Read Didn't My Skin Used to Fit? Online

Authors: Martha Bolton

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Didn't My Skin Used to Fit?

DIDN'T MY
SKIN USED
TO FIT?

Books by Martha Bolton

FROM BETHANY HOUSE PUBLISHERS

Didn’t My Skin Used to Fit?

I Think, Therefore I Have a Headache!

Cooking With Hot Flashes

Growing Your Own Turtleneck

It’s Always Darkest Before the Fridge Door Opens
(with Phil Callaway)

Your Best Nap Now

MARTHA BOLTON

DIDN'T MY
SKIN USED
TO FIT?

Didn’t My Skin Used to Fit?
Copyright © 2000
Martha Bolton

Cover illustration by Daniel Vasconsellos
Cover design by Sheryl Thornberg

Scripture quotations identified NIV are from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.
®
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. The ‘‘NIV’’ and ‘‘New International Version’’ trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Scripture quotations identified KJV are from the King James Version of the Bible.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN 978-0-7642-2184-2

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Bolton, Martha, 1951–
     Didn’t my skin used to fit? : living, laughing, loving life after forty! / by Martha Bolton.

          p.     cm.

     ISBN 0-7642-2184-1
     1. Aging—Humor. 2. Middle age—Humor. I. Title.

PN6231.A43 B65       2000
814'.54—dc21                                                                                                                        00–008485
CIP

To Dr. Robert Rood,
my doctor and friend,
for keeping me together
all these years.

MARTHA BOLTON is a full-time comedy writer and the author of over fifty books. She was a staff writer for Bob Hope for fifteen years along with writing for Phyllis Diller, Wayne Newton’s USO show, Ann Jillian, Mark Lowry, Jeff Allen, and many others. Her material has appeared in
Reader’s Digest, Chicken Soup
for the Soul
books, and
Brio
magazine, and she has received four Angel awards and both an Emmy nomination and a Dove Award nomination. Martha and her husband live in Tennessee.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

A special thanks . . .

To my husband, Russ, whom I met when I was fifteen years old and married when I was eighteen . . . back when my skin used to fit.

To my family: Russ II, Matt, Tony, Nicole, Crystal, and Kiana, who try their best to keep me dressing young and in style. (Now, where did I put those bell-bottoms?)

To my friends Linda Aleahmad and Mary Scott, for never letting a birthday pass without getting our annual dose of laughs. Despite what the rest of our bodies are doing, I’m glad none of us has developed a wrinkle in our sense of humor.

To the memory of my father and mother, Lonnie and Eunice, who taught me how to find the humor in all circumstances . . . even crow’s-feet.

To my ‘‘adopted’’ mother, Diantha Ain, whose energy and youthful appearance continue to defy the aging process. What’s your secret, Di?

To my editor, Steve Laube, who didn’t send even one threatening e-mail while waiting for me to finish this project. (Changing my address four times might have had something to do with that.)

And finally, to all my friends and relatives, who’ve made this life the wonderful journey it is, I thank you from the bottom of my murmuring heart.

CONTENTS

1. Hangin’ Loose

2. Yo Quiero No Discount

3. Walk a Mile in My Feet

4. And He Huffed and He Puffed

5. Hey, Brother, Can You Spare a 401K?

6. Out of Style

7. Changing With the Times

8. A Handout

9. Tan Your Hide

10. Infomercial Paradise

11. Making Memories, Not Regrets

12. Gravy Is Not a Food Group

13. I’ve Only Got Eyelids for You

14. Death Doesn’t Become Us

15. Are We Having Fun Yet?

16. Thanks for the Memory . . . Loss

17. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore

18. Regrets

19. The Gravity of the Situation

20. All Grown Up

21. A Hairy Experience

22. A Cut Above

23. Old Friends

24. Blisters, Sweat, and Tears

25. You’re So Vein

26. Where’s Your Drive?

27. Beside Myself

28. Happy Birthday to Me

29. The Good Ol’ Days

30. Extra! Extra!

31. Aka Doughgirl

32. Impatiently Ever After

33. Life of the Party

34. Is There a Doctor in the House?

35. It’s All in the Attitude

36. I’m My Own Grandma

37. When You’ve Got It, You’ve Got It

38. Plenty to Smile About

39. Seasons

40. The Search

41. Scars

42. Hold Your Tongue

43. Running Hot and Cold

44. That’s Entertainment?

45. Made to Last

46. What’d You Say?

47. Who Unplugged the Fountain of Youth?

48. Evading the Obvious

49. And Another Thing

50. Priorities

51. The Ride

1
Hangin’ Loose

I began noticing it several years ago. The skin I had worn for most—no, make that all—of my life suddenly didn’t fit anymore. It used to fit. Rather snugly, as a matter of fact. It was tight around the eyes and mouth. There wasn’t any extra under my chin or any hanging down from the sides of my cheeks. There was just enough to make one pass around my entire body. One trip was all that was required, and the exact amount was provided to do the job. Not too much, not too little. It was a perfect fit.

