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Closet Hypochondriac

Dear Reader,

Since you’re here, my friend, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I am a complete and total closet hypocondriac.

Here’s how I figure:

There are people with enormously good luck and there are people with enormously bad luck.

The people with enormously good luck are the lottery winners, they’re the youngest on Granta’s list of the best young American novelists; they’re the people who are at the right place at the right time with the right idea, who earn enough money in one go to devote the rest of their lives to collecting 17th century German hair shirts, creating avant garde ichiban designs and raising chickens.

And the people with enormously bad luck?

These are the people who contract a disease so rare it gets named after them, the people who go jogging for the first time in their life and get eaten by a mountain lion, the people who prove Spontaneous Human Combustion isn’t just something they made up for This is Spinal Tap.

And who’s to say I’m not one of them?

MS, lupus, brain eating amoebas, oh my….So many diseases and misfortunes to be secretly afraid of (and I never tell anyone, so consider yourself special.)

Like hypochondriacs the world over, closeted or no, I sometimes indulge in a little online diagnosing:

Has the skin at the base of your neck been itching?


Are you frequently tired?


Are your cheeks puffier than usual?


Is your forehead strangely warm to the touch, although you don’t have a fever?


Your results are….

Oh my god, my face is falling off!!


Can hair get cancer?


Now a different yet vaguely related topic:

In mid-February, I turned 43, and what this means is I’m right good middle-aged.


Dear Reader, as you are astute, you have likely noted there is still a lingering bloom of youth about my person. But here’s the thing:

I ain’t getting any younger.

My figure is zaftig, which is well and good, but my face is a little jowly and I have a double-chin and, let’s be honest now, “zaftig” is really only a hair’s breadth away from matronly.

So last week, instead of googling to find out if my sore feet might be fatal, I searched for easy ways to slim your face. I found a website with the “face lift” exercises I modeled in this pictures, all guaranteed to trim and tuck—if you keep them up for months.

This is brilliant! I’ll do these face life exercises everyday for the rest of my life! If I have to get old, at least I’ll get old like Helen Mirren!

But when I scrolled down, I read a comment, and the comment said:

Sorry, but the only real way to slim down your face is by losing weight.

Curse you, truth teller, thwarter of my magical thinking!

(But who knows: Maybe I’ll manage the weight losing too, now that I’ve finally convinced myself ice cream is not among the essential daily food groups.)

Still, I’ll stick with the face life exercises for a while at least. They actually feel good and, hey, you never know.

If nothing else, they’ll give me one more reason to laugh at myself, an ability I’m so very glad I have.




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