December 04, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST’s memo to Arnold Schwarzenegger: Grow up!

Dearest Arnold:

First off, let us reassure you of our love for you. We’ve stayed faithful through your ups and downs — we’re even willing to banish the image of you hanging out on your boat last summer in a…thong. But perhaps this might be a good time, in the wake of ”The 6th Day”’s not so fabulous box office performance, to gently state the obvious: You are 147 years old.

All right, maybe not quite, but let’s not quibble over five years here or there. The point is, it would behoove you to follow the example of former fellow action gods like Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson, and start acting your age on screen.

For Willis, ”The Sixth Sense” and ”Unbreakable” have allowed him to act like a grown up who walks, not runs, when there’s trouble. As for Gibson, he’s playing his first, straight on, no adventure involved, romantic lead in ”What Women Want.” Neither of these actors have left behind their macho beasty appeal by taking these roles, but they’ve very wisely seized the opportunity to take a role sitting down, as it were.

We don’t discount your attempts to play a kinder, gentler soul, in flicks like 1996’s ”Jingle All The Way.” It’s unfortunate that the movie just didn’t end up being all that. And we’re not suggesting for a moment that you turn your back on the genre that made you famous, and that we still are thrilled to see you in — ”End of Days” was pretty groovy, despite what the critics had to say. But your résumé could use a little tempering.

We know you’re busy with your two upcoming action projects, ”Collateral Damage” and ”Terminator 3,” but maybe you could slide another film in between? Think small, think indie, think Tom Cruise in ”Magnolia.” Or how about giving Quentin Tarrantino a call? Look what he did for John Travolta in ”Pulp Fiction.” Remember, we know you’re not afraid of putting your backside on the line. After all, Arnie, you DID get snagged sporting a thong.

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