I grew my first beard when I was 24 and backpacking around Europe. And as it grew in, I was sort of startled by the facts that 1) I had total face coverage in about 10 days and 2) a lot of my chin hair was auburny red. Ever since I've thought of my chin as its own Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop, loaded up with orange Play-Doh.
So now, spring is springing, I'm off work for two weeks, and I'm coming to grips with my new identity as something of a Manhattan Mountain Man. Naturally, I'm letting the face hair out for its annual fling. And now that it's been 10 days, there's been a new development:
Behold: the grayness.
It's not all that troubling, really. Plenty of vital individuals have rocked the gray beards. Da Vinci, Gandalf, Redd Foxx. But I'm also potentially on the downhill slope toward becoming That Guy, the old crank at the end of the block who shakes his fist and screams "Consarn it!" when your ball lands in his pachysandra. A chilling prospect.
I will try to stave off this newest evidence of encroaching death by spending the week living in my old apartment, with my current children, while Mama's out of town. It's all so familiar, yet decidedly not; I will know exactly where I am but have no clue where anything is. Perhaps I will emerge from this alternate reality as Gandalf the White, which would be totally cool -- except my lease probably doesn't allow horses.