I graduated from law school when I was 23 years old. Because I finished so early, I already had the disadvantage of looking like a little kid, basically the legal equivalent of Doogie Howser, M.D. (a reference too old for many of you.) Interview after interview I watched as I gave all the right answers, but got blank stares back from the interviewer. Surely they were thinking, “Does this guy even shave yet?” Quite honestly, I did not have to shave every day.
Because of all the Mestizo blood in me on my mother’s side, facial hair is not high on my list of accomplishments. Neither was hair on my legs, arms, chest, or other parts of my body. So my misguided solution to looking older was to grow a mustache. What a pitiful sight it was to see the little hairs sprouting from my lip. I see people like my son Sam that could probably grow a full beard in one afternoon, and it took me the better part of a month to get it to look like something other than a dirty upper lip.
So what is the big deal about that? If you know me or have seen my picture, you know that I now sport a full beard. It’s gray, of course, but it IS a full beard. It took me a long time to grow it, and I have had at least a full beard or goatee since I was 40. The reason I blog about this is simple. Now that I am moving along the time continuum, I find that hair grows where I don’t want it to.
Where in the heck did that hair on the underside of my wrist come from? Who the heck is the old man in the mirror with the Andy Rooney eyebrows? Holy crap, those aren’t boogers in my nose, they are long, ugly gray hairs! When did I sign up for that?
My fondest wish is that I could stop right there with this disgusting topic of hair growth. But I can’t. Driving to work the other day, my wife Molly said, “Are those hairs growing out of your ear?” Oh how cruel the gods of aging seem to be. The one thing that I had hoped would never happen had in fact occurred. Ironically, Molly and I had that discussion just a few days earlier. I was telling her how we used to kid my dad about braiding the hair that grew out of his ears and now here I was suffering from that same old man curse. Where were all those hair follicles when I needed them, and who told them to move into unoccupied areas of my body?
I am not totally ungrateful. As I see more and more of my friends that I grew up with, at least I can honestly say that I don’t have the super wide part in the middle of my head. I don’t have to consider shaving my head to hide the fact that I am balding. The very genes that kept me from growing facial hair also kept me from losing it on top of my head. As a good friend told me, it is better for your hair to go gray than to just go away.
I am grateful for little favors.