Then one day I was eating lunch with my daughter in Wendy's and a lady who I'm sure was very nice came up to us and asked me how old my granddaughter was.
That's when I realized that I had too much gray in my once all-dark beard, and it was time for it to go. I never once considered that beard dye that's "Just For Men" and I never will. I shaved it all off that night.
Since then, my hair thinned out and grayed out to the point where, to my eyes at least, I look better with a shaved head than with the classic male bald guy tonsure (which I hate.) So I started shaving my head. Then I had to go on corticosteroids for my Crohn's Disease, and the end result is that I look very much like...Uncle Fester.
Yes, Uncle Fester. Jackie Coogan from the old television show The Addams Family, not Christopher Lloyd from the movies. Vintage Fester. Classic Fester.
It made for a great Halloween costume last October, but it's a lousy way to traipse through life. So I'm thinking about growing a goatee.
I'm about ten days into it. What my friend Bill W. calls the "Lost Weekend" phase of facial hair. Not enough to look like anything, but just enough to make me look unkempt and scruffy. I have been able to shave around where the goatee might be, but there still isn't enough of it to give me a sense of what I'm going to look like.
Whether or not I decide to keep it will depend on two things: One, how much does it add to my apparent age? So far, only a few threads of dark are in there; this is going to be a predominantly white feature. I have to confess right now, that if it comes in the way I think it will (and the next four or five days will tell for sure) the extra gray on my face will make me look closer to 70 than 60.
And of even greater concern to me -- Two, how much does it make me look like my father? For reasons too many and varied to go into here (I'll just mention the "a" word that rhymes with "babusive") his is not a face I care to see in the mirror, now or ever. He has worn a mustache since about the time I grew my first mustache (only, Universe help us, he waxes his into a handlebar) and some sort of scruffy chin fuzz has been on his face lately as well. So if I ever get that cold chill of seeing his face in the mirror in the morning, the goatee will become a gone-tee.
I'd rather see Uncle Fester.