Atrophy Appropriate to Age

A couple weeks ago, Ma Smash got whacked in the head with an X-ray machine at work. She’s a nurse, so this isn’t as strange as it would be if, say, I were whacked in the head with an X-ray machine at work. Anyhoo, she got a concussion and had to have a head CT, among other tests. The result of the CT, while not at all bad, was a bit depressing to her.

“I need some cheering up,” she said today on the phone. “When they showed me my CT? The doctor said…”


“Nothing bad. Ugh … he said my brain showed atrophy appropriate to age.”

“But that’s not bad?”

“No, except that I’m old.”

I thought a minute. “OK, here’s what it’s like. Oh! Here’s what it’s exactly like. It’s like when I asked my gyno for Gardasil and she said I couldn’t get it, because I’m a super-old whore.”

“Jennifer Hubley. She did not say that.”

“Well, no. But she thought it. And she laughed.”

Mom paused. “Atrophy appropriate to age.”

“I know what. This will cheer you up: We’ll go find that doctor and kick him in the balls.”


“Sure. And you know you love to watch shows where people get kicked in the balls.”

“I do!”

It’s a very strange relationship that we have, but it works.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

2 thoughts on “Atrophy Appropriate to Age

  1. I work next to a guy who’s 24 at the moment, 8 years my junior. Whether intentionally or not, I get a LOT of moments that come up where I feel crusty and old. The guy does not have any idea what Mystery Science Theater 3000 is, for example… and while that makes me a power-dork, it doesn’t feel fair that it should make me feel like an ancient one as well.

  2. Anyone who doesn’t know what Mystery Science Theater 3000 is has never really lived.

    So I guess that makes me old?

    Mrs. P.

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