Stop aging – try phone sex and T-shirts | AspenTimes.com
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Stop aging – try phone sex and T-shirts

Michael Cleverly

“She wore a gown the colour of storms, shadows and rain and a necklace of broken promises and regrets.” Susanna Clarke I got a call last week from my old friend Terry, who said he wanted a favor. We were buddies years ago back East, when I first got out of college. Instead of taking advantage of an offer to go to graduate school, and an MFA, I went to work for Terry practicing the construction arts. (History has judged this decision cruelly, but enough about me.)My friend has been out to visit a couple of times in recent years and now lives in Bisbee, Ariz. A great admirer of the Woody Creek Tavern, he asked me to send him a WCT T-shirt.”Why the sudden need for a cheesy, tourist T-shirt?” I inquire.”It’s not for me. It’s for a female back in New Hampshire.””You go, girl,” says I.Terry, being a crusty carpenter type, and nobody’s idea of a student of the jargon of the moment, didn’t exactly appreciate being referred to as “girl.” Fortunately for me, he correctly identified my comment as being one of support and didn’t suggest an imminent thumping. “Surely there’s a story behind this,” I speculated.It seems that decades ago my friend had a brief, tawdry fling with this woman and now, through some strange circumstances, has become reacquainted with her. They are currently involved in a sleazy, long-distance sex phone continuum. Terry has offered to pay her way out to Bisbee, presumably to get a bit of the real thing. The T-shirt is his way of wooing her.”Terry,” I query, “how old is this woman?””She’s three months older than I am,” says Terry.I happen to know Terry’s 60, so I quickly do the math in my head. “The gal is 60 years old, do you realize this?”My friend falls silent. Now I don’t mean to suggest that 60 is over the hill. I’m 57 and consider myself still in play. (Women don’t, but enough about me.) I know at least one 60-year-old lady in town who’s hotter today than the hottest girl in my high school was back then. I’m sure she’s not the only one. This, however, is Aspen, not northern New England. If memory serves, a 60-year-old woman in New Hampshire looks a lot more like Granny Clampett than Jane Fonda.”Have you actually seen your dearest in the last 30 years? Do you even have a recent picture of her?””No” he says, unfazed. “In fact, why don’t I just give you her address and you can send the shirt directly to her.” At this point I think it’s safe to start referring to my old friend as “my idiot friend.””You don’t want to include a note or anything?””Nah … I’ll take care of that sort of thing later … on this end.” This is seriously romantic.”Your idea of putting the moves on her is to have your pal in Colorado ship a souvenir T-shirt to a 60-year-old woman in New Hampshire without so much as a note?””Well, maybe you could have some celebrities sign it,” says Terry. I hurt my knee when I tripped over the coffee table while lunging for my Rolodex to retrieve Jack Nicholson’s and Kevin Costner’s phone numbers.”OK, I’ll get right on that,” I assure my idiot friend.How, I ask myself, is this going to play out? Will the T-shirt gambit work? If it does work, will I be able to come up with someone to work it on? If something actually works for someone or anyone, will it really have been the T-shirt? Or, could it be that yearning that goes along with late middle age? This is a time when our future is mostly behind us. Some people succumb to ruminating, with little eye to what possibilities still do exist. Others fixate, not on what was, but what might have been – though it never will be. Still others, more optimistic and proactive sorts, try to go back, do a little tweaking. It’s never too late, there’s always hope.I, personally, feel that my best work is ahead of me and that’s what I focus on, but of these other views, I would tend to endorse the last one. This is the premise that my friend and his old/new squeeze seem to be operating under. Why not? It’s far better than just living in the past. Though I would say that this situation definitely implies, if not living in the past, a certain amount of touristing there. What the hell – why wear a gown the colour of storms, shadows and rain and a necklace of broken promises and regrets, when you can wear a shiny new Woody Creek Tavern T-shirt, even if it isn’t autographed by any celebrities?So I’ll send the T-shirt to the gal in New Hampshire. I’ll send this column to Terry. Though by the time it runs, and he receives it, I suspect it will be too late for him to benefit from any of the dubious wisdom contained within. If the T-shirt works, I don’t think it will really be the shirt. It will be something else, something sweeter or more primal. It might as well be a box of Triscuits as a T-shirt. Triscuits are cheaper. (Now we’re in my price range, but enough about me.)


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