I grew a beard a few months ago, just for kicks, and it came in white as snow. I thought it was funny, and decided to keep it. But the other day, I brought my 83-year old mom to the doctor, and the nurse asked me to hand some papers to my "wife". Naturally, this completely freaked me out, and my first impulse was to run home and shave. But then I thought about it.
I've never enjoyed having my biological processes brought to the forefront. I cringed as an adolescent when people made a big deal about the errant hairs atop my lip. Even as a small child, it offended me to have so many people focusing such attention on the fact that I was getting taller. Hello? I'm a child. Children get taller. If this is the most interesting thing about me, please, for god's sake, shoot me! Have you heard my piano playing? Have you read my short stories? Have you seen my wiggle only my left ear? Really, this is the thing which defines me? The fact that I, like all mammalian offspring, am getting taller?
Similarly, everyone's treating me different now because, like many 50 year olds (including Obama, Stewart, and Colbert, all of whom are looking less hip these days than when they exemplified the newfound coolness of 48), I look older. So, once again, I appear to be leading with my mammalhood.
I have a slew of quests, battles, schemes, ideas, and adventures brewing at any given moment. Regardless of whether you like or approve of any of that, it's just got to be more notable than the state of my male pattern baldness. Again: if my prosaic biological processes are the most remarkable thing about me, shoot me, please.
So I've decided not to cut the beard. Instead, I'll flip the situation. Here's my plan: I'll train myself to walk with a slight halting hesitation, and I will buy myself a non-functioning "vanity" hearing aid to wear when I go out. I will, in other words, front-load my aging, so I can enjoy a couple decades with all of that taken completely and blessedly off the table.
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