I was flipping channels during the Thanksgiving holiday when an ad with Marlo Thomas as the spokesperson for St. Jude Children’s Hospital blasted the airwaves.
It’s a good cause, but I was struck by the fact that despite having lots of money and access to the best medical professionals, celebrities like Cher, Joan Rivers, Kenny Rodgers and especially Marlo Thomas had tighter skin… and they looked…different. Almost unrecognizable. I’m not sure where this obsession for lifting, tucking, smoothing, sucking out or puffing up with plastic surgery began.
And according to this report December is the busiest plastic surgery month.
I’m not sure what happened with the folks above because all the latest studies say older people are happier. They understand the game. They’re not happy their lives are going to end, but they know what to fret over and what not too. And despite all the collectables or financial investments, one of the amazing things about aging is you truly realize you can’t take it with you. That those items you cherish so much will probably be tossed by your heirs. That all you have is your relationships and your experiences. What’s in your head as opposed to what’s in your driveway.
And speaking of the driveway… I wonder about a similar obsession to extract the best ride and performance out of our Harley-Davidson motorcycles through continuous transformations and enhancements. Is the perpetual winter project any different from the obsessive plastic surgery? Once a motorcycle leaves the motor company are any changes really needed? Yet, as December arrives in a few days don’t we look to upgrade the exhaust, change the colors, add pin stripes, change the suspension, upgrade the wheels, change the floorboards, ratchet up the engine performance, add chrome or replace components with blacked-out billet versions?
If we are being intellectually honest isn’t this similar to the recycling “hips to the lips” crowd… who at some point declared non-moving foreheads as attractive? I’m not saying that a beautiful custom built motorcycle doesn’t have an advantage, but if you’ve ever been around someone that has a trophy-looking motorcycle you know it comes with a cost.
Why can’t we just be satisfied that it’s… stock. Uniquely showroom stock!
If our only problem is the bike is getting older, isn’t it best to just embrace and own it. Is life truly about changing out or trading up as opposed to being satisfied with what you’ve already got? It’s the road stories and depth that counts. The history. And like plastic surgery, no matter what we do to the exterior, it will still be that age on the inside, with creaky springs and the inability to perform at the same athletic high-level as brand new.
Chasing an ideal that can never be finished – why? The truth is that despite what Harley-Davidson youth marketing is trying to make us feel, most of us are not buying in to it.
I’m not lobbying for a lack of motorcycle grooming, but have we lost the plot?
Full Disclosure: I’m guilty of motorcycle windshield lifts, billet augmentation, altered metal, chiseled wheels, sculpted fuel-tanks, and whittled lights along with determinedly un-wrinkled fenders. Yes, I’m seeking help and plan to go on TV to deny having performed any “surgery” on the ‘Glide’.
Photos take by author.