This past Saturday morning, I was taken somewhat aback upon seeing my father’s visage staring back at me in the bathroom mirror while I was shaving. I thought “Oh, hell no, that can’t be me,” and simply assumed that my eyesight must be failing.
Now granted, my hair had turned completely white by the time I was 30. At the time it was no big deal as most of the comments regarding my mane were complimentary, such as, “Here comes the silver fox,” and the like. I mentioned this concern regarding my eyesight to my beloved Grace, as well as my two daughters, in the hopes that I might receive a comment or two from them to help lift my sagging spirits. Alas, no one in my family was at all surprised at this and they all assured me that, as I fast approach my 70th birthday, my eyesight remains perfect and that, further, I have looked like “Grandpa” for at least the past decade.
More than slightly annoyed, I countered with “What happened to the old ‘silver fox?’” I was informed that, unfortunately, as the decades passed and my personal wealth increased along with my waistline (silver in the hair, gold in the teeth, crystals in the kidney, sugar in the blood, iron in the arteries, lead in the butt and an accompanying and almost inexhaustible supply of natural gas), I should gracefully accept the fact that the “silver fox” appellation was an endangered term for some time and now has gone extinct, being replaced with more age appropriate comparisons with Santa Claus!
Not to be outdone, I reminded my clan that “You are only as old as you feel and I feel like I am still in my 40s!” It was quickly brought to my attention that I did not rely on a walking cane to travel about in my 40s and further, that they found it somewhat unsettling that I have named my cane, “Ivan.”
Granted, I had to admit that of course, age is just a number. Some people are physically and/or mentally younger than their years and some are older and perhaps, a lot of my get up and go, may have got up and gone, but my mind is still as sharp as a tack.
Besides, as I get older, I find I am much more patient than I had been in my younger days and possessed with a clear conscience. My beloved Grace (aka: she who must be obeyed) cautioned that I was obviously confusing patience with not caring anymore and that as far as a clear conscience was concerned, I should write that off to a bad memory.
Obviously, I would be receiving no aid and comfort from my family in this matter so I returned to the bathroom to shower. After washing my scalp with a color enhancing shampoo to remove a dull yellow sheen that plagues my otherwise white hair, I dressed and politely inquired if anyone would be so kind as to drive me and “Ivan” up to Shad Creek Road to visit the VFW where I could spend a few hours among friends who would not be so quick to make ageist remarks.
No sooner had I walked into the Post’s canteen when I was met with a remark from a friend who inquired if I had tinted my hair blue like the old ladies used to do back some years ago. It was only after examining my face once again in a nearby mirror that I realized that I had not completely rinsed the blue color enhancing shampoo from my hair, leaving a vivid bluish tint. After sheepishly explaining what had transpired with my hair color, I was offered an ice-cold beer and advised that I should not worry too much about this issue as growing old is not for the weak of heart, considering the fact that in dog years, I should already be dead!
Broad Channel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else?