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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

Older Women & Humor: Part 2

After paying a whopping income tax bill that pulverized my bank account and any hope of buying a new office desk, I was left with no other choice than to buy someone else's marred desk or to paint mine and hope to cover all the insults it has suffered over the past twenty-five years. Something about inheriting a stranger's ink blotches, computer scrapes, drawers that refused to close felt like borrowing someone's underwear.

I decided to paint. (More accurately, I would buy the paint, and my husband would do the painting. His reward? A free Korean dinner.)

Painting the desk necessitated cleaning the desk--a Herculean task I'd been avoiding. But I dug in and began sorting the rubber bands, paper clips, staplers (How did I end up with three?), checks, file folders for a book published in 2006, gum from decades earlier, computer and telephone cords, earbuds, plugs of all shapes and sizes that I'd been saving in case one fit an electronic device I still owned (Doubtful!), lined paper both legal and letter, pens, pencils, magic markers, sticky notes a la Frida Kahlo, photos, books (Did I mention that I'm an avid reader?) -- and greeting cards. A pile of greeting cards for all occasions.

It's hard to say how long it has been since I started collecting cards. I do know that the place where I get my car washed seems to have the best selection. The business has changed hands at least five times, but the cards remain.

The badass women in this first card dare the recipient to cross them: they are ready for the challenge--any challenge. I can only imagine how much fun they had pulling together their outfits: baseball caps or bandannas, t-shirts, sunglasses, baggy jeans, and gold chains. Well, not the real stuff but, hey, this is only a photo.

These older women stand proud. It doesn't matter that their skin is no longer Ivory soft or their faces no longer without the vestiges of years well lived. As the message says, "Old enough to know how to play the game, still young enough to score!" I don't know about you, but this in-your-face humor makes me laugh and makes me want to stand up and cry, "Power to older women!"

This card has several things that tickle my fancy. The women's almost flesh colored leotards with appliques covering their "privates" like Eve's fig leaf are a hoot. And the fringed adornments that hang like nipple tassles on a burlesque queen add a nice touch. And unless I'm wrong, either the blondes on either end are twins or clones of one another. The blue muffs (Oh, dear!) on what looks to be a sunny, warm day complete a getup that any woman with a sense of humor would love to wear.

And then there's the medication bit and how these older women will either mix them up unintentionally or, better yet, play chemist and concock their own synthetic drug. Either way, the message is clear: the birthday girl and friends are going to have a damn good time.

Of course, there couldn't be a card that didn't mention our fading memories as we age. I've had some pretty funny moments like forgetting my phone number. Poof. Gone. Thankfully, sooner than later, the neurons reconnected, and I was back in business.

The drawing on this last card reminds me of many older women I know who can still rock it. I can't vouch for the mini skirt (Are they still in vogue?) and the high heels (Ouch!), but the funky glasses, dyed hair, and the zest to keep moving until we can't makes me feel like a member of an elite club that boasts women who, even if their memory ain't what it used to be, remember plenty and get a kick out of sharing it with as many people who will listen.


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