This is proving to be an elusive life skill for me. One reason is that my increasing physical infirmity means I can no longer move with the elegance of a gazelle. Not that I ever could, having a tendency to trip over my own shadow from the moment I learned to walk, but you get the idea I’m sure.
Those of you with long memories will recollect I got my first tattoo when I was sixty. It’s not as glam as it sounds. I didn’t have ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’ tattooed on my knuckles, not a skull tattoo that covered my face. This was a modest affair, restoring to dew fresh colour a birthmark that was fading. The reasons are important, but I’ll not go into them here.
I still drink, though not at the idiot levels of my youth. Or indeed most people’s youths. But I like a beer, a glass of wine, and this scandalises the more puritan residents of where I live. Mind you, there’s a lot of them who are closet topers. The dumpster is full of bottles most weeks. British sherry seems to be the weapon of choice, in case you’re interested.
This week, I was feeling a bit rebellious, but again my advancing years limit the possibilities a bit. So I went to my local Turkish barber’s shop and had my head shaved. Zip. Cut throat razor all over. Bald as a coot.
It was one of those ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’ affairs. You can’t change your mind halfway through, can you? But I quite like the result. The cologne and hot towel were a shock to the system, but on balance it’s pretty neat..
There are two disturbing aspects, though, both of which I did foresee.
One. The skin of my scalp hasn’t seen any sun since the day I was born, pretty much. I have a reasonably tanned face and neck, and a white dome. That will correct with time, I suppose.
The second thing won’t correct with time. I have a very odd shaped skull. I look like a Conehead off Saturday Night Live, or a Brechtian Spitzkopfe. I remember my mum telling me that when I was just a wee bairn, a doctor asked if I’d had a forceps birth, and now I can see why that could be a reasonable question. It’s also remarkably bumpy, like a relief map of an asteroid.
But hey ho. I don’t have to look at myself, do I? It’s somebody else’s problem. Plus it makes washing a one step process, and when I shave I don’t need to stop level with the tops of my ears. I just keep going and till I reach the other side.