News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

March 29, 2011

MS. TAKES: Growing older is better than alternative

TERRE HAUTE — I am a year older than I was at this same time last week. Do I mind? Nope!

If I wake up in the morning, pinch myself and it hurts, I know I am good to go — at least for the day and, hopefully, well into the future. I don’t deny that I am slowing down, but life is too interesting to pack it in. Most little aches and pains can be eliminated with an aspirin. Those that cannot, I simply ignore.

My Best Friend and I have developed a quibble as we notch another year in the steering wheel of life. We are not exactly unwilling to reveal our age, but we “cleverly” reveal it by knocking off quite a few years and then claiming to be dyslectic. This works well since a lot of folks have to juggle the information long enough for us to slip away. Those who tumble immediately probably deserve to know that we are long past the age of consent.

The dyslectic bit works well as long as the numbers in the right-hand column are smaller than those in the left-hand column. This happens with increasing frequency. We have been unable to figure out how to fudge when the numbers are the same. I dread becoming age 99 as there is nowhere to go from there except a double zero followed by a one, and there is no one alive who would believe that for a minute. But then, way back when I was 21 no one would believe I was 12.

There is another disadvantage. Even when the numbers knock years off your actual age, you age in 10-year increments. If you could get away with claiming to be 26 when you are actually 62, you are stuck the following year with pretending to be 27 and you can see where THAT is going.

I did discover a bit which brought me a smirk of pleasure. I read that Marilyn Monroe was born the same year I was. I never achieved her fame and certainly never approached her beauty. On the other hand, one marriage has held up in my life while she darted from one husband to another — reportedly between love affairs.

I’m not sure whether I had a few months head start before Marilyn entered the world, or maybe she spotted me a couple of months. Either way, I have never envied Marilyn nor aspired to be like her. Truth be told, I felt rather sorry for her.

I can still feel a pinch in the morning, still get up and enjoy the day and — right now at any rate — look forward to seeing leaves on the trees and flowers by the roadside again.

Eat your heart out, Marilyn — wherever you are.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to

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