Forewarned is forearmed…or at least it should be. Men warned the boy who persisted in crying “Wolf!” when there was no wolf, that they wouldn’t rush to his aid next time, but he kept it up and we all know how that fable ends. Alas. It would have ended far differently if the boy had heeded their warning.
We who were the object of parental forewarning can appreciate the practical-joke value of the fabled wolf-boy’s teasing, but most of us had learned to arm ourselves more wisely by the time we were his age…though we do count some of our fondest memories among those times when we didn’t.
Last week a TV doctor/prophet-of-sorts forewarned that 72 is today’s new 30, and my first thought was, How nice for them. But then my own ratio extrapolations suggested that if the guru was right, then 82 would be the new 40 and I’d best be forearmed when I got there. My joints begged to differ. “Get real,” creaked a hipbone, and my left knee agreed.
I should have listened, but women my age are curious and we have time to spare, so I set out to forearm myself as best I could. Maybe you sexagenarians remember how to be 30 again, but we octogenarians don’t remember squat about what’s required to be 40, so I turned to Friend Google and typed “The average 40 year old woman of today” on the search line.
Up popped a slew of before-40-and-after photos of my favorite movie stars that I now regret having seen, and also a number of disturbing predictions including the likelihood that a woman of 40 will need a hip replacement before she’s 50. Others estimated the number of lovers she would likely have, advised the best methods for conceiving a child at that age, the height and weight she should strive for, the number of pushups she should be able to complete, and statistics on her chance of marrying for the first time at that age. I’d obviously stumbled onto the wrong websites.
Moving on, I found sixty-eight “72 Is the New 30” entries and every one of them said the same thing: German scientists compared the bones of 30-year-old long-dead hunter-gatherers and determined the same probability of death as present-day Japanese at age 72. Not a word about the Swedish men who were also included in the study, nor about women of any race, not one of whom had been invited to participate.
“I have this to say about that,” I shouted at the TV doctor/prophet-of-sorts as I settled back into my role as comfortable octogenarian. “If there’s anymore of this 72/30 extrapolated into 82/40 business, be forewarned that I’ll be forearmed and focused on you in the crosshairs!”
My hip joints applauded and my left knee cheered, and a faint wolf-boy voice whispered, “Believe her.”
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.