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Ingrid Gabriel: Bra Calculus (Part 3 - Seniors Gone Wild)

One of the things I discovered when I joined the Violet Shampoo for Silver Hair Rewards Club was that I started doing a cost benefit analysis for almost every aspect of my life based on a 20-year projection.  I developed a precise mathematical model I call Bra Calculus, and if you order my conversion chart, you may find that it applies to your own senior life as well.

Applied Bra Calculus works like this... I am 63.5 and, if all goes reasonably well, given my genetic inheritance and supremely wise lifestyle choices, an actuarial table gives me odds of another couple of decades in my current vibrational reality.   I can expect more time to acquire and collect and store and maintain and move and repurpose and recycle, but to what purpose?  

For example, I have enough matching flatware to set a table for sixteen minus one teaspoon that got lost in some dishwasher or lunchbox along the way.  When I was a married domestic goddess in my 20s and 30s, I anticipated 50 or so years of dinner parties.  Back then, I would not have suffered a mismatched teaspoon and would have turned the planet upside down to replace it.  In 1984, I had all the time in the world and the potential to become one half of a power couple who threw delightful parties with nibble-ey things called “canapes” and “crudité” and “charcuterie” washed down with botanical cocktails.  Now, given that in the intervening years I have never given a dinner party for 16 and found I deeply dislike cooking, it seems unlikely that I will find myself as a sought-after hostess. Thus, my 63.5 years of life experience allows me to predict that there is a cost (one teaspoon), but no benefit to replacement. 

Bra Calculus is also useful in determining retention value. Will you ever read Susan Sontag’s biography, or will it just sit on your bookshelf (cost) admonishing you to read the damned book before you forget who Susan Sontag is/was?  Applied B.C. proves that you will not read Sontag’s biography in the next twenty years, and you can happily pass it on to some other sober-minded senior who won’t read it either.  

However, Bra Calculus is not restricted to purchases and retention.  B.C. can be a powerful evaluation tool when considering all manner of life’s little irritations.

According to the emerging field of Support Science, data indicates that women make specific cost/benefit analyses when purchasing bras.  A young woman predicting 60 years of battling gravity may very well choose a bra with Kevlar-like integrity.  The benefit is perky bosoms likely to withstand the downward pull of gravitons for decades. The trade-off for support is daily discomfort caused by underwire stays, shoulder-deforming straps and a tight band not unlike the cinch on a saddle.

With 20 years left on the clock, the B.C. conversion chart tells you that there is no benefit left to wearing a substantial bra since you have likely abandoned a tight traffic-stopping sweater* for a roomy tunic (always with pockets…pockets are the gold standard of any garment as you need an arsenal of stuff on your person at all times, but more on that another time).  You have reached a time in life when your drooping breasts are free to evolve into a shelf for your teacup or your cat.  My own bras are made from bamboo fiber and are so cozy that an orphaned baby koala could crawl in and find marsupial bliss.  

My Girls are so gently restrained that the earth tugs on them like a Husky in a sled race.  Bra Calculus encourages you to expunge the iron maiden bras from your closet as you segue into your cloud-bra future.  

Basically, Bra Calculus is a proven system that when applied properly, allows you to make stellar choices.  Feel like you are barely alive at your toxic job, but you have 2 years until retirement?  B.C. reminds you that 2 years is somewhere around a 10% of your remaining years, and that’s not insignificant.  There is a cost to changing jobs at such a late date.  There is also a cost to keeling over dead either from stress, or because death seems preferable to one more tedious day at your desk pretending to be a “team player”, while your astral body yearns for intellectual companions, a Norwegian yachtsman and 150-year-old Grand Marnier after…

Wait.  Where was I?  Something about the benefits of rekindling your life force being incalculable, even if the cost is steep.

Considering acquiring a parrot or a tortoise as a pet?  Bra Calculus informs us that Polly and Speedy will be looking for a large-ish shoe box to plant you in the backyard in 20 years rather than the other way around.

Furthermore, B.C. lightens the load for anyone in your life who may be responsible for you or your stuff down the line.  At 63, I can drag just about anything into my house.  At 83, someone else will have to drag the rowing machine, the Franklin Mint decorative plates (with authentication certificates), the sand collection from Beaches of the World, the handheld power scrubber, the tuba, the salt water aquariums, the snoof and tringlers and fuzzles, pantookas, dafflers and wuzzles out again.*  

To the extent that I am able to resist the gathering and purchasing of items to add to my Stuff Mountain growing in the garage, I am paying it forward to my future “transition team”.  And how much am I really going to enjoy a tuba between now and the inevitable? 

I find that Bra Calculus inspires a sense of freedom and detachment.   If every material object I own or covet is destined for a thrift store or a dumpster in twenty short years because my own expiration date is up, what do I need to accumulate or keep?  What do I need to tolerate, be it people, jobs, judgments or opinions?  Time is loping along and I am turning inward, focusing more on getting my inner world in order and caring less about the outer minutia.

Still, contact me if you see this teaspoon (no questions asked):  ingachai59@gmail.com

*Items purchased at the Whoville Village-Wide garage sale.


Ingrid arrived from Texas 20 years ago with her 6-year-old daughter.  In addition to writing, she has many non-marketable skills and degrees.  She was also voted "Most Likely to Choose a Book Everyone Else Hates" by her book club.  Ingrid's tramp stamp tattoo is a quote from Jimmy Buffet:  If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.

Ingrid can be contacted at ingachai59@gmail.com

Copyright Ingrid R. Gabriel, February 2023

Last modified onWednesday, 13 September 2023 23:30

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