Mirror, Mirror, Blah, Blah, Blah…


Writing about oneself in front of a mirror is a tired cliché. I’m a writer, allegedly; I know these things. So, the last thing I should be doing right now is standing here, in the bathroom, reflecting. And making lousy puns.

But enough about me. Just kidding. This is all about me. Or the mirror image of me. The one the hair that’s turning scalp-colored on top. Yeah, that guy. He looks middle-aged. Which is appropriate, I suppose. Fifty is coming for me, hard and fast, and I’m too slow and tired to even attempt to dodge. I look myself in the eyes. Blue like 2001 Flushes, surrounded by the cracked glass of inflamed capillaries. I look away. Shame and self-loathing has that affect. I almost lose my appetite. Almost. It’d be the first time in a long while that happened.

I weigh about thirty pounds too many. I know this because I have a state-of-the-art scale that I bought to make me more depressed. It works, really well. It has smart technology, sends me weekly emails. They start with, “Don’t let this week’s results discourage you.” No lie. How’s that for an uplifting message? It’s as humorous as it is pathetic. Today I outsmarted the smartass scale. Stepped off it before it could taunt me with my Body Mass Index. The first time I saw it, I thought 30 was good. It isn’t. That should have been obvious.

I once heard someone once say, “You can’t be kind of pregnant.” I think I am, though, kind of. From the looks of things, I will be expecting twins, if I don’t do something about it. Like I keep threatening to do. Right before, and right after I binge-eat. Salty stuff. Anything with cheese. Cheese with anything. Cheese per ipsum. Don’t forget ice cream. I never do. Not the fatty stuff, though, that’d be unhealthy. I buy Halo Top, because of its reduced calories. But you know what? A pint a day for months hasn’t helped me one bit. Can I get a refund if I complain? Better yet, coupons?

My shirt is as tight around my midsection as it used to be on my chest. I’ve wisely given up shirtlessness. We can all be thankful for that. Nobody, trust me, not even I, wants a detailed description of my terrifying torso. I poke my pudgy gut. I think it’s giggling. It’s not so bad, right, if I can still see my feet? I can! Or at least, my blue rubber Crocs. Let’s pretend I didn’t go out in public wearing them. Shopping. For cheese and ice cream.

Look at that, I have a slouch as well as a paunch. I’m also leaning a little to one side. That’s my herniated disk. Not from any specific injury or act of heroism; the doctor called it age-related. Age-related. I don’t like aging or any of its relatives. My back really hurts today. The Percocet Doc prescribed helps, more than the recommended rehab that I haven’t even tried. Percocet helps with everything. I take it at the first sign of pain. Or stress. Or when I start thinking too clearly. The narcotics combined with all of my anti-depressants give me a healthy appetite. That is to say, the appetite of a healthy hippo. Thus, the gut. And the accompanying depression. It’s a vicious circle of life.

I probably sound shallow, too concerned with my appearance. Looks aren’t everything. Good thing. But it’s not my physique and its recent changes that are most striking. It’s not the white hairs sprouting here, there, and everywhere. Or the squint that presbyopia gifted me with. The forehead that looks worried even when it isn’t worried. The murder of crow’s feet. The hypertension. Soar, blood pressure, soar!

No, the point of all this (it’s about time) is that I just realized who I resemble. In fact, I look exactly like him. Who? No, not Shrek. He’s green. And better looking. No, not my old man. He’s in better shape.

No, I tell myself with a sigh, I look like The Man Who Gave Up. That’s not me. It can’t be. I will NOT be That Guy.

So where do I go from here?

Away from this mirror, that’s for damn sure.