The inevitability of the aging process is impossible to ignore when your eldest son loves to remind you that you're the mother of a "retired" marine, and your granddaughter fixes you with a loving and unlying eye and says, "Did you have wrinkles when you were little, Nana?"

We try to be philosophical and, dare we say, Polly-Nana-ish about all this. For moments when depression threatens, we have strung together our little "rosary" of eternal verities and always-to-be-depended-upon blessings to recite for comfort:

My husband will never run for president.

Margaret Trudeau is someone else's daughter.

All my kids were born via un-natural child birth, sparing me the agony of having my husband faint dead-away- at delivery-table-side.

My back was out before tennis was in.

We loved Errol Flynn before he was a Nazi.

Well, you get the idea.

But here is my problem, Mr. Anthony (as they used to say on an old, old radio program):

I have never had a beauty routine (neither one, in fact), but on those occasional trips to a local hair dresser for a clip and dip, I find myself browsing through the slick fashion mags and (yes, I confess) suckered into the ads for some new beauty cream that promises magic and miracles via space-age ingredients.

"Why not?" I think, hope springing eternal, etc., and I rush off to the nearest cosmetic emporium, like a crazed Mrs. Ponce de Leon.

Invariably I encounter cosmetic persons who are not cozy. They are always manicured, coiffed, facialed types with pores, wrinkles, and unsightly blemishes rendered invisible, thanks to religious beauty regimens.

A lacquered mouth will open to inquire "May I help you?" and perfectly arched brows will raise in an unmistakable God-knows-you-can-use-it look.

Fortunately, I have jotted down the name of the product, knowing that otherwise I'd forget it in the presence of such intimidating cosmetic splendor.

"I'd like a small jar of Esme Revelstein's 'Formula 707-Wrinkles, Up Up and Away' please." (China Doll Face also manages to sell me Esme's Deep Cleanser and Super Night Cream, with secret, X-rated ingredients.)

I rush home with my hoard of goodies and proceed to give myself several treatments in a row to make up for the lost years.

Just before bedtime I do another quick facial and smear on the Super Night Cream. I sidle into bed with my aging-skinned husband, thinking how delighted he'll be to wake up to a younger me, sort of a reverse of the old Ronald Coleman-Shangrila bit.

Suddenly there is great sneezing and coughing from his side of the bed and a gasping bellow. "What in holy blazes is that God-awful smell?"

The coughing and sneezing fit is heading for cardiac arrest, as my unliberated body is heading for the bathroom to scrub off the expensive glop.

So there you have it. My husband is allergic to whipped, fermented mare's milk with extract of whale's placenta and this woman of a certain age is . . . well, everyone is certain about her age.