He wanted me to buy $200 worth of skin products to look younger. This is what I said.

So. I was kind of a brat the other day. And I don't regret it one bit.

I was headed to my gate at the airport when a man at a store suckered me in with a free bar of natural soap. NOTHING IS FREE, PEOPLE!

At least, not in airports, am I right?


This is basically how the conversation went, although I admit, this is not verbatim.

Man: "Your skin is so natural looking, you aren't wearing any makeup, right?"

Me: "Um, no?"

Man: "Let me guess your age."

He proceeded to pull out a number 12 years younger than I am.

Me: "I look my age, and that's OK, actually."

Man: "Let me show you our face serum, because if you aren't careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper. By 45, creams won't help anymore."

Me: "What's wrong with a woman looking 40?"

Man: "Well, let's talk about the bags under your eyes and those smile lines. My eye cream could improve those in 15 minutes."

Me: "What's wrong with my eyes? I have a miracle baby at home and haven't slept in 2 years, so if I have bags I am grateful to have them. And my husband and I laugh a lot. Those are his fault. He loves how I look ... I don't think I need your cream."

"What's wrong with a woman looking 40?"

Man: (nervously) "They may be manageable now, but by 50, it's too late to correct sagging skin and deep wrinkles. Unless you act now, only surgery can correct those."

Me: "What's wrong again with a woman aging? You know, my husband and I can't wait to grow old together, we talk about it all the time, how we'll be this funny, wrinkled old couple. My husband is going to age too. We all are. It's kind of how life works."

Now he's glancing nervously at other customers in the store who are listening in.

Man: "Wait, if it's the price that's an issue, I can offer you our special this week, all three creams for $199 — that's cheaper than Botox!"

Me: "I look fine now, and when I'm 45 I will look fine, and when I'm 50 I will look fine because there is nothing wrong with a woman aging. Old age is a privilege denied to many, and I don't appreciate you marketing youth instead of your products and denigrating aging women as a sales tactic. Thank you, but I don't want or need your cream."

I was so horrified by the normalcy of his sales pitch, and the sales ringing up at his cash register, that I took a picture of that wrinkled baggy face he was selling to, right on the spot.

Photo by Annick Robinson, used with permission.

This is the face my children and my husband love. I think I'll keep it.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less