The Face of a Lifetime

at 11:43 PM

I'm not sure I thought an interaction with a marketer at a local shopping mall would end up, akin to a famous posting of theses, with my declaration of what aging means. It began, as many mall interactions do, with me, a consumer with a mission, and a marketer with a deal. At first, the conversation was a simple volley:  the retailer questioned; I responded. Five fast flurries followed:

"How does your skin feel today?"  "Fine."

"Do you have makeup on?"  "Yes, a little."

"Do you know what products you are using?" "Of course."

"Would you believe me if I told you that you could have Botox effects without Botox, today?" "No, I've heard this before."

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"Would you spend five minutes with me to let me show you?" "Well...."

With that last interjection, I had lost the round. Ushered into a small area with many pots of skin creams, I was treated to an anti-aging demonstration. What ultimately appeared was a moistened version of skin that my untreated, "before" version had lacked. What the vision lacked, though, was the biography of how my current look had emerged -- weathering, literally, many Boston winters before moving to California, and aging, physically, as my DNA dictated, with genes coming from Eastern Europe - surviving a bold move to the New World.

"No, I don't need this product."  

Our new volley ran on several moments. Finally, I posted my thesis. I've learned, I told the retailer, that the currency I spend is for the self's interior -- its memories and visions, and not for its exterior, its skin and attendant wrinkles.

I could have said, "When you get to be my age...", but decided my first assertion enough. I didn't need Dead Sea minerals that promised to remove decades. I left with an even clearer picture of what I value, and that transaction required no voucher. Just a simple vouching of what I know is true -- the transparency with which you show who you are is a reflection of how you've lived, not what you've covered up.

With a Perspective, I'm Barbara Simmons.

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Barbara Simmons is a retired teacher and counselor who lives in San Jose.

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