The First Gray Hair

My daughter discovered a gray hair on my head. To the best of my knowledge it is my first. I rather imagine that this poor fellow is a scout that has been sent out by the other hairs with a mission to gather intelligence. His goal is to check out the land and determine if it is safe for the rest of the hair community. Can they come colonize the land or must they search for a more hospitable environment.

Her brother disputes her account of the color of said hair. He thinks that it is kind of blond. It could be, I have some reddish-blond highlights in my beard.

His assertion doesn't go over well with the dark haired beauty. She tells him that he is wrong and suggests that he get a flashlight to double check. Moments later two children are shining a light on the side of my head and comparing notes.

"Dad, you have a lot of hair everywhere but in the front of your head," he says. His sister concurs, but has some questions. "Abba, why do you have some space by your forehead and why do you only have one gray hair?"

I shrug my shoulders and tell them that before they were born I looked different. The dark haired beauty is quick to help, "you had really short hair and lines in your stomach." This time her brother decides to add, "ya dad, your stomach is a little round now."

Bless their little hearts. So glad that my children are so quick to point out all of my faults.

My fragile male ego is feeling a bit testy. I am not comfortable with all of these changes. Some of them are completely within my control and others less so. My diet has been lousy. For a while I have been on an eat and destroy mission. The good news is that I have been wildly successful. The bad news is that my success has manifested itself by making me look like hell.

It is my own fault. When some people are under stress they stop eating. Others take my approach and eat. So I am working hard to change the habit. I am impatient and wonder why I can't just blink the excess away. The good news is that I have been very consistent with my workouts. If I keep this up I will see results, provided that I cut down on the calories.

My hair is a different story. I haven't ever had a problem with gray hair and it is not because until now I didn't have any. I don't care what the color is as long as it is not pink or purple. The changes in the front have been a different story. I am not bald, not even close.

The back and sides are as full as they ever were. It is the front that has changed. It is definitely a bit thin. Nobody cares about it but me, but that is life. We are always our own worst critics.

I am standing inside my bathroom. It is the middle of the day and I am staring hard at my hair. I really can't tell if it is a gray hair, but I am assume that it is. In a few months I'll turn 41. Gray is appropriate, but then again I am not in any rush.

In the back of my head I remember someone saying that your beard goes gray before your head. I suppose that I could google it but I'd rather engage in a more practical approach. I haven't shaved in three or four days. I have a very healthy shadow coming in and I can't see any evidence of gray.

While I am engaged in this fit of vanity I decide to take a harder look at myself. I strip off my clothes and stand in front of the mirror. I laugh knowing that I am probably going to blog about this. The house is empty so I let out a barbaric yawp and assume a series of poses.

When I flex I can still see the cuts in my stomach. My arms and back still show signs of having been used for something more than hanging a shirt.

With a deep sigh I get dressed and exit the bathroom. Play time is over and work calls. I am still disappointed in myself, but make a promise to try harder. And with that I settle back into my chair and respond to emails. As I type I can see my reflection in the monitor. One little hair protrudes from the left side of my head. It is the instigator of all of this nonsense.

Somehow that seems appropriate. One wild hair, a renegade....


Basil said...

If you are like me, you will, one day, look in the mirror and suddenly notice there are many gray hairs. This will happen only after you hear someone refer to you as "gray-haired."

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Basil,

I sort of figure that is how it will work, provided that I don't end up shaving my head.

Ann Imig said...

One day I was pointing out my Dad to a friend. He was across the room.

She asked "The one with the white hair and white beard"

I said "No. The one with the black hair and white beard"

Then I turned and looked...

We were both talking about my Dad of course, but in my mindseye I see him at about 37.

Jack Steiner said...

We were both talking about my Dad of course, but in my mindseye I see him at about 37.

I know how that goes. I am often surprised by how old my parents look to me. I suppose that one day my kids will say the same thing about me.

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios said...

I got my first gray hairs in my 20s! I'm a natural redhead, so it seemed especially cruel.

And yes, I eat when stressed and am emerging from a particularly stressful period of life wearing the evidence. It is hard to face.

Jack Steiner said...

It is the wearing the evidence that really irks me. Ugh, I have to do something about this.

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