I've reached that point in the evolution of my face where I see how, for some women, it's a real fork in the road. Your crow's feet have become permanent and the skin under your cheekbones is kind of crepe-y and oh, lord, what happened to your neck, is that a wattle? There's no going back, only forward. You can either accept it or you can hire a surgeon.
Jackson: "Mom, you should get cosmetic surgery."
Jackson: "So you can stay young!"
And that's the belief, right there: if you look young, you are young; you're reeling away from death one collagen injection at a time. Which, of course, you're not. Old age is still waiting for you with open arms, but now it's a little creeped out by your clown lips.
The thing about Jackson is he's terrified of death and don't even try to talk him gently through it, every conversation will end in hyperventilation. He doesn't want to hear about the cycles of nature or angels or -- just don't. We took him to see "This Is It" yesterday, the Michael Jackson movie, and at first he was sort of into it because he loves the music, but then about a quarter of the way through it he turned to me and whispered, "I don't like this movie because it's about someone who's dead."
"Do you want to go take a walk?" I asked him, but he shook his head no and burrowed in close to me, and I thought he was -- I don't know what, just hanging in there. We had some popcorn. I kept my eye on him. I was prepared to go, but also half thinking of all the candy-coated kids' movies I've gone to for his sake and thinking maybe it wouldn't kill him to suck it up and sit through some totally PG thing Jack and I wanted to see. Well, wrong again, Mom, WRONG. Apparently I ruined his life by taking him to that movie and forcing him to contemplate his mortality, and also, just to ratchet it up a few more notches, by telling him there was no Santa Claus*, "MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE FUN AGAIN, MOM, NEVER, WHY DID YOU TELL ME THERE WAS NO SANTA, WHY CAN'T I HAVE A TIME MACHINE AND GO BACK IN TIME BEFORE I EVEN KNEW SANTA EXISTED!"
The moral of this story is twofold. One: If you're going to lie to your kids, keep it going forever. You keep on putting out reindeer food on Xmas Eve, Elfy, until the world is out of oatmeal and glitter; keep slipping money under their pillows until they're in dentures, Mrs. Tooth Fairy McLiarpants. And Two: Don't expect a child who's had nothing more to eat than a Pop Tart, half a salami sandwich, and a fistful of buttered popcorn to act like an exceptionally rational human being at the end of the day. Yeah, oops. What? I thought you gave him lunch.