ve got something planned. Do NOT get mad when you get carded for Smirnoff. Get a fake ID if you’re not old enough, stay out late, waste your summers, skinny dip at your friend’s pool when they’re not home. Eat chocolate. Get a dog and spoil it like you never can a child. Don’t waste your time with men who don’t treat you like an absolute princess, don’t stay in a situation because it seems scary to leave, don’t be afraid of acting young. Be immature- you are. Do not be in a rush to get married and have a normal life, because sometimes the worst thing than can happen is you get what you want. Save money if you can and want, but don’t deny yourself anything if you can afford it. No one likes a martyr, especially a young one (and what with the deforestation going on, get off the cross, we need the wood), and don’t try to solve all your problems today, or even tomorrow. Act your age, or younger, because soon enough the phrase “Gee, I never would have guessed you were that young” takes on a whole new meaning. Yes, age is a mental thing, but your body is a physical thing and you will reach a point where you cannot subsist on cold pizza and warm Corona.

Be silly, be stupid, but don’t be in a rush to get older, because you will, and the worst thing you can do is look back and say, “my god, I wasted my twenties acting like a grown-up”. You have the rest of your life to be a grown up and have a family and a house and three point two cars in the garage or whatever and only a few years to enjoy all the things that you couldn’t do a few years ago- after that they become commonplace and that’s not as much fun as you think.

So there you have my instruction manual for your twenties. Enjoy it, and thank Lu and Tom for the aging-related entry.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.