Yesterday I went in for a haircut. Mandy asked if I wanted “the usual” to which I replied “yes.” Perhaps I did not enunciate because it appears she heard me say “No, not the usual. Make it much shorter. Make it so short that for the next two weeks people will say to me, ‘Now that is a haircut,’ emphasizing the ‘haircut’ part to show that my hair is much shorter than usual, or at least I’m assuming that’s the intent and it’s not merely to inform me of the specific process, a haircut, that made my hair shorter.” If that is what Mandy heard me say, than she did a great job of following directions.
In any case, a haircut was necessary, and I’ll tell you why. I’ve been getting older lately. I guess we all have, in a way. When you think about it. But I usually don’t see in-your-face-proof of it (shout out to my Danish genes!). But the other day I was watching TV with my head on a girl’s lap. We’ve been casually hanging out in a not serious, whatever goes, no feelings exchanged kind of way over the last few months. I’m sure that we’re both on the same page with that approach. But… we are at the “head resting on lap while watching TV” stage. Maybe we should have a talk. But I digress.
So she’s stroking my hair and suddenly she tells me that she sees four grey hairs on the side of my head. Now that I think about it, she must have been doing more inspecting than stroking. That’s not as fun. “Pull them out!” I yelled. I didn’t want them infecting the other healthy brown hairs. She said she couldn’t because “for every grey hair I pull out, three more will appear.”
“Where’d you hear that?” I asked. “Is that some random Mexican folklore?” This girl happens to be Mexican, which is why I guessed it might be folklore of the Mexican variety. Usually I’m terrible at placing a folklore’s country of origin, but this time I had a clue.
“That’s what happens. The more you pluck, the more they appear,” she said. Still recovering from the shock of 30 seconds earlier, I rationalized this Mexican folklore. “Is there a chance that more grey hairs appear not because of the plucking, but because that person is going grey?”
She eventually gave in. “Si,” she said. That’s “yes” in Spanish.
But… she was right about the grey hairs, whether it was because of Mexican folklore or straight forward, rational logic. They’re multiplying. I’m seeing more and more of those shiny things appearing on the ol’ dome piece. Sometimes I pluck, sometimes I don’t.
I want to embrace them. I really do. This is what happens when you get old, right? The problem, though, is that these grey hairs… they’re a lot like Aaron Hernandez. Yes, the former patriots tight end turned murderer who recently committed suicide and was posthumously determined to be bisexual (what a resume!). Let me explain.
I don’t think I’d mind the grey hairs if they acted like their brown neighbors. You’d think that the greys would arrive, look around, see that they’re surrounded by hairs of a different color and just be like “Oh, looks like all the brown hairs that were already here are pointing one way, maybe I’ll join them. Maybe I’ll exercise discretion and try to blend in. At least at first.” But they don’t.
[Side note — as I’m writing this it’s starting to sound like some sort of race relations analogy. That is not the intent. Any analogies and resulting implications drawn from this reading were created by the reader. I’m just writing about the hair on my head.]
Brown are doing what they’re supposed to do. They’ve been here before. Grey hairs blow open the doors to my scalp with this attitude like “HEY! WE’RE GREY! LOOK WHAT WE CAN DO!” They point every which way, with no regard for the previously agreed upon plan. “PARTY!!!” they yell. “Look how shiny I am!!”
People don’t tell you that. They don’t warn you how flamboyant those dead grey hairs can be. Hair is the only thing that gets more flamboyant once it’s dead. Hair, and Aaron Hernandez.