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Real Age and Other Motherly Lies

November 12, 2009 Humor No Comments

The Internet is a useful tool. Sure, everyone knows it’s great for breaking news about celebrities in rehab. But when I get enough dirt on Britney’s eternal quest for self-improvement, there are lots of great sites where I can focus on my own.

I stumbled across a site that offers a quiz that is supposed to tell my “real age” as opposed to my actual age. Dont believe me?  “Real” meaning how many miles I’ve got on my odometer so to speak vs. the number of hours I’ve got on the clock. So in theory, a person can be 40 going on 72 or 40 going on 34. Take your pick.

The quiz has so many questions that I aged noticeably in the time it took to finish it. The various categories snooped into my eating habits, exercise regimen, lifestyle choices, and degree of stress. Now I know how Brangelina and TomKat feel.

Paparazzi-like, it scrutinized my education, my bank account, my marriage, even my love life. It went so far to ask about that pimple on my chin. I still maintain it’s just an allergic reaction. Thankfully, the program is not sophisticated enough to factor in that double-chinned photo of me digging in at Christmas.

At the movie theater recently, the ticket-seller kid asked me if I wanted the senior discount. Sure, I was probably old enough to be his mother but not his GRANDMOTHER. That’s one reason why I was a little concerned going into this test. Do I really look 65? My mother doesn’t look 65!

I took the test. It was a relief to have my “real” age come back a decade younger than my driver’s license. One possible explanation is I lead an exemplary life when it comes to health, fitness and wellness. Another possible explanation is that I lied. I couldn’t help it. I really am not ready for ten percent off senior day. In fact, I’ll pay ten percent more if you card me and act like you mean it.

So I felt compelled to figure the psychology behind each question and work it to my advantage. For example, different ethnic backgrounds may be at higher or lower risk for various conditions. But which one should I choose? My mind went blank. All I could remember was the bestseller French Women Don’t Get Fat. That was no help. Even I know that French is not a race. It is more of an attitude.

My mouse hovers over the Native American box, hesitating. I could click it and not be completely fibbing. I’ve got a few drops of Native American blood but not enough for a piece of any Indian casino pie. It’s got to be a trick question. I sigh and check “Caucasian.”

Next it wants to know how many friends I have? Another pit of vipers. Is it a good thing to have a lot of friends or does that make me shallow? Do I have too few? Am I anti-social? How should I define friend? I decide it depends on a multitude of factors. If it’s time to sell Girl Scout cookies, then each and every one of you is my friend and it is $4 a box. If you have a boat and will let me borrow it, you are my best friend. If my kid likes your kid, then I will at least be friendly. But there is no gray area. The choices are numerical, so I randomly pick five.

Stress is a category unto itself. Have I been seriously ill? Does seriously irritable count? Job change? Nope, still unemployed. New baby? Not that I noticed. But after watching the news about the full-term surprise, I’d better check to make sure. Lawsuit? I won three hundred bucks in small claims. Does that count? Deaths? Only Anna Nicole Smith that I can recall.

I think I knocked off a few years with the Stress Category. It would have been a whole different story if they had a “Remodel” box to tick or “Special Assessment by HOA” or even “Lives with a Preteen in Low-Rise Jeans.” My recent favorite, “Major Pipe Leak” was also absent. That’s the one where four months of water drains straight to the ocean in about four days. Technically, if it isn’t on the list, I’m not stressed. I’m on a roll now. I eat tons of veggies, exercise strenuously, take my vitamins, and never yo-yo in my weight. I hit “Submit” and the years melt away. Wow. I feel younger already.


Jody Payne
Mom Living Out Loud

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