I hate mirrors. Really I do. Not the small ones, which are useful for such things as noticing that your collar is turned in before you go to work, or out on that special date.

No, the mirrors I hate are the really big ones, the kind that give you a full body view. They sound really neat when you're twenty-two and have visions of boffing Angelina Jolie dance like sugarplums in your head. Back when I was twenty-two I had a metabolism. My body burned calories like a Hummer burns fossil fuels. I biked ten miles a day, I was a lean, mean virginal machine, and the thought of seeing a woman, any women in my bed was enough to inspire a room full of mirrors.

The trouble is that I'm 48 now. Ms. Jolie hasn't returned a single one of my phone calls. For that matter neither has Angela Lansbury, who seems a far more realistic goal except for being dead.

Worse, my metabolism has decided that it's time to walk. My Hummer has turned into a Toyota Echo. But the old gas tank hasn't shrunk a bit. In fact, from all visible evidence it has grown. My taste buds have not lost their taste for Thurman Burgers, Moretti's pasta primavera, various cheesecakes or any other Sneffish delicasies. No, my love of foods has grown, and the availability of ethnic foods is better than ever.

So last week I decided to drop by Mom's for a quick visit on my way home from flagging the Champ Car race in Cleveland. It was a long weekend, with 12 hour days on track with only a porta-potty for shade. We moved our chairs around it like clockwork to hug what shade we could in the 95 degree heat. And so when I got to Mom's, I was sweaty and uncomfortable.

Mom offered her shower. It was the most wonderful shower I have ever taken by myself.

At least until I got out and looked in the mirror.

I have become Jackie Gleason. The sight of my outer whale had me screaming like Fay Wray.

So from now on it's only dirt, roots and twigs for me. I figure that if squirrels can eat them, so can I. A little habanero juice hides the taste of anything.

So now I sit her wondering how to spice acorns. All because of one big, rotten mirror. Next time I decorate I'm using only small or funhouse mirrors, the kind that make you look tall and thin.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.