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Featured ArticleLumbar Luna Land & Senior Senior Prom

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If you read it in Newsweek, it has to be true, right? Well, our prognosticating pundits have reported that, since people are waiting longer to have children, amusement parks are considering options that will captivate a middle-aged audience with toddlers in tow. Since anything hanging off me strains my sacroiliac these days, I decided to venture into the amusement park of my imagination -- Lumbar Luna Land. Come along for the ride.

All rides requiring a seated amusee will be equipped with adjustable lumbar supports. Child and adult controls will be separate, as we wish they could be in the real world. For long-term incarcerations, such as riding the Safari Train or meandering through "It's Not Such a Small World, After All", heated seats and massage options will be available.

In the Arcade, normally an area where one can spend hundreds of dollars to win a stuffed animal worth $2.98, the main attraction for parents will be Apres SkeeBall. One flat fee admits an entire family. While the kids bowl, rock, fly, hoist and heave, middle-aged Mom and Dad can enjoy all the amenities of a luxurious moutaintop lounge. Swedish massage people (choose Inga or Sven) will roll the kinks out of weary feet and legs with Scandinavian skill. The sparkling water of your choice will bubble endlessly to hydrate and energize you. Close your eyes, glide and schuss, but leave your skis at home.

If you're travelling without your own au pair or illegal alien, the Luna Land management offers a new service -- Valet People (note the politically correct terminology). These employees, available for short or long-term lease, will carry all accoutrements, hold places in line for the crowded attractions, and mumble socially appropriate phrases for a small gratuity. Two dollars will get you, "Nice kid". A figure in the double digits might elicit, "Your child seems to be developmentally precocious. Have you informed Harvard of his/her existence?" If you bring children over 11, ask for a valet who is also a trained educational consultant. By the time your child climbs down from Bungee Bigtime, he or she should have a fairly reasonable list of colleges, including schools in the reach, range and safety categories. Don't consult your little tip card to calculate this one. Just figure out a nice percentage of $120,000.00, the average cost of a private college education.

While your children are whirling in the Twirling Teacups, you can sip cappucino in one of the charming cafes that dot the landscape. In addition to the exotic elixirs available in most national networks, Lumbar Luna also offers that cantankerous concoction -- regular coffee. Power to the pancreas. For one day, get that zing you love and disregard the devastation of your duodenum. Zings aren't so easy to find after fifty. Go for it.

One of the loveliest elements of Lumbar Luna Land is the abundance of clean, comfortable "amenities". These might be referred to as bathrooms in other contexts, but when they truly are amenities, the term is apt. Soft music wafts into the lounge, eschewing all personification of mythical creatures and other aquatic anomalies. The seats clean themselves, the floors are dry, and the toilet paper flows like water. Mirrors are presented under lights that are decidedly gentle. No harsh images reflect. Dispensers offer remedies for everything from shin splints to shigella. Changing stations for darling's diaper grace both male and female facilities. Every stall is stainless, soundproof and sanitary. Magazines, the kind you only read when you have a haircut, abound. Ahhh...

Before you leave, stop off at the Senior Senior Prom. This attraction is for adults only, but you can leave your children in a state-supervised, federally-funded day care center staffed by certified teachers. All faculty members have been trained in CPR, Montessori enrichment, music and mathematical theory and, of course, universal procedures for avoiding an infestation of infectious disease. Relax. It's time for the prom. As you enter the ballroom, mirrors modify the ravages of time and return you to your high school splendor. Hair, waistlines, and high hopes mysteriously reappear. Dance to the tunes we love to hear, the cacophany that plagued our parents from Elvis to Elton. Forget the Electric Boogaloo and the Chicken Dance. Hold your sweetheart close and remember how great it is to be young. For those who believe in magic, the Senior Senior Prom offers a priceless posthypnotic suggestion. You can take the feeling of being sexy, invincible, and idealistic into the muddled morass of middle age. Fifty can be fun (as long as you don't have to sit on the floor). Enjoy!


Written by Marcia Brown Rubinstien
May 5, 1998

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