Mirror, mirror in my head …

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

There is a mirror in my head that shows me exactly what I want to see.

In that mirror, I am a cross between a young Goldie Hawn and a current-aged Julia Roberts. That Nancy has honey-colored hair, a pixie-like face, beautiful expressive eyes and a flawless, wrinkle-free complexion – oh, and no cellulite.

That Nancy is forever 25, like the women advertising wrinkle cream. (You know them. The perfect gals selling various products that promise a return to a state of youngness if we smear them on with commitment. Of course none of the models pushing these miracles creams is anywhere near 30 so I think we lack some truth in advertising here.)

This person I see is the one Daddy described when he said inside he felt like the kid he was at 16 or 20 despite the fact he was much older. Guess Daddy had an internal mirror, too.

I go happily along living with the illusion created by me, for me, inside me. It works for the most part and I’m pretty content.

Unfortunately, there are times we step outside and see ourselves as the world sees us. And, that my friend is a very different mirror to look into.

Recently, I had an opportunity to get a good look in that big world mirror. It is an opportunity that presents itself every four years and kind of shatters illusions.

What is this wake-up call from reality? Well, it’s driver’s license renewal time that brings with it the new driver’s license picture.

One the morning of the day in the hours before, I prepared for what I knew was coming. I washed and styled my hair the best I could style. Makeup went on with care. I even gave what color shirt to wear special consideration. And in one last, devil-may-care act, I added big old peace sign earrings – at least my ears would look like they did in 1969.

I arrived at the place for driver’s license renewal, sat down across from a nice woman who updated my information. I indicated that, yes, I wanted to remain an organ donor. I changed my weight to five pounds lighter than four years ago. (Every pound is important if you have an accident that requires some stranger to look at your license or when you present it at the checkout for identification purposes.)

Then we discussed hair color. The four-year-ago me had what passed for blond hair. It was from a bottle and didn’t look like a color nature would produce.

The 2010 me is back to my God-given color, which defies a simple description. It is not brown, not blond and streaked with gray. There was no option on the nice woman’s computer for my color. So we decided on “sandy,” whatever that means.

Then I stood in front of the screen, tilted my head to an attractive angle, gave my best (as my daughter calls it) picture smile. In a few minutes, I saw the result on paper. My mirror shattered.

The woman looking up at me bore no resemblance to Goldie or Julia. She wasn’t bad looking, but she definitely was not 25. I shared my observations about internal mirrors with the woman behind the counter. She understood.

“I have one of those, too,” she said, “and in it I’m a lot thinner and a lot younger.”

We laughed knowing we just shared a moment of universal understanding.

That moment happened a week or so ago, and I have been busy pasting that shattered mirror and I almost had it repaired – Goldie and Julia smiling again.

Then yesterday an envelope with an official looking stamp was in the mailbox. Inside it was my permanent, laminated driver’s license.

I should have the pieces of that mirror back together in about four years.