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It's me I'm lookin' for


Pam Fleischaker January 18th, 2007

Come on, admit it. You've given some thought to cosmetic surgery. At least once? Maybe more than once?   I know I have. Clicking through pictures of my family playing in the sand and surf, I am puzzle...

Come on, admit it. You've given some thought to cosmetic surgery. At least once? Maybe more than once?
 
I know I have. Clicking through pictures of my family playing in the sand and surf, I am puzzled. Who is that woman there with my children? It looks like my mother " she of the fallen face, missing eyelids and neck like a Thanksgiving turkey.

It can't be my mother.
 
She died 15 years ago with red rouge dotting her cheeks, hoping it would draw the viewer's eye up toward once-chiseled cheekbones instead of down toward lolling laugh lines.
 
No, no, no, that ain't her, babe.

It's you.
 
It's me staring at the tracks of time on my face. Me who has more eyelid than eyes, more cheek than cheekbones. And who rushes to the mirror for confirmation.
 
Oh, horrors! I'm right. The same person in the photo now stares back at me from my mirror.
 
My hands fly to my face! With my thumbs, I hoist up my slumping skin, imagining all the extra stuff gone " who knows where, who cares, just gone.
 
I imagine it's been lifted, lasered, injected, collagened, Botoxed, Restylaned, dermabraised, nipped, tucked, lipo-ed or hypo-ed.
 
Just somehow gotten the hell outta the way.
 
How would I look then?
 
Better, I tell myself. I have to move closer to the mirror at this point, to see what I'm doing. For sure, my face could look much better.
 
But now my mouth looks worse. As I yank up my cheeks, uh-oh, my mouth becomes thin, distended!
 
OK. Let's rearrange things. I inch my thumbs down just a little, aiming my mouth back where it started, but my central and upper face still wilt. Presuming, that is, you can still call it a face with an overstretched mouth.
 
All this might hurt. That's a lot of skin to whack off. Hell, it might even kill me. I hold the pose, considering my options.

Maybe I should also do something about these slits I call eyes.
 
To test the "Do-the-Eyes" theory, I leave my thumbs to the task of holding up some of the flagging face and lift the pelts under my eyebrows with my pinkies. The eyes are still too baggy, so I bring out my index fingers and add them to the makeshift winch.
 
Standing two inches from my mirror, hands and fingers splayed as if in a rendition of the lyrics "up in the air, Junior Birdman," laughter overcomes me, two new lines appear around my mouth, and I drop my hands and slap my thighs. (My thighs? Let's not even go there.)
 
You'll need a crane to fix this face, I tell myself, marching away from the mirror. Do cosmetic surgeons use cranes?

And I haven't even gotten to my neck.
 
Author and screenwriter Nora Ephron feels bad about her neck and has written a best seller saying so. She's trying to stop herself from going crazy as apparently many women (and some men) have, subjecting herself to one surgical or dermatological procedure after another.
 
One of my closest friends came to visit with a hole in her forehead the size of a minted California quarter, the result of a failed 2-month-old Botox treatment. The worry lines on her forehead were gone, but believe me, she was still worried.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, am I just aging or living after all? I think I'll follow the advice of another friend who offers this: If you look in the mirror and think you need a face-lift, maybe you're spending too much time in front of the mirror. Besides, I'm feeling just fine about my neck. It still holds up my head. - Pam Fleischaker
 
Fleischaker, former Oklahoma Gazette associate editor, has served as a commentary writer since 1987.

 
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