The other day, I was in the store getting a cup of espresso for my wife. It was an off day so I was really dressed up. I was wearing some old BDU army pants, a Led Zepplin t-shirt, and I might’ve combed my hair…not sure. I made my order and went to the side to wait. That’s when I noticed a little boy giving me a real hard stare. I did what any mature adult would do and stared back. Then he spoke.
KID: Are you an army guy?
ME: I was, but not anymore.
KID: You look old.
ME: Yep, I am.
He looked me up and down with a critical look in his eye.
KID: You look too old to be an army guy.
ME: I am, but I was young when I was in the army.
The kid looked at his mom questioningly before looking back at me.
KID: You can’t just get old.
This conversation was getting old. You can’t win a debate with a little kid and I didn’t want to. I just smiled and waited for that drink. The kid wouldn’t let it go. He looked back at his mom and continued.
KID: Tell him, mom. You can’t just get old.
MOM: Yes you can. Look at Grandpa and Grandma. (The kid looked puzzled).
KID: Grandpa said he was born that way, all old and wrinkly.
Now I understood where the kid was coming from. Being a grandpa myself, I have often tried to spin a good one on my grandkids occasionally. Anyway, I was no longer annoyed at the kid. He obviously listened well and you can’t find fault in a kid for doing that, can you?
Anyway, I look old enough with my gray hair and beard that I’m sometimes asked, “Were you in Vietnam?” I could be insulted because I’m only 58-years-old. I was a kid during that war. But I’m not insulted, I earned every gray hair on my head, face, chest, ears, nose, um, and so on.
I was in Desert Storm and I read that a common factor amongst veterans of that war is that we seemed to have aged ten years beyond our actual time on Earth. So, taking that into account, I’m a pretty spry 68-year-old. Ha!
To offset this, my wife looks ten years younger than her age and even though she’s two years older than I am, it looks like I married a younger woman. I’m still waiting for the day she hears, “Why are you with that old guy?” I know that day will come cause she’s a babe…and I’m not.
Of course, when I shave off my beard, I look younger…maybe a couple years or so. My wife says if I color my hair I would look younger…
WIFE: You should color your hair.
ME: Um, why?
WIFE: You would look younger.
ME: Why would I want that?
WIFE: Maybe some highlights or frosted ends…
ME: Um, what?
WIFE: Then we could trim your beard into a goatee and color that.
ME: Wait, what?
WIFE: You would look so much better.
So sometimes the pressure is on. Even though I don’t much care how I look, I know my wife has to look at me. I keep the beard short, my hair short (I don’t want any man-bun ideas floating in her head), and generally look presentable. When I wear a suit, I sometimes get the comment that I look like the “Most interesting man in the world” from the Dos Equis beer commercials from a couple years back. So I guess I clean up well and it’s good to have that going for me…