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Monday

Old People are just Young People in Disguise…


I was around 55 years of age when I became really aware that I looked older.  I carefully stepped off a train that had come to rest quite high above the platform and the guard, after giving me a cautious look, said “Are you OK young man” I realised the situation immediately and retorted “I never got called young until I was old.”

 I gave a laugh designed to convey friendliness, which I know sounded tense and brittle and he too responded with a laugh, which likewise sounded embarrassed and slightly hurt.

A car swallowing sink hole of an age-gulf  grew between us   and I walked to the entrance of the station, wiser in the knowledge  that I no longer looked young.
It was the begining of the end for the hair-dye assisted hair and the rug wig toupee hair replacement system.  To be honest, (I told myself eventually) I rather liked the sensation of the wind passing over my bald pate…
I DID however, really appreciate not having to lean my head into the wind’s direction, in order that ‘the thing’ did not waft off my head and bowl down the street, to the amusement of all…apart from me.

On a teaching visit to Copenhagen in the ‘70’s, I accompanied my host to the Tivoli Gardens which has an amusement area containing various hair-raising (literally) rollercoasters, bouncy castles, merry-go-rounds and carousels,  all of which I had learned to avoid for the sake of not losing that stupid little piece of petrified hair.

I sidled past the 'rug-dangers', aware that my host (young, attractive) was keen to go on at least one of the human food whisks. At last we came to the ‘Haunted House’ and I decided to take the risk.
All went well at first and whenever things got a bit 'hairy' (ghosts popping out, floors tilting,) I gave an artfully carefree laugh whilst holding my hair head in an expression of total enjoyment.

Everything continued swimmingly (another activity I had barred myself from), until we entered what I shall always remember as ‘The Scream Room’. The floor suddenly tilted and a jet of compressed air shot my toupee high into the air. A few people laughed, but were then joined by half the room as the toupee, looking like an insane spider, managed to land on another air-jet and promptly took off again to end up in a recessed area of the room.

I jumped down and ran across to grab it, but I was too late and the whole room erupted in hysterics as the spider, seemingly desperate for an encore, zoomed off once more, propelling itself toward a cluster of red-faced holidaymakers, who scattered and laughed as they tried to breath. I eventually cornered and snared the little bugger with my foot and was tempted to quickly shove it in my pocket, no doubt to more shrieks of mirth - but the performer in me saved the day…

…Ignoring the sniggering and expectant crowd, who were wondering how to react, I took my time and carefully shook and combed the little beast with my fingers - before slowly aligning it on my head and then - after another pause - gave my audience a slight smile.
I left the ‘scream room’ to the sound of applause and cheers, with a bewildered host in tow.
~
We older Children of the 60’s are prone to criticise  todays  attitudes and in fact there is  a lot that I regret losing from that time…but not my hair!
Back then I had to get a toupee in order to get a job as a dancer – bald dancers were unheard of. Nowadays it just doesn’t matter – and I think it’s much better.  Equally, there is something rather sad about an older man, with a toupee which doesn’t match the hair colour underneath.
Having said that, there is nothing wrong about wearing one, as long as it always links and matches properly with  the existing hair…it’s just that a toupee is static and does not age, as the face does underneath – In the end a choice has to be made…drop the toupee, or invest in a ‘thinning’ one…gradually thinning it year by year.  Or get a facelift to match the toupee – and so on, ‘till a pair of old, frightened eyes look out from behind a surgical ‘mask’ – and I’m not talking about the surgeon.
~
Really, at either side of the age sink-hole, things are much the same, except that at my side there is less time and time itself passes faster and is consequently more precious.
I am the same boy who walked with his mother to his first day at infants school; the boy who told his father that he was afraid of death and who clearly remembers his father telling him that it was so, so far away.  Except now it’s not and like a feared dentist’s appointment, will eventually arrive.

I envy my cat, who simply lives his life and does not think about such stupid things.
.

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3 comments:

Liara Covert said... 7 June 2014 at 07:53

Hi Henry, feel lots of energy flowing through this blog. You are prolific! Imagine for a moment you are the cat and all things that the mind registers as separate. The human learns from each experience or at least has opportunities to do so. Each lifetime offers new opportunities for the soul to grow and expand. See all life through the eyes or lens of love and boundaries of difference and judgement disappear.

Henry Metcalfe said... 7 June 2014 at 10:30

Liara Covert

Hi Henry, feel lots of energy flowing through this blog. You are prolific! Imagine for a moment you are the cat and all things that the mind registers as separate. The human learns from each experience or at least has opportunities to do so. Each lifetime offers new opportunities for the soul to grow and expand. See all life through the eyes or lens of love and boundaries of difference and judgement disappear. on Old People are just Young People in Disguise…
Liara Covert
on 07/06/14

Dan Lane said... 1 March 2015 at 03:57

I am definitely a young person in disguise. I know that I am really just 35 and wonder who that almost 70 person is looking back at me when I shave. I wish he would get out of my mirror so I could see the real me.

Item Reviewed: Old People are just Young People in Disguise… Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Henry Metcalfe
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