For those of us who are in the “middle-age” zone (although we much prefer to call ourselves Boomers), Martha Bolton has a lot to say about the benefits, and pitfalls, of aging. And in her new book Cooking With Hot Flashes, she tells it like it is, making us laugh out loud at the pending (or already existing) characteristics of how to grow older gracefully.
These delightful and short essays serve up a hot dish of comedic fun as Bolton explores the various factors of aging well. Bolton, a full-time comedy writer who has written for the likes of Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller, helps us take on age with some startling ideas and silly suggestions, like shunning the comb over hairstyle, and feeling perfectly free to talk to yourself, and letting others hold open doors for you without tearing them a new you-know-what for dissing your feminist (or masculine) power. Then there are her suggestions for musicals, movies and songs geared toward the middle-age buying audience, say “Annie Get Your Girdle” and “Legally Gray,” or the smash romantic comedy, “Sleepless in Every City.”
Bolton teaches us new lingo, slang words, terms and phrases, and new attitudes towards life that only the wisdom and chutzpah of age can offer. She tackles exercise, cable television (trading in MTV for the Weather Channel), glamour photos, financial roller-coaster riding, the power of the word “until,” how to have fun again, and reminiscing over Johnny Carson and the “good old days” of our youth. But she never makes aging seem boring or scary or even dull. In fact, by the time you finish this book, you will no doubt be looking forward to the “good, new days” ahead with a sense of possibility, even excitement, amidst the usual fears and concerns aging brings.
The author’s purpose, obviously, is to lightly touch on the positive and negative aspects of middle age, with the emphasis on the positive, and with a healthy dose of laughter, sarcasm and wit that will have you singing the praises of growing older, even as you sing “Put Ben-Gay On My Shoulder” at the top of your lungs.
I am not quite sure her idea of a Seniors Football League will ever take off, or if her hilarious Ten Commandments For Aging will ever become permanently etched in our collective consciousness (Thou shalt not bear false witness with thy combover!), but I do think that her advice to stop trying to please others, to be yourself, to have fun, to enjoy life to the fullest and to think of age spots as beauty marks makes a lot of sense. Look, we are all going to get older, some of us already are there. Why not have fun with it and stop making aging look so horrid?
After all, only the wise and experienced can really get down and boogie to the tunes of “Where Did My Mind Go?” by The Supremes, or “Standing Up Is Hard To Do,” by Neil Sedaka. As an aging Will Smith once said, young folks just don’t understand.