I finally found a white hair. It’s in my beard, hiding like the traitor it is. I figured my hair would have betrayed me like this long before now, but no, instead of changing color it’s simply fallen out. My once long locks seem to follow the ancient Samurai code of death before dishonor. Several points for conviction, but minus a thousand points for going AWOL.
A recent article I read told me that by sporting white, I’m joining a new hair trend. Apparently, it’s now OK for people with white hair to show their age. Is the Dad Bod still in style? If so, I’m two-for-two in the hip and with-it category.
Note to self: If you still use words like “hip” and “with it,” you are neither.
Celebrities such as former supermodels Christie Brinkley, 65, and Paulina Porizkova, 54, and actors like Gwyneth Paltrow, 47, no longer color their hair because, well, they’re gray. Let’s face it, a few centuries ago if you got to be their ages without showing it, you’d be burned at the stake.
I never really cared about growing older until I did. Although improving yourself takes an enormous amount of time, falling apart can happen overnight. Am I old? Once my metabolism got so slow it could be a special effect in a “Matrix” movie and I realized I have a good knee and a bad knee, that question became moot.
Although people don’t have to age naturally – there are pills and surgeries and cosmetics for that – I’ve embraced an aging that’s not so much creeping up as it is jumping me in a back alley and beating me senseless. But there are some benefits to getting older:
• You no longer have to do strenuous work. Your buddy’s moving his family across town? The snow in the driveway needs shoveled? Your wife wants to rearrange the furniture? Just say these three little words and you’ll never have to lift anything again, “My back hurts.”
• Discounts. People 55 years old and older can get 20 percent off on purchases at Jack in the Box.
• You get great advice from doctors, such as “Never eat at Jack in the Box.”
• You don’t have to like anything because liking something takes energy and expending energy is exhausting. So, stop it. Older people are expected to be angry all the time because the world has changed for the worse and nobody else has seemed to notice. Idiots.
• On long car trips, you’re the one who has to stop multiple times to use the bathroom. If your now-older children are with you, even better. It’s called “payback.”
• Feign technological ignorance. Even if you know how to add an app to your smartphone and update computer software, pretending you don’t will force younger people to do it for you. It gets them out of your hair for a while.
Speaking of hair, I’m going to embrace my white one, right? Nope. I cut it off. Nobody likes a smart ass.
Jason Offutt’s newest book, “Chasing American Monsters: 251 Creatures, Cryptids, and Hairy Beasts,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.