One of those pop-culture sites recently did a post on "Twenty Celebrities that have Aged Miserably." It's kind of a mean-spirited post -- if celebrities seem to age worse than most people, it's only because they started out looking so much better than the rest of us, right? Anyway, it's confined to currently living celebrities, so it doesn't include someone I've always considered the worst ager of all time -- Robert Mitchum, who went from ruggedly handsome to being this jowly, phelgmy old man. It does include the current contender -- Keith Richards, who looks like he was buried and then dug up -- and the one that's a real heartbreaker for me, Kathleen Turner.
Now, California corrections officials have released a photograph of everybody's favorite mass murderer, 74-year-old Charles Manson. If you look at the then and now shots, he has aged interestingly if not well. It's a little harder to see the madness in his eyes, and the fading Swastika on his forehead is the only thing that stops him from looking like any other old geezer pulled over for DUI and thrown in front of the booking camera. He's not someone who at first glance would send you running and screaming for your life.
You know who has aged well? Eric Clapton. The man is a rock and roll legend, a guitar genius, an entertainment god who can go anywhere and do anything no matter what it costs, probably get any woman he wants, reap adoration from fans of all ages, and he looks like a seventh-grade science teacher or an accountant nearing retirement. Passing him on the street, 99.9 percent of people probably wouldn't even recognize him. That, to me, is the essence of cool. I'm Eric Clapton, so I can look however I want to, and if you don't like it, I guess I can live with that.
I'm starting to be that cool. It's called age. Those of us who didn't start out looking all that good in the first place tend to care less and less about it the older we get. I'm not quite at the Eic Clapton Kiss My Behind If you Don't Like My Looks stage, but, any day now.