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Here & Now

Then and Now IllustrationHello, Classmates! Please?

Just a reminder, karen: zero  classmates signed your guest book this month.”

I don’t know about you, but information like this is not the most cheerful way to start the day. But it was my own fault. I signed up for that free classmates website where you can find your high school graduating class, and then scroll down the pictures to see how old everyone else has gotten.

At first, I received a flurry of notices, alerting me to the burgeoning list of long-lost friends anxious to reconnect with me. “Just click here,” the instructions said, “to find out who they are.”

Wow, instant self-esteem. I clicked. There it was a nice, long list. But—gotcha!—the names are all blurred out. If I want to actually read the names, it turns out, I have to pay.

The first couple of times, I tried to decipher the letters to see if I could outsmart their blur machine. That didn’t work.

To retaliate, I started ignoring the notices. But they got the last word with a final, crushing blow: ZERO classmates care whether they ever reunite with me.

It recently has come to my attention what my problem might be. The muscles around my jaw line appear to have fallen asleep on the job. They could use a wakeup call and a bit of re-training, says Lindsay, my aesthetician at The Ritz-Carlton Spa. Seriously? Re-training? Luckily, there’s an app for that.

Also, it seems that the cute sprinkling of freckles that once danced across my face in high school has migrated over the years into large (and not-so-cute) affinity groups. It’s the price one pays for years of not slathering on the sunscreen. Is there an app for that? What about the dewy plumpness in my 20-something face that has migrated to another, less desirable location? Is there an app for that, too? Actually, yes and yes.

I remember when Adobe introduced Photoshop 1.0 in 1990. The technology originally was developed for the Star Wars movies by two of Steven Spielberg’s special effects guys. We were stunned to watch skilled technicians color-correct, enhance and brighten us. They could soften a sharp edge here and slim us down a bit there. See an unworthy freckle? Just erase it. Photoshop could instantly brush away the decades, restoring us—in the picture, anyway—to youth and vitality. 

Smiling YouthWho knew that two decades later, medical science would be able to achieve Star Wars results on our actual faces and bodies? It’s true. Instant gratification. No scalpel, no surgery, no pain.

For the inside scoop on the latest instant rejuvenation therapies, you could peek into those glam “swag bags” they hand out to Oscar and Emmy nominees. But why wait? 
Flip right to p. 70 and follow me as I see for myself the magic being performed by some of the country’s top doctors, med spas and aesthetics specialists. Not in Hollywood or New York or Brazil, but right here on the Gulfshore.

Oh, and you can just wipe that smirk off your face, gentlemen. It’s not just us women who secretly yearn for a magic eraser. Men tend to come around a tad later, like maybe age 50 or so, when smart-aleck MBAs younger than their own kids start infiltrating the executive suite.

It happens to practically everyone at some point, says prominent Fort Myers vein specialist Dr. Joseph Magnant: “A guy will be shaving, and he does a double take in the mirror and says to himself, what the heck
is THAT?”

He’s only partly joking, of course. But if all of a sudden ZERO friends wish to reconnect with you, I’m just saying.

I didn’t get to grow up here in Paradise, but my children did. It used to be that after college, kids would head for the excitement and job opportunities of bigger cities. But while they were gone, the Gulfshore got sophisticated—in the arts, hospitality, health care, financial services, education and high technology. Now, something wonderful is happening. They’re showing up for their high school and college reunions and falling in love with their hometown for the very first time. And they’re coming home to stay.  

This is a big summer for class reunions here in Southwest Florida, including Barron Collier High School, where I put in five years of hard labor chaperoning bus trips, selling hot dogs at the concession stand and generally not appreciating the fleeting moments as a high school parent. I wish I could recapture some of those moments now. Of course, I can’t. But wait. If we can now literally Photoshop ourselves, can the time machine be far behind?

Until then, reunite with your classmates. Treat yourself to some instant glam. And, just to hedge your bets, keep slathering on the sunscreen.

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