ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar! LarryNocella.com

19Feb/08Off

Earning Your Stripes: I hope I die before I get old (and stupid) Or, Stalking the Silver-Striped Human

Lately I have more prominent white hairs in my sideburns. They show up like stars on a cloudless night, since my hair is naturally solid black.

On the one hand, I thought about plucking them. On the other, I wondered about dyeing them. Back to the previous hand, I thought about leaving them, letting my age show. Second time to the second hand, I embraced them.

I've earned those grays. They're a testament to all the difficulties I've survived. All this and age, too! Let those suckers show.

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't had the most difficult life, but I've had my challenges. Through a combination of luck, determination and just plain stubbornness, I've gotten through. Plus, I must acknowledge against my own humility and carefully hidden lack of self-esteem that some of my good fortune (certainly not all of it) has to be attributed to some measure of skill. For example, my novel didn't write itself!

So hell yeah, I'm getting old. Fortunately, I'm not one of those people who think that just by virtue of years, I am deserving of respect and what I say is wise. Age alone is no guarantee of wisdom. Conduct alone demands respect and wisdom is for those who absorb lessons from experience.

In my mind, one of the greatest tragic creatures of the world is an old person who is a bigot. The enemy of bigotry is experience. Whenever I see an old person who believes in the same old tired prejudices, I can't help but think, "All this time you've been alive, all the chances you had to see things, experience things, talk to people, read and/or learn yet you still haven't noticed that not every (ethnic slur) is a criminal? You still haven't noticed that generalities don't work?"

Maybe my intuition is off. My expectation is that as one gets older, one loosens up. One should realize that the world is a mystery, and respect that. But I suppose the phenomenon of the aged moron could be part of the hardening process of aging.

I don't think it's inevitable, though. Chances are, old morons began as young morons. Another sign of hope is that there are lots of people, much older than I, as energetic and wise and as fun as anyone could wish to be. Lately I've been researching people's ages. Anyone I admire (or even dislike) in the public eye, I look up their age. Take the presidential candidates, for example. What a drain campaigning for president must be on the body and the mind. If those people, decades older than I, can do it, then I've got a lot of good years left, should my luck continue to hold out.

So bring on the gray. No. Gray isn't the right word. It implies blah. Let's go with white. No, that's got an association with lifelessness.

Let's go with silver. One of the most feared and respected primates is the Silverback Gorilla: strong, huge, aged leaders of a primate clan. I'll think of myself as that dude's less hairy, only slightly less muscular (ha!) relative: the Silver-Striped Human. It sounds much cooler than "I'm going gray."

Hell yeah, I'm going silver. I've earned these stripes.

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Larry Nocella is the award-winning author of the novel Where Did This Come From? available at Amazon and Xlibris and other fine online book stores. Where Did This Come From? is also available as an eBook. For more info, visit Larry Nocella's website at http://www.larrynocella.com/.

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