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Life Arts    H3'ed 4/6/09


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                Psst.  Does anyone out there know where I can find it?  I’ve looked through the yellow pages, Googled on the Internet, even forked out a fortune to directory assistance…and, so far, zip.  But it’s got to be there.  I can’t think of any other explanation.

                I noticed it for the first time a few years ago, when I turned 40.  All of a sudden, favorite actresses that had always been my age were celebrating their 34th birthdays.  Sure, a few stars still proudly admitted to inching past the big 4-0, but then they somehow seemed to stall at a genteel 42.  Meanwhile, my years inexorably marched on, 43, 44, 45, 46…

                Kicking and screaming, I finally said good-bye to my mid-forties.  My 30 year relationship with my mirror was ending in an acrimonious divorce.   Desperate, I tried to take comfort in inspiring role models--beautiful stars that I believed were ahead of me on the path of maturity, like Candice Bergen, Meryl Streep, and Goldie Hawn.  I reassured myself that women in “the prime of life” could still be sexy and attractive—witness the wily, nubile movie-star returning to her big-screen signature role crossing her fingers (and uncrossing her legs) for success at age forty…eight!  Or, the well-known actress, who, my morning newspaper reported, was selling out theater crowds by baring her all on the London stage at age 45!  45!  Drat!  Another one was now younger than me!  How could I be inexorably hurtling towards 50 while so many actresses frankly…weren’t?!

                For days, I wracked my brain for an answer.  Then I remembered something I had read years ago in school, and struggled to understand—the Theory of Relativity.   Now it all made sense.  Einstein had hypothesized, and subsequent research with atomic clocks has confirmed, that when you travel faster and faster, time slows down.  The closer to the speed of light you go, the slower time goes.  For example, if you start with twin brothers, and kept one on Earth and sent the other speeding into space, the astronaut brother would be younger than his Earthbound sibling upon his return home.  

How Hollywood actresses stay so young then became patently obvious.  It isn’t the botox.  It only takes a few months at a time to make a movie.  So, what are these actresses really doing in-between films?  They may say they’re going for a “rejuvenation” visit to a “spa”, but I’ll bet that’s really shorthand for a visit to “space”.   Obviously, their agents and managers are sending them into the stratosphere in super-fast rocket ships (complete with masseuses, trainers, and plastic surgeons) so they’ll age more slowly than the rest of us mortals.   Then, when they return to Earth, the actresses are “relatively” younger than us more “grounded” individuals.   In fact, come to think of it, maybe that’s where the word “stars” came from!

I wish I’d stumbled onto this sooner.  But maybe it still isn’t too late, even for me.  If I scrimp and save, I might be able to hitch a ride on one of these time-shrinking flights myself.  That way I can honestly boast at my 35th high school reunion in a couple of years that I’m only 49.  But first, I have to find that “keep ‘em young” rocket agency.  Just because I’m not in the Hollywood loop, nobody’s letting me in on the 411.  Richard Branson, is that how you made your fortune?  Even NASA isn’t giving away the secret.  Listen, Hollywood, I’m on to you--and I want to stay young, too.   All I need is an address, a phone number, a web site.  Please, won’t you tell me where to find it?

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Jill Jackson is a practitioner of kindness and common sense. Unlike her cat, she prefers to think out of the box.

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