Monday, October 10, 2011
I'm not the kind of person who's easily predisposed to violence.
Heck, I'm not EVER predisposed to violence. In fact, should the situation present itself, I wouldn't have the slightest clue what to "do" in a violent manner. This probably isn't the brightest thing to admit in a widely-distributed local newspaper column, but I'm not too worried about it. Unless you're a really big fan of Carmex and/or charmingly ironic New Kids on the Block keychains, there are FAR better targets for mugging out there, trust me. Besides, I might not be able to HURT you, but I can definitely scream loud and long like a wee schoolgirl.
I've seen neutered and declawed housecats with better hand-to-hand combat skills than myself. I am a pacifist, a non-arguer, a non-confrontational weenie who believes in the inherent goodness of human nature and tries his hardest to be as nice as possible to anyone and everyone. That said, an interesting thing happened to me the other morning.
I woke up in a BAD mood. A seethingly bad mood. The kind of bad mood where my only hope was to make it through the work day talking to as absolute few people as I possibly could. It had been a LOUSY weekend. The kind of weekend that has no place being discussed in a column like this because it'd just bring everybody down. And now it was Monday, and here I was, getting to work in the nick of time and just hoping to slide into my desk and nurse my coffee as unnoticed as possible.
I got onto the elevator with one of my favorite co-workers -- but on THAT morning, I didn't have favorites. I just had an aching desire to avoid eye contact and most forms of interpersonal communication altogether. I even went for the tried-and-true method of human avoidance: I took out my cell phone and pretended as though the most important text message of my life had just arrived. But all the while, my brain was just thinking three words over and over again like a mantra: Leave. Me. Alone.
No such luck.
I've worked with this co-worker for over 15 years, and I love her to tears, I really do. It wasn't her fault. She didn't know I was a posterboy for Snuffleupagus Anonymous that morning. But she DID think it was a great time to say the following:
"Wow, you sure are getting a lot of grey hairs."
Like I said, I'm not a violent person. Violence isn't even a concept in my brain. Yet at that moment, I kinda wanted to put my fist through something. Not my co-worker, mind you -- but something that would make a statement, like maybe the elevator door. In my mind, I would slam my fist into it and it would cave in like in the Hulk movies. Then I'd cut loose with a primal scream and perhaps turn all green and muscle-y.
Of course, in reality, I just stood there, put on a fake grin, and made some kind of gutteral "heh heh" that would hopefully pass for a socially acceptable response. Had I actually HIT the elevator door -- should I actually even KNOW how to "hit" something, which I absolutely don't -- the elevator door wouldn't cave in. It wouldn't even bruise. My HAND, on the other hand, would have shattered like dainty porcelain. Why? Because I'm a wuss -- and now I'm apparantly an OLD wuss at that.
Grey hair is just NOT cool in my world. I don't wanna be the old guy. I'm just not ready for it yet. It's no secret that most of my life's passions are clearly being designed for a demographic I'm no longer part of. DJ booths, indie music, video games... these are clubs that I'm no longer supposed to be a member of. At some point, I'm supposed to start thinking that video games are too violent, too fast, and too silly for someone my age. My musical tastes, meanwhile, are supposed to stop at some arbitrary year along the road of life so that I'll flock to an oldies station. Thus far, that's not happened.
I can't get around the fact that I'm 40 years old. But at least I don't think I look the part quite yet. And I know that sounds vain, which is really weird, because vanity isn't something I'm usually concerned with. I'm an out-of-shape uncoordinated oaf -- and I'm pretty much cool with that. Call me fat all you want, so long as you don't call me OLD and fat.
Why the huge concern with age? Your guess is good as mine. I've had a lot of women tell me that grey hair adds character and makes you look distinguished. But there's no "distinguished" when you're sitting around in a baggy t-shirt, eating frozen pizza, and playing Call of Duty. "Distinguished" folks go to supper clubs and discuss politics. Well, my friend and I tried that action the other night and it's just not for us. The place looked like a funeral home, the food was nearly tasteless, and any awkward conversation we attempted was drowned out by the multitude of oxygen machines attached to other patrons.
I will NOT go gracefully into that good night. Frankly, it's unfair biology that hairlines turn grey and recede from the head while new crops rise to life in your nostrils and ears. I caught myself in the mirror the other day, and the hairs that were sprouting out from my nose looked like a bad Star Trek special effect. That's why I spent a few minutes in the bathroom, diligently plucking out nose hairs (yes, I know, NOT recommended,) which of course made my nose plug up so I walked around all morning like I had a cold...
Which was PART of my bad weekend. The rest of it was when I was DJing at a downtown nightclub later that night and a customer came up and wanted to hear "something from the 80's." When I asked what song, she replied, "Your choice. Just something retro that we'd enjoy. You know what to play -- you're no spring chicken yourself."
I know, I know -- I should just suck it up and count my blessings. I made it to 40, which is more than some people even get. And while I may have "a lot" of grey hairs, grey hair is better than NO hair, and besides, they've yet to take over completely. When they do, hopefully I'll handle it with grace and dignity and a bare minimal amount of hands shattered against elevator doors. If I wanna play video games and DJ hip-hop when I'm 70, who really cares? In the meantime, I promise to shoot for sunnier Mondays and fighting the good fight against age. And if all else fails, like it did the other morning, I can go to my desk, take out a pencil, and break it in half in an act of random and senseless violence. Sure, it may have taken a couple tries, but it felt gooood.