Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Suffering Rich!

While the title might suggest I'm about to launch into a philosophical or sociological examination about the guilt rich people feel for having too much of everything, I promise you it's no such thing.

This is about the physical suffering they go through in their struggle to stay looking young in spite of the ravages of age. Since this entire blog is based on having insider information on how they live and conduct themselves, in this particular situation I have not only observations but personal experience to add to it.

Here's what happened: A couple of years back I took a hard fall on a hiking trail, face down on the rocks. Ouch! And I really mean ouch! Apparently knocked out for awhile (long enough for insect bites and buzzards starting to circle) it resulted in a dizzy-fying concussion that lasted for months. But that wasn't the end of it. It seems the levator muscles were damaged, resulting in increasingly droopy eyelids. (Not unlike Matt Damon, ok?) 😒  But the point is, the decreasing light was beginning to interfere with night driving. The eye doc said it's only going to get worse, and since it would be a medical necessity the insurance company would pay for it - as opposed to elective plastic surgery. But it's the same exact procedure that rich people go through to look younger. Which I felt embarrassed about and dreaded like crazy!

The suffering: First off, did you know they don't put you to sleep for this procedure? Nope! Just stick needles in your eyelids with a pain killer. What? What! Ouch! Then they start cutting away with a hot cauterizing knife to get rid of the droopy skin. But then YIKES - you start to feel both the cutting and the hot knife, and they stick more pain killer into your eyelids! Oh my lord! After a long miserable half hour, they tell you they're all done cutting and will now starting stitching your eyelids back together. Great! But it takes for freaking ever and you're feeling the little needle pricks and the string being pulled through! Help me God! All through the procedure I kept wanting to jump up and run out! But you can't really do that without eyelids, can you? With shattered nerves and a queasy stomach, when it was finally all over they kicked me out and sent me home to recover as best you can on your own. 😓

The recovery: Surprisingly (thankfully!) the post-op pain was easily manageable with gin and tonic. But there's major black eyes and swelling for a good two-to-three weeks, something like Mike Tyson would understand and appreciate, requiring lots of bed rest, propped up pillows, and ice packs.

Reactions from others: This is the fun part and it seemed to break down into three categories. When out and about with my cousin Celene (a tough looking chick) we got weird looks that we interpreted as suspicion of domestic violence! At the gym people generally asked if there was a fight or an accident. But here in my rich uppity neighborhood I got sympathetic 'knowing looks' and smiles, like they understand exactly what I've been through. Which I was afraid of in the first place - and embarrassing as all get out!

The difference between the rich and poor: Of course rich people have these procedures done in luxury resort hospitals like in Switzerland and I suspect they might have sedation of some sort - if nothing other than a couple of gin martinis before the surgery. Instead of being thrown out onto the street to recover on their own, they enjoy a luxurious two-or-three week holiday, pampered by attentive personnel who apply ice packs hourly for a few days to keep the swelling at bay. There's massage therapy to help you relax, and plenty of activities and gourmet food while the bruising and swelling slowly disappears - well before re-entering society with an all new face. In fact, many rich people discretely disappear to Switzerland in deep winter and do this sort of thing before the spring social season begins.

The thing is, I found this whole simple surgery thoroughly disturbing and painful. It's hard to believe that rich people do this on an elective and regular basis. Not just eye lifts but full face lifts, nose jobs, chin jobs, butt lifts, tummy tucks, breast augmentation, and liposuction for days. There is serious pain involved with all these silly self-indulgent procedures - which is why I'm going to say if you don't think rich people suffer for having all that money, look twice! 👀

I hope this post wasn't too dumb. But it's part of the big picture as to what the rich are up to. With all their cash and power, they want to live forever of course! And why not try to look good along the way? 😏

As always, thanks for dropping in tonight,


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Farewell to "The Greatest Show on Earth"!

It came as a sad shock in January when Ringling Bros.and  Barnum & Bailey Circus announced they were closing down after 146 years! Something akin to the world spinning off it's axis, to my way of thinking.

It also came as a shock when my crotchety old employer asked me to acquire six tickets to one of their last performances in Uniondale, New York. Honestly, I didn't know the old buzzard had any scintilla of sentimentality whatsoever, but apparently he does. I figured he and his guests would stay at the penthouse in Manhattan and take a limo out to Uniondale for the performance. But no, he asked me to book a three-bedroom suite at the Plaza. Which actually makes the whole thing more simple for me. I'll just dump it all in the Concierge's lap at the Plaza and let her take care of the tickets and limo arrangements. (Concierges always have the best tickets anyway, albeit triple/quadruple the cost.)

Nelda, our ancient Teutonic executive housekeeper, told me that as a child he used to stay at the Plaza with his parents when Ringling Brothers came to town, and actually saw the circus under the Big Top. Which would have been before 1957 when Ringling stopped bringing their own tents in favor of setting up in local venues like coliseums, sports stadiums and arenas. Personal memories are from seeing the shows in a coliseum where high wire acts were easily suspended from the rafters above.

But I get it, and understand why he wants to nourish and relive his memories. Ringling has been a part of American culture for almost a century and a half. When they arrived and set up their Big Top, schools would close and there would be a town holiday. Long before there were zoos in American cities, where else could children see exotic animals - lions, tigers, bears, and elephants! Not to mention all the wonderful old films about circus life, plus all the famous stars (like The Flying Wallendas and clowns like Emmett Kelly) who came from that extravaganza.

The cost of sustaining all the performers and maintaining those animals all year round, plus transporting them to a venue is mind boggling to begin with. With the pressures of animal rights activists nowadays (which I fully understand), pulling the elephants from the show was reportedly the last straw and resulted in declining sales. The Greatest Show on Earth had no choice but to shut down.

My thoughts now are with all the performers; what will they do in the future, and where will all the animals go? I suspect the animals will go to zoos, and the performers will stick together and go into retirement at Ringling Brothers' winter home in Florida. Why not? But I guess we'll hear more about this later, hopefully with some memoirs coming forth.

The thing is, Ringling Brothers has been around for over half the lifespan of the United States itself, and it's hard to say goodbye. Although we still have a three-ring circus going on in Washington these days, it's not really the same, is it? And never will be.

If you want to catch one of their last shows, here's a link to their schedule. And as always, thanks for dropping by this evening.