It even stretched. If I gained a pound or two, or twenty, my skin easily expanded to accommodate the increased territory. It wasn’t judgmental. It didn’t condemn me for that third trip to the food bar. It never tried to knock the brownie out of my hands or shame me into putting back that super-sized scoop of banana pudding. It simply stretched and accommodated. It met the challenge of whatever was required and never once complained.

If I lost weight, my skin was equally accommodating. It would easily return to its original size as though nothing had ever happened. I could gain weight or lose to my heart’s content, or discontent, and it would adjust, snapping right back into place when the time was right.

Well, it doesn’t snap back anymore. In fact, it doesn’t do much of anything except hang there, looser in some places than in others. Like under my chin. That’s where a lot of it seems to gather and hang. I’m not very happy about that. It’s disconcerting when people stare at my neck and I know they’re thinking about Thanksgiving.

Frankly, I think someone should come up with a choker necklace that could be worn just below the chin and would keep all that extra skin tucked neatly in place so it doesn’t hang down like loosened upholstery under an antique chair. Whoever designs the first necklace like that will make a fortune.

Little folds of flesh have started to gather around my eyes, too—wrinkles that won’t minimize no matter how much wrinkle minimizer I apply. They call it ‘‘crow’s-feet,’’ but my face doesn’t have just a few of them. It has a whole chorus-line thing going on! Every time I squint, my skin seems to fanfold itself into a neat little stack, like pulled taffy, right beside my eyes. It’s orderly, but not very attractive. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want tidy little stacks of pulled taffy next to my eyes. I’d much rather go back to the days when crow’s-feet were something you only worried about in an Alfred Hitchcock film.

For some reason, my upper arms have fallen to this extra-skin curse, as well. Don’t ask me why, because I haven’t a clue. What I do have, though, is a nice swag look every time I raise a hand. I’ve measured, and there is a good two inches of loose skin under each arm. If a strong wind kicks up, I could be flapping for hours.

I don’t think I’d ever actually become airborne, but given the right aerodynamic circumstances, I wouldn’t bet against it. That’s the reason I wear long sleeves most of the time. They help keep me grounded and save the embarrassment of having to explain a sudden and unscheduled flight to air traffic controllers. What would I say?

‘‘I know I should have radioed in my flight pattern, sir, but this was one of those spur-of-the-moment trips. And besides, that 747 could easily have gone around me.’’

I’m sure I’d get into some sort of trouble with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Personally, I believe that’s why Renaissance clothing sported those long, flow-y sleeves. The women back then had a problem with loose underarms, too.

I’ve also been noticing the skin beginning to bunch up around my ankles. I thought about painting the little rolls of flesh to match my outfits, passing them off as slouch socks, but decided against it. Even slouch socks aren’t supposed to go
that
far up your legs. Besides, if I wear real tight nylons, I can usually push the extra skin back up to my knees, where people
expect
to see extra skin.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could unzip our skin, take it to the dry cleaners, and let them shrink it back into shape? They shrink everything else! I suppose that’s not an option, though. When’s the last time you saw a dry cleaner coupon that read, ‘‘While-U-Wait Epidermis Pressing. Save 20%’’?

An elderly movie star I once worked with had a good idea. She pulled all the loose face skin up under her bangs, then taped it back by her ears. Amazingly enough, it gave her the illusion of being thirty years younger! I was so impressed with the results, I tried it myself, but it didn’t work as well for me. All we had in the house at the time was duct tape, and the silver kept showing through my hair.

Skin that doesn’t fit is just one of the symptoms of growing older. There are plenty more, of course. Symptoms that, for the most part, we can’t stop no matter how much we’d like to or how hard we try, so we might as well laugh about them. And laughing about them is what this book is all about.

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