Monday, January 13, 2014

Death Begins

At the age of 54, the day that I had been dreading for years had finally arrived. On Thursday, January 9, 2014, I discovered my first gray hair. I found it while examining my recently receding hairline. To be perfectly truthful, it's not the first gray hair on on my body, just the first gray hair on my scalp. Gray hairs sprouted elsewhere several years ago and have been migrating north from my nether regions ever since. I was initially quite concerned because those early white settlers were much more crinkly than the darker natives. I envisioned a future looking like a less intelligent Albert Einstein.

I duly noted this major life event on my Facebook page, but my post didn't garner much sympathy from my less follicly fortunate friends and family, many of whom are younger, grayer and balder. Some even implied that I was lying, or worse, coloring my hair. But a different sort of chemistry is at work here. There's a rare piece of DNA floating through the family gene pool that's responsible for my portrait of Dorian Gray. Unfortunately, this tidbit of genetic code seems to be attached to the shortness gene—none of the carriers are taller than five-foot-six.

My sixteen year-old daughter was shocked and alarmed when she learned her daddy was experiencing "the change."

"Your not supposed to have gray hair, just mom. Why does hair turn gray anyway?" she asked.

I explained to my child that getting gray hair was just a normal part of the aging process, the onset of the inexorable decay that rapidly culminates in death. My reassuring words failed to comfort her. I tried to show her the offending hair so she could grasp the magnitude of my predicament, but I had trouble finding it again.

I can sympathize and empathize with my daughter's shock and grief. An integral part of my identity is that I am—excuse me, was—the old guy with no gray and a hairline rooted like AstroTurf. Without my Samson like mane I'm just another short, chubby, graying, balding, old man. People will no longer stare at me in disbelieve when I tell them my age. I have become so accustomed to the permanence of my hair that it's hard to accept its demise. 

I know it's ridiculous to let one single, little strand of gray hair redefine my self image. So I yanked it out–only to discover that it had a friend. I contemplated pulling that one out, too, but I decided this was likely a loosing battle.

Kellie is relieved that the gray day has arrived, telling me that I can now stop obsessing over gray hairs. I thought she knew me better than that. 

Just so you don't think I'm blowing this out of proportion, below is a picture taken earlier today. I considered adding a PayPal Donate Now button so my readers could help fund my treatment, but that would be silly.


The Face of Death
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30 comments:

  1. Hilarious stuff! I hope you don't expect any sympathy - I'm 55 and my head appears to support a thick covering of snow (and it's not dandruff)!

    And by the way, I think I've spotted a gray hair in your beard.

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    1. I'm sure you did spot some gray in facial hair, but that's easy enough to deal with–I just shave it off. I just don't want to apply the same scorched earth policy to my head.

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  2. Hello, short, chubby, greying, balding, old man here. I was hardly into my 20's when my first greys showed up. And it wasn't just 1, they came to party!

    While I'm somewhat sympathetic, there probably won't be any tears. Welcome to the club, old man!

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    1. Oh, I like clubs. Do I get a membership card or something.

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  3. "I thought she knew me better than that." Loved that line!
    And, sorry, I already have gray hairs so no sympathy from me.

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    1. Yeah, the sympathy seems to be scarce.

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  4. Replies
    1. Oh, like the guys with receding hairlines and the long white ponytails?

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  5. huh, i think you've held out longer than most so you should be good and ready. i guess the first is always a shock. no worries, men always look good with a little grey. and i have no idea why your words didn't comfort your daughter. hahah

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  6. I'm with Mama Kautz (plus I've been there for years).

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    1. That doesn't do me any good, I'm already married.

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  7. You are late to the gray party for your age!

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    1. Just trying to be fashionably late.

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  8. Um, you obviously know nothing. Graying, bald, old guys are hot.

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  9. Replies
    1. You're not first to make this claim so I surveyed my wife and her friends who gathered at our house last night for my wife's weekly get-together to study French and drink wine. The results were not promising for graying, bald, old guys.

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  10. Good Lord! What are you worried about? You look damn good for a 54 year old! Gray hairs are signs of wisdom. At least, that's what I tell myself.

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    1. Gray hairs are signs of wisdom? I guess that means I'm currently an idiot. It would explain a lot.

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  11. 54??? really? I am 40 and I have my first one front and center on my head. It's a strange symbol of mortality. I'm with you on this post.

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  12. Gray come to all sooner or later and the realization of the slide it begins can be so humbling.

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  13. Hot Joe only has gray on his face and i find it to be sexy as hell. He keeps his head shaved so as not bring attention to his receding hair line,so I have no idea if there is any gray there.

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  14. oh cripes. I found my first gray hair on my 20th bday. i'm 41 now and my 4 year old constantly tells me how she hates my white hair because it means i'll be dead soon. :(

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  15. Wow...

    First grey at 54? I'm 41 and am already SO MUCH OLDER THAN YOU. I have virtually no hair left and what little I do is all kinds of crinkly grey.

    I suppose you've never had a spooky heart palpitation or 4-day-backache or a series of weird little head pains that all most certainly single some encroaching and fatal old person disease? No?

    Hhmph. You're one of those types. No sympathy here.

    Great post though.

    :)

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  16. Now begins the cascade. This time next year, you'll look like Ed Asner.

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  17. I started finding grays at 23. There aren't that many though, so I just gave them names and pretended they were highlights.

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  18. My grays started a while ago. I blame the kids for it. Then I "rinse it out" and deny the inevitable.

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