I must be right; I climbed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2000

Menopausal Mountain


Messenger Columnist

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June 14, 2000 3 PM

Perhaps my doctor put it best: "Before you whip out a gun and start shooting people, I think you should consider hormone replacement therapy."

This was after I threw myself into a chair in his office, announced "I’ve had it, and then went on for 10 minutes without taking a breath on just WHY I have had it and then burst into tears.

We have much in common: The woman who went bonkers in the laundromat in Ohio and started beating on the washer with her bleach bottle had to be removed by police, the genteel elder who threatened a driver in the Galleria parking lot with, "I may be old but I can take you, you greedy ole poot," and the waitress who sat your coffee down with a splash the other day, most likely suffer from what we who never-were-baby-boomers refer to as "climbing Menopause Mountain."

Among its symptoms is thinking you are always right and arguing with husband/ friend/total stranger/pet or policeman with the conviction that if you argue long enough you will be vindicated in your belief: i.e. The world is out to make you look foolish by proving you wrong. No matter the matter, we wearing the menopause mantle are always right.

Not to worry that this is a self-defeating attitude to take — a woman of years has no choice — it’s the only attitude that menopause allows. Menopause also encourages one to eat more, exercise less, curse the heavens and frown at the antics of little children despite the fact that you used to think mud squishing between a little boy’s toes was a fascinating thing.

Some will say climbing the Menopause Mountain of misery is all in one’s attitude. On the other hand, I blame my mother. She claims never to have had a hot flash, night sweats, roller-coaster emotions or gained an extra pound and she told me that her good fortune would be genetic and passed on to me, her loving and gullible daughter.

Mother lied. Were I not menopausal, depressed and paranoid, I would probably give her the benefit of the doubt and say she was just trying to cheer me up. But, no. As I sit here in front of an oscillating fan with more sweat soaking my bodice than a lusted-after heroine in a Barbara Cartland novel, GooGoo Cluster crumbs on my lips, I am persuaded that mother lied.

Is there anything with less nutritional value, but more emotional satisfaction than a sack of GGC’s? I think not. Just knowing that ooey-gooey stuff is going to ooze out with the first bite is enough to send me into a cold sweat even if the hot flashes have commenced to abate. But I digress.

Once women have found a remedy for PMS (another blight on womanhood) in order to get on with their lives, they find out the light at the end of the tunnel is a train and it’s got MENOPAUSE written all over it. I personally don’t subscribe to the theory that MEN are to be blamed for MENopause but I have militant friends who disagree and they can be dangerous. Hormone replacement therapy, or whatever alternative therapy one finds that works, is worth its weight in GooGoos and who know how many marriages it has saved?

My friend, Janet, sent me a note about PMS the other day, which if applied to menopause, also fits perfectly. How do you know if you’re menopausal? I am so glad you asked and offer this tidbit stolen without shame from the Internet. I wish I had actually written it, or knew who had so I could send them a little thank you note and give them credit, but it is the best description of Menopause or PMS I have ever seen.

"Women! Do you recognize yourself? Men! Is this the woman you love/hate? "

Question: How many women with PMS/Menopause does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: One. And do you know why it only takes ONE? Because no one else in this house knows HOW to change a light bulb. They don’t even know the bulb is BURNED OUT. And once they figured it out they wouldn’t be able to find the light bulbs despite the fact that they’ve been in the SAME cupboard for the last SEVENTEEN YEARS. But if they did by some miracle actually find the light bulbs, TWO DAYS LATER the chair that they dragged from two rooms over to stand on to change the stupid light bulb WOULD STILL BE IN THE SAME SPOT AND UNDERNEATH IT WOULD BE THE CRUMPLED WRAPPER THE #%$@#&& LIGHT BULBS CAME IN AND WHY IS THAT? BECAUSE NO ONE IN THIS HOUSE EVER CARRIES OUT THE GARBAGE! IT’S A WONDER WE HAVEN’T ALL SUFFOCATED FROM THE PILES OF GARBAGE THAT ARE 12 FEET DEEP THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE HOUSE. IT WOULD TAKE AN ARMY TO CLEAN THIS!

I’m sorry what was the question?"

Fran Sharp continues her mountain climb in Alabaster where she works as a freelance writer. E-mail her at fsharp1229@aol.com.  

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