January 09, 2013 - When I first started typing columns back in 1986, one of the first "gems" of journalistic dribble I labeled Don't Rush Me recorded (lamented) the fact I had found my first gray hair.
At that time, when I was about 22, I was sensitive of my age. Everybody always thought I looked older than I was. And, when I found that single strand of gray I pulled that sucker out and threw it away, pronto-like. Then I wrote about it.
Holy sands of time, Batman, where has all that time gone?
Twenty-seven years, 40 pounds and a few marriage's later I don't lament anymore about gray hair.
These days I'm just happy to have hair even if it's one of the 50 shades of gray.
When I was a wee lad, I remember my Grandpa McDonald. He was bald. And, all the stories I heard was he was bald by the time he was in his late teens. He was bald back in the day when it wasn't cool to be bald and folks weren't shaving their heads to be a part of the "in" crowd.
When I got to the seventh grade, Sashabaw Junior High School science teacher Mr. Irwin taught us many science facts of the day. I don't remember any of them, save for this, "Your hair gene is determined by your mother's father."
"Crap," I remembered saying to myself. "I'm doomed."
At the tender age of 13, I figured by the time I graduated from high school my dome would start to show. Five years is all I had. Much to my father's chagrin, I grew my hair longer and bushier than any of the Rushs before me. My own kids get a kick out of looking at pictures of yours truly during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The hair, ah the hair.
I remember intently watching the late actor Telly Savalas' TV cop show. I remembered his chrome dome, suckers, cool shades and I remembered the cool lid he rocked. (That last part is Rush vernacular for "the cool hat he wore.")
And I remembered making myself a promise if my hair started to go, I wouldn't cry in my Cheerios and walk around with thinning strands of hair. I would go Kojak like Savalas. I would have it all off. I may or may not have practiced the line "Who loves ya' babe" a few times in front of the bathroom mirror, you decide.
Somewhere along the way (probably when I turned 18 and still had lots of bushy brownish-gingerish-blondish hair) I adopted a better attitude.
And, as anybody who is older than 18 knows, taking on a better attitude at that age is hard.) I told myself that every year I had hair after my 18th birthday would be a bonus year. By the end of this month I will have chalked up 32 bonus years.
Thinking about it, I think my hair looks pretty good. Each year the gray spreads, slowly over taking the brownish-gingerish-blondish hair. I don't mind the gray hair on top of my head, but when my sons started calling me Santa because my beard was too much white, I shaved it off. Haven't grown facial hair since.
Life has happened in those 27 years since I found that first single strand of gray and plucked it off my noggin. It's been good. I'm doing better than I deserve and what more can a man ask for? One thing I didn't ask for and didn't expect to get was my very own, first time offer to me a member of the American Association of Retired People.
ARRRG! OMG, ARRP?
Me, of ARRP age . . . already? Really?
But there it was right in my own mail box. Last week I pulled out the mail and in my hands was my offer to join the American Association of Retired People. If I respond by Feb. 8, 2013 with my check for $16 I can be a member of the older folks association. Then I could get AARP, the magazine, 10 issues of the AARP Bulletin newspaper, discounts to hotels, car rentals, cruises, home security, cell phone service "and more."
I don't feel older.
I don't think I think older, either.
And, I don't think I want representation in Washington and all 50 states, "fighting age discrimination, protecting pension rights, Social Security and Medicare."
I ain't sending in my application nor the 16 bucks. I'm not fighting the age thing, I just don't want to acknowledge or celebrate it. It is what it is . . . Well, at least I got hair enough to brush.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org