Linda Dahlen

Being a hunter, I have trail cameras all over my hunting land south of Isle. Most are for spying on critters I hope to harvest or to ID trespassers. In making the rounds on my ATV to check food plots, bear bait and other things, I sometimes later see unknowing creatures on my trail cams. These could be hawks in flight, a moose, neighbors taking a peek at my cabin or land, or even myself. 

I was recently going through ten or so SD card photos, and there I was. I thought I didn’t look half bad for an old bat in camo, until the next photo. It made me shudder. It caught me closeup looking down on the camera just before I changed out the SD card. I had gopher jowls! This couldn’t be me? I mean, I don’t see that when I look in the mirror and put my face on in the morning. Or perhaps I was like the kitten looking in the mirror and seeing a lion? Photographs don’t lie.

My mom was right when she said, “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” Mom and her sisters used to laugh and say in jest, “Ah the splendor that was us.” I didn’t know what she meant then, but now I do. I realized at this gopher jowl moment how many signs of aging are named after critters or people or things. When I was in my 40s, at the kitchen stove making dinner for my then teenage kids, I was stirring something on the gas burner. I might also note I was a distance runner back then and felt I was in decent shape. My son came over and said, “Mom, you have batwings!”  I’m like, “What? What do you mean, batwings?”  He proceeded to point out a little loose skin flubber on the underside of my upper arms that waggled a bit as I was stirring the food. Bat wings indeed! When did that happen?

I have since found out that batwings are also call “BINGO arms,” as in when an arm is raised to wave and yell, “BINGO,” the same little flubber waggle is present. So, I had batwings. And now gopher jowls. My sister has joked that she has crow’s feet and puppet jaw. Another gal I knew said she had turkey neck.  Yet another had spider veins and mousey gray hair.  So, I present you with this partial menagerie list of age defining terms:

Gopher jowls – those little skin pockets that sag just below the front of each cheek

Crow’s feet – wrinkles at the outside corners of your eyes from laughing, but they aren’t funny

Spider veins – when your legs look like a Rand McNally road map of red and blue lines

Turkey neck – the loose skin waddles that hang under the beak of a turkey, but on a human

Puppet jaw – the vertical creases on either side of your mouth going downward to the chin, making your mouth look like a ventriloquist doll

Smile lines – the parenthesis lines either side of the mouth that connect to puppet jaw

Liver spots – nothing to do with the liver but are dark spots caused by too much UV light and sun damage

Bat wings or BINGO arms – described previously

Grouchos – overly hairy eyebrows like Groucho Marx, usually but not always, on a man

Muffin top – When too tight jeans cause belly fat to squish upward like a muffin

Wild nose hairs – long hairs that can actually sprout anywhere, ears and nose usually

Carnival face – when a face is a combination of several of the above things 

Unless we have plastic surgery, there is no getting away from these things. We of the elder ilk are relegated to our menagerie of imperfections. We can fight them, or we can laugh at them. Since laughing and smiling can make a person look ten years younger and it’s free, that is my go-to solution.  Frowning is bad habit anyway. And yes, I now always smile when I approach my trail cams.   

Linda Dahlen is a Messenger contributing writer.

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