Wednesday, February 11, 2015
We Measure Out Our Lives in Tubes
It was T. S. Eliot who famously said “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” What a lovely image for and from a great poet. But this week I glimpsed another way I can measure my aging life: I can count the tubes.
Yes, you might remember going to Grandma’s house, or maybe to your Mother’s and her medicine cabinet had a million squashed tubes of this and that. Some were shiny, some rusty, and some gooey with missing caps, and you thought, “How does that happen?”
Maybe you also remember when your medicine cabinet had aspirin, birth control, Vaseline and maybe an antibiotic? And then as you got a few years older, there are a few more things and then, suddenly it seems, you (like me last week) look at that basket under the bathroom sink and its full of tubes!
We now have all manner of tubes with creams, ointments and lotions. They are specialized and generalized. We have tubes with goop for every body part and every disturbance. They are oily, creamy, pink, clear or shiny. They range from first aid uses to germ killing to fungus battling to skin soothing. Some I bought off the shelf and a few were prescribed.
But this is the new measurement of my life—no longer romantic coffee spoons or lovers past. Now I measure my life in tubes.