Mr. Chatterbox: April 2013

This month: They say that aging is in Sarasota an adventure meant to be savored and enjoyed. We'll quickly destroy this ridiculous myth.

By Megan McDonald April 1, 2013

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Bad news, readers. I think they're trying to get rid of me here at Sarasota Magazine. Oh, I can't prove it, but the signs are everywhere. I don't seem to have my special parking place anymore (or at least I can't find it), and the cot in the supply closet where I take my after-lunch naps is now clearly being used for other purposes by some of the younger staff members, and it's not for innocent shut-eye, either. And most telling of all, they seem to have hired someone else to cover social events, which has always been my mise-en-scene. Her name is . . . Victoria?. . . Verushka?. . . and at first I thought she was the high school intern. Now I find that she has actually been writing a social column for the past several months, and when I complain they say, "What can we do if you refuse to drive after dark?"

Well, I'm not going down without a fight. I figure there are a lot of people like me in Sarasota—no longer in the first blush of youth, perhaps, but still vital and stimulating, with a wide range of interests and hobbies, and in desperate need of a little extra income to supplement their shockingly small Social Security checks. The demographers call us boomers. I call us My New Audience.

So I'm changing the direction of my column. I'm reinventing myself. From now on I will be exploring the world of getting older and wiser. I'll explore options for the present while looking back on the past—our past—and all the extraordinary things we've been through: the '60s, drugs, disco, sexual liberation, wine, aerobics, making a lot of money, losing a lot of money, parents who die (or refuse to die), children who are a pain in the ass, grandchildren who expect us to pay for college, the rise of the Internet and all those little devices we are being forced to learn how to operate with our thumbs.

Yes, at a certain point in life you must reassess things. You must examine your priorities and decide what is really important to you. You don't want to end up like the Pope, stripped of all power and shuffled off to some monastery just because you fell asleep at a couple of meetings and let the butler rob you blind. I can see it happening right here with our own staff. We all adapt in different ways. Our arts editor, Kay Kipling, exemplifies Serene Maturity. On Casual Fridays she often shows up in a house dress and bunny slippers and spends most of the workday sipping tea and re-reading her beloved Anne Tyler novels. Pam Daniel, the editorial director, has a different approach. Determined to remain in the center of the action at all costs, she wears her daughter's clothes and is always trying out new hair colors. Blessed with a graceful air and—since her recent bunion surgery—excellent posture, she is still trying to figure out a way to get her boyfriend to marry her, not an easy task since her best chance—a shotgun wedding—passed about 20 years ago.

And senior editor Ilene Denton, who's in charge of delineating and explaining the Sarasota luxury home to the world, is one of those boomers who has been energized by the arrival of a new generation of Dentons, meaning she spends most of the day on the phone, scheming to get her two-year-old granddaughter into Harvard.

I want to help these women. And not just them, but all the boomers of Sarasota. So in my new column, I plan to cover the topics so important to all of us over a certain age. Things like those financial seminars where you get a free lunch. What is the food really like? Which ones have the biggest portions? Do they have doggie bags?

Medical issues will naturally be a major concern. I'll keep you apprised of all the latest advancements in cosmetic surgery, with an emphasis on skin tightening and age-spot concealment.

We'll go over Flori Roberts' cosmetic line in great detail, particularly that make-up she demonstrates on TV, which she slathers up her legs and they look sensational. And for the men—and let's face it, some of the women—we'll find out about that new hair transplant treatment they do in Hungary, where you can get a new head of hair for $5,000, and they throw in a tour of Bucharest. Or is it Budapest? Anyway, you get hair and a trip to the zoo.

If you're worried about developing dementia, my column is a must-read. Even if you don't have it, you'll feel like you do. I'll tell you how to mimic the symptoms. This particularly comes in handy when you've done something wrong and don't want to get in trouble. Forgot to pay your electric bill and they turned the lights off? I'll have a list of foolproof excuses—"My son-in-law emptied my checking account," "Little tiny people from outer space are living in my mailbox"—that will have the power back on in no time, and at no cost to you.

And I will not shy away from Sex and Intimacy. I have already been doing extensive research on that new "super Viagra" that they're developing. They've been conducting clinical trials with couples over 80 and so far the results are sensational. I hear one woman even chipped a tooth.

So join me as we go on this exciting journey together. They say that aging is an adventure meant to be savored and enjoyed. We'll quickly destroy this ridiculous myth and get right to the point—if you try real hard and put some effort into it, maybe you can squeeze out an extra year or two of partying, spending your hard-earned money and irresponsible behavior that you can't be blamed for. Who knows? Maybe you'll even get to be in a Viagra trial.

Read past Mr. Chatterbox columns here

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