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I just ran into this photo of my dad and me from years ago. Amazing! I haven’t changed a bit.


Recently there was an article in the Times that said 59 percent of people between the ages 55-80 thought they looked younger than their age. A mere 6 percent thought they looked the same or older.


I love this! These are my people.


It all became clear to me sitting around with some friends and talking about a woman I know who was taking crazy chances skiing. I remarked snidely, “after all she isn’t exactly in the first flush of youth.” I was warming to the theme, getting all judgy. I may have even mentioned,’ Gerascophobic fear of getting old.


When suddenly, silence. My friends were  staring at me, barely concealing a laugh. I’d just been telling them I was planning another trekking adventure in Nepal.


Delusional. I’m not talking about picking invisible insects off your skin or getting messages from the archangel Gabriel or issuing thousands of lawsuits against the mailman. Unfortunately they and people like Donald Trump and QAnon have given delusions a bad name. But what I’m thinking about are good delusions. The internal victory dance you do when you think you just nailed it in a day of working.  I’m a genius! Maybe the next day you reconsider…uh, hold the Oscar. No. Not at all. But in the end, there’s all of the enjoyment you had just for the moment when you were thinking you were clever?


And I am not alone. How else to explain: talent contests, Dancing with the Stars, the entire cosmetic industry, miniskirts, thigh-high boots, skinny jeans on anyone over twelve, Hinge, Bumble, Grindr, Sugar Daddy, a closet full of mistakes, (You never know, next year you might fit into that size 3), the answer to a doctor when they ask how many units of alcohol do you drink. What’s a unit? Is it a bottle?


Although you have got to hand it to people who throw themselves a big party on their birthday and make a grand entrance preferably down a winding staircase as in Sunset Boulevard. What are they thinking? I guess, you might as well milk it.


You know the bit in a movie when the hero says, “Hey, Doc, give it to me straight.” I’m thinking, No, Doc, sugar coat it. Tell me a fairy tale with lots of rainbows and unicorns. If you must break bad news, do it in  costume or with a gag. Bury the headline and be sure to add loads of conditionals: could and should and perhaps.


I’m like the guy in the circus in charge of sweeping up the elephant dung who doesn’t stop complaining about the terrible stink. Finally his mother asks, why don’t you quit? He’s shocked. “What? And leave show business?”


When people say, ‘be realistic’, I just know I’m never going to like what comes next. And if someone starts a sentence with, ‘Let’s face it,’ Trust me, bad news always follows.


Anyway there’s so much more pleasure in having delusions. How else does the lottery earn a dime? Isn’t it worth the two bucks for the delightful hours thinking how you’ll spend all that lottery money? How about an around the world trip for Mom? That is, of course, after you buy an outsize yacht for yourself. And what about those grandchildren of yours? College doesn’t come cheap you know.


So with this in mind I’m going to share a few tricks to keep you in the delusional zone:

Elastic waistbands are a reliable old ploy.

Getting a good mirror to work in your favour can prolong the fantasy. It’s true there are good mirrors. After all in the Hall of Mirrors they can make you shorter and fatter; conversely, they can make you lithe. Sleeping Beauty’s step-mom made the fatal mistake of picking an honest one.

Standing on one leg on the scale will take a good few pounds off you. And if that doesn’t work there’s always the washing machine to blame.

Losing weight is easily fixed. Join a gym. After all, belonging to the gym and going to the gym are practically the same thing. Why not buy a Peloton? They’re great for drying clothes. Also dumbbells make perfectly serviceable door stops.


The point is not to fool other people, but to fool yourself. 


Because that’s the beauty of delusions. If someone comes to a party and looks awful or a guy’s shirt is popping buttons you may snicker to yourself, “do they not own a mirror?” Sure, there may be a moment of nasty pleasure in doing that.  But how much more pleasure is there to the guy who fools himself and thinks he looks great. After all where’s the advantage to slinking into a party trying to camouflage your batwings under a muumuu or secreting your fat thighs behind a couch? How much better to strut in, thinking you look fabulous. You never know, maybe you’ll fool someone other than just yourself. Anyway it’s always worth a try. Get up and join the music? Why not? Sure, you can dance.


And sure, I haven’t changed a bit in all these years.


TURNING POINTS from Crowd-Writing

a book by Shelley Katz

Out Now

1 Comment

May 10

Love this Shelley! Put a smile on my face this morning. Here's to our glorious delusions! All the best, Conrad 😀

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