The Cameron Column #45
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      Every once in awhile the state of Colorado invites me to be their guest at the department of motor vehicles to renew my driver's license. This involves standing in line for four hours in order to reach a woman behind the counter who will tell me that I am in the wrong line. After standing in the correct line, I find myself taking a written test filled with relevant questions like, "If you're driving a fifty foot tractor with a red cloth tied to the back and you see Wayne Newton crossing the street, can you think of any reason to slow down?" Then my photograph is taken and I am sent on my way with a new piece of plastic in my wallet.

      Imagine my horror when I last went through this exercise and discovered that they had somehow put a picture of my FATHER on my license!

      Naturally, being a mature, stable male with a serene sense of self, I immediately over-reacted and went to the drug store for every age-reversing product on the shelf.

      Retin-A: This cream causes the skin of your face to shred off in big sheets in the hopes that there will be someone better looking underneath. Alas, under all this Bruce Cameron there is just more Bruce Cameron, albeit with a permanent flush. No one thought I wound up looking younger, though my wife did remark I looked like I had been shaving with a plutonium razor, which I suppose is some sort of progress.

      Alpha-Hydroxy: You know those fine wrinkles under your eyes? Alpha-Hydroxy takes these wrinkles and replaces them with pain. I have no idea if I looked younger because my face was tightened into a wince for 36 straight hours.

      Ibuprofen: Regular use of Ibuprofen is supposed to prevent Alzheimer's disease but I can never seem to remember to take it.

      RHEA: Rhea is a male hormone extracted from rodents and put into pill form. Regular use is supposed to lead to a better sex life. Naturally, men buy them. I took RHEA every day for two months and my wife still fell asleep every time I began acting amorous, though my son's gerbils seemed to find me very sexy. Maybe I read the label wrong--I should have given them to my wife.

      Melatonin: Melatonin is a natural substance produced by your body until you become a teenager, at which time you begin producing stress. Use of melatonin is rumored to cause people to live longer. I took melatonin and it worked: I DID live longer!

      Rogaine: Rogaine allows men who are balding to recover some of their hair and I AM NOT BALDING. I merely noticed that I have grown more forehead lately, possibly in response to all I have learned in my life. So I used enough Rogaine to grow fur on a poached egg, to no avail (unless you count an unusually productive spurt from inside my nose.) Eventually I gave up. Besides, I have been reliably informed by a bald guy that women find bald men sexy, particularly if the women have been eating mouse hormones.

      Ab Rollers: Normally I wouldn't include Ab Rollers in a list like this because they are harder to swallow than a good dose of mouse hormones, but because I got one for Christmas (I cannot fathom why, since I have a washboard waist--albeit for fine washables) I thought I would throw it in. The box shows a smiling Suzanne Sommers look-alike giving herself an incredible body in a tiny outfit. I studied the box a great deal. However, after using the Ab Roller on Christmas and again in February, I noticed that I did not look anything at all like Suzanne Sommers. Nor did I smile much when I used it--my expression was more like Suzanne Sommers on Alpha-Hydroxy.

      My conclusion after all this extremely scientific research is that after centuries of trying we haven't yet found a way to make people younger, just poorer. If you find yourself looking in the mirror and seeing your parents staring back, my advice is simple: stop looking in the mirror.

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Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1997
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