Beauty Secret

I recently read an ad in the New York Times Magazine with the headline: “Vanity. Can It Save Your Life?”

Of course, the flashy text offered a regimen of skincare products cleverly known as “The Wrinkle Cure.” Long a staple for the world’s most beautiful and famous faces. Their secret can now be yours . . .

There were no prices listed, but New York Times + famous faces = caaaching$$$! I’d like to offer a less expensive beauty secret. A real call to action. And it may sound a bit simplistic and a tad unwieldy, but women’s self-esteem worldwide would be boosted.

Ban all fluorescent lights above bathroom mirrors—at home, at work, in malls, airports, or restaurants. They are fluor-evil. Consider how the greenish, white overhead glow creates that unflattering horror-film look—the dark circles, bloodless pallor, spooky shadows, wicked queen-turned-horrid hag wrinkles.

Instead, install soft white lights (though energy-saving ones) alongside mirrors. Presto! Look 10 years younger! Wrinkles disappear instantly! Skin tone improves within seconds! No more dark circles or under-eye puffiness!

This décor update would make women feel better about themselves during their 30-second checkups in bathroom mirrors, avoiding that internal sigh of resignation at perceived flaws.

People, after all, don’t walk around with fluorescent bulbs above their heads.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, who’s the fairest?


Dinosaurs and Pirates

I’ve often wondered: Why are children so obsessed with dinosaurs and pirates?

Perhaps it’s because both species are scary and yet extinct, so the experience of pretending to be in their by-gone worlds is a lot like being an adult watching horror flicks—there’s the fear-rush of adrenaline, yet the bad guys can’t really touch you. (Yes, there’s been a spate of modern day pirates stalking ships off the coast of Somalia and the specter of dinosaur cloning in Dino Lab and other near-reality Science Fiction. So far, those are adult worries).

The pairing of pretend pirates and dinosaurs for my kids seems more apropos because children, themselves, have a knack for being unsocialized mercenaries and natural predators. They like to dress up in the latest pirate couture or just stomp through big weeds and roar.


I gave a homeless man some change the other day.

He was standing on the corner of Goucher Boulevard and Dulaney Valley Road. In the background was the Sheraton Hotel.

“Hungry. Homeless,” read his faded, creased sign.

His hands were swollen, dry and cracked, his untrimmed fingernails curving over his fingertips.

I wound down the window a second time.

“Excuse me, would you like a Little Debbie’s?” I asked. I’d been munching on the oatmeal-creme cookies instead of lunch and had another I was saving for my kids.

“Sure,” he said.

The traffic light had already turned green. But no one behind me honked.