Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lying About Your Age: When is it Okay -- by Sybil Sage

One of the perks of turning 65 in New York is you become eligible for a Senior Metro card that allows you to use public transportation for half fare, so I was surprised to see a 67-year-old friend whip out a regular card as we were heading into the subway. Responding to the puzzled look on my face, she explained, "Oh, this is the one I use when I'm with a guy I've met online, where I claim to be 62."

She doesn't look 62 and she certainly doesn't look 67, but even shaving off five years hasn't been productive because most men our age are looking for women who are much younger. Another friend who's also posted her profile on dating sites refuses to misrepresent her age, which created a conversation about when it's okay to lie about your age.

I lied about age when I was using fake I.D. to get served before I was of legal age and again, this time about my son's age, to take advantage of a photography package being offered to children under the age of two, scheduling the session at nap time so he'd be tired and not articulate enough to raise suspicions, stuffing his mouth with Gummi Bears to keep him from talking. But recently, after repeatedly getting rejected by online surveys and imagining it was because of my age, I took to claiming I'm ten years younger than I am. Even so, I'm rarely accepted and unlikely to answer enough questions to get the $10 gift certificate I crave.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More than 15 Ways to Get 15 Minutes of Fame - by Sybil Sage

With the excessive media coverage, ever-growing number of bloggers and You Tube, it's now almost impossible to avoid getting fifteen, if not more, minutes of fame. Some surefire methods:

Lose a tremendous amount of weight, be the spokesperson for Jenny Craig, gain it back and parlay that into a television show;

Become his mistress, or better yet, have the baby of a married politician and pose for Vanity Fair; in the event you're male, pretend you've fathered said baby and write a book;

Crash a White House state dinner;

Get mauled by a 200-pound chimp or keep one as a pet;

Admit to having been sexually abused as a child, best if the perpetrator was famous;

Cover yourself with tattoos and have an affair with the husband of an Oscar winner;

Use all three of your names and assassinate a world leader;

Make all of Julia Child's recipe and blog about it;

Write a fake memoir, get support from Oprah and then have a family member reveal the truth;

Sing beautifully while looking frumpy;

Join the astronaut program and drive across the country to lash out at a romantic rival;

Have your school prom canceled because you intend to bring a same sex date;

Hide a bomb in your shoe or underpants;

Text message while piloting a commercial aircraft and forget to land;

Be nine years old and deliver your mother's baby;

Attach yourself to someone likely to come to as tragic an end as Michael Jackson or Anna Nicole Smith;

Become a religious leader, teacher, doctor or dentist and, in that capacity, have sex with someone;

Transgender, but start by having a famous parent;

Be named a "person of interest" in an unsolved murder case;

Preach to a congregation attended by a presidential candidate and make outrageous statements;

Gain stature as a super model and throw objects at your assistant;

Land a plane safely in the Hudson River;

Father the child of Sarah Palin's daughter and pose for a magazine spread;

Be a high profile athlete and then take steroids, attack another athlete or be attacked, admit to a sexual addiction or conduct dog fights;

Admit to running a huge ponzi scheme or be a family member of one who does;

After being in the administration, write a tell-all book blaming everyone else;

Gain fame and try to leave Scientology;

Be the oldest person in the world and die, but be aware your 15 minutes will be posthumous;

If all else fails, be named Britney, Lindsay or Paris and go to parties.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Are You Prepared for an Emergency? - by Sybil Sage

It was easy to be prepared for emergencies when there were only two, and all you had to do was make a note of the nearest fire exit and to crouch under the desk at school in the event of a nuclear attack. Guys didn’t have to be told (after the first emergency) to keep a condom in their wallets and girls (after one surprise mishap) figured out it’s wise to carry tampons in their purses. But emergencies, like drugstore chains, increased almost daily, making it harder to feel you’re up to speed.

We learned the Heimlich Maneuver (when and how to do it), CPR (with and then without the breathing), to toss off high heels if being chased by a rapist or pickpocket, how to slide out of a plane, which alarm system to install in our homes and pets, how to launch an Amber Alert, when it’s appropriate to call 911 and give Ipacac to our children, to sleep with a flashlight next to the bed if in an earthquake area and, more recently, how to handle an out-of-control Prius — though not yet told what to do if one is coming directly at us. For most other things, we turn to our nearest ER or Tech Support.

Adding to the overcrowded list, however, an article in a recent issue of Newsweek, by Raina Kelley, offered 12 ways to deal with being taken hostage, something I hadn’t — even in my most anxious state — considered. The head of the New York Police Department’s hostage-negotiation team advises:

1. Don’t be a hero
2. Do what you’re told
3. Don’t speak unless spoken to
4. Get comfortable, but never turn your back on the captor
5. Don’t make suggestions
6. Don’t try to escape
7. Let medical needs be known
8. Be observant
9. Answer only "yes" and "no"
10. Signal the police if your captors are listening in on the line
11. Don’t be argumentative
12. Hit the floor

This list should be memorized by anyone like to go on a boring date or attend a contentious family dinner.