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by Rose Madeline Mula

It’s just not fair. I try to be a good sport. I really do.

Even though the only exotic sites I see these days are on PBS travelogues, I don’t complain when those who are not as financially challenged as I winter in the Greek Islands, summer in their palatial digs in the Hamptons, and jet off to Paris for a weekend whenever they have a hankering to nibble on a croissant at a sidewalk patisserie on the Rue de la Paix.

Furthermore, no one hears me whine (much) because everyone else on the planet has cable TV or satellite dishes that pull in 120 channels sharply and clearly, while I have to keep adjusting my rabbit ears to decrease the “snow” on the half-dozen network channels I can coax in. Neither do I bellyache that I have to watch those stations on an old, bulky 19-inch set instead of a state-of-the-art 60-inch plasma wall display.

And my Wal-Mart radio may not sound like I have a symphony orchestra in my living room, but I’m sure my neighbors appreciate that I’m not drowning out their own sophisticated, surround-sound music systems.

As for all the walkers and joggers I meet at the local track, I try not to envy them the thousand songs they can choose from on their cute, tiny Ipods. I tell myself that I’m glad I don’t have to go through the hassle of downloading and cataloging all those tunes.

Besides, the cassette in my Walkman provides me with more than enough music to power my daily two-mile trek.

At least I have a computer. So what if I can’t afford DSL or Broadband and still have only a slow dial-up connection to the Internet that ties up my phone whenever I’m online? Actually, that’s a blessing; because when hoity-toity socialites don’t call to invite me to their A-list bashes or publishers and producers aren’t ringing and clamoring for my services, I can tell myself it’s simply because my phone is busy and they can’t reach me.

I don’t even grumble when I have to push my vacuum cleaner around myself because all the Merry Maids in town are busy doing the housework for those who can actually pay them (which explains why they’re so merry).

But it’s gone too far. Now not only do the beautiful people lead more glamorous, less stressful lives than I, but they’re all becoming even more beautiful because they can pay exorbitant fees for implants (breast, hair and dental), face lifts, tummy tucks, lasik surgery, liposuction, collagen injections...

Soon nursing homes and retirement communities will be filled with gorgeous smooth-faced men and women in wheel chairs or tottering around on canes or walkers.

Unless I hit the lottery and can also indulge in multiple cosmetic surgeries, before long I’m going to be the only person in America who looks her age — which means I’ll look older than the few women still alive who are old enough to be my mother.

Some deride those who they say have had too much “work” done — people whose faces are so unnaturally tight they no longer have any expression whatsoever. So? What’s so terrible about that? I would kill for that look!

But how to get it? I’m tempted to hit the streets carrying a large sign that proclaims, Will Work for Botox.

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep slathering on the drugstore wrinkle decrease cream. Yeah, right — that’s going to work.

Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.


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