In my 20s, one of my favorite things to do was go through library sales. I love the smell of books, especially old books that somehow promise to transfer not just the wisdom of the writer but of all the readers who came across it. One of my favorite finds was a light-hearted read about aging by Nora Ephron (you know, THE Nora Ephron, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, etc.), with a rather whimsical name “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” I’d like to share an excerpt from the first chapter:
“Every so often I read a book about age, and whoever’s writing it says it’s great to be old. It’s great to be wise and sage and mellow; it’s great to be at the point where you understand just what matters in life. I can’t stand people who say things like this. What can they be thinking? Don’t they have necks? Aren’t they tired of compensatory dressing? Don’t they mind that 90% of the clothes they might otherwise buy have to be eliminated simply because of the necklines? Don’t they feel sad about having to buy chokers? One of my biggest regrets – bigger than not buying the apartment on East Seventy-fifth Street, bigger even that my worst romantic catastrophe – is that I didn’t spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck. It never crossed my mind to be grateful for it. It never crossed my mind that I would be nostalgic about a part of my body that I took completely for granted.
Of course it’s true that now that I’m older, I’m wise and sage and mellow. And it’s also true that I honestly do understand just what matters in life. But guess what? It’s my neck.”
Once a year or so, I stumble upon this book on my shelf. Then I head to the bathroom to stare lovingly at my neck and apply some ASL, so I can keep staring lovingly at it longer. I advise you do the same.