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On Being Out of Fashion

Posted by twayneking on Friday, January 31, 2014

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As I age disgracefully, I find there are things I want to do that have nothing to do with how cool anyone thinks they are. When I got myself lured up to the Pacific Northwest to aged hippie country, I discovered that a lot of my long-haired brethren from the 60s were here too and that the ones who moved to Seattle and Olympia were mostly raging liberals. 

Out here amongst the trees, however, there are a surprising lot of long-haired conservatives, all heavily armed with everything from homemade knives and assault rifles to longneck banjos. Feeling right at home and a little irritated at the growing bald spot on top of my head, I decided to let my hair grow out.

The wife has long been my barber, due to the fact that I'm too cheap to pay $15 for a haircut. In recent years she's developed an essential tremor in her hand. I don't know what's essential about it, but that's what the docs say so who am I to argue?

The upshot is, I let my hair grow out. A lot of older guys on TV and even some younger ones had begun sporting pony tails, so I figured, why not. So I began a race to see if I could grow my hair out long enough to braid into a sailor's cue in the back before my remaining hair fell out.

It's a race at this point, but one thing fun came out of it - it boosted my acting career nicely.  Now when the youth department at the church need a Moses or some wild-haired minor prophet for a dramatic skit, I'm the go-to guy. I may even check out some community theaters and see if they need a Merlin or a Ben Franklin for some play or other. Might be fun. I've always wanted to do Scrooge on stage.

At any rate, now that my hair is growing out, I discover that pony tails for men are out of fashion again. As was explained to me, "That's soooooo 2009."

Ah, well, I'm doomed it seems to be out of step with the rest of the world. My computer's operating system will no longer be supported after April. If I update my operating system, I'll lose all my most useful programs AND I'll have to learn how to use Windows 8 or something equally horrible and probably have to upgrade my computer which I can ill afford at present.

I'm a teetotaler conservative, living in a state that just legalized marijuana and deregulated liquor stores, a Christian in a part of the country that's pretty much atheist or Buddhist or neo-pagan, a conservative in liberal hell and poor where the cost of living is somewhere around that of Palm Beach or Abu-Dhabi.

I should not be at all surprised; it was inevitable that his was coming. When I was a kid, I was a skinny nerd in a class full of bullies and underachievers most of whom were bound for prison. From there I went to a Christian school where I was the only agnostic up until they gave up on me, at which point, I perversely got myself baptized.

My best summers have been when I worked on staff at summer camp, where my skills were actually up-to-date and useful.  I had friends who were a lot like me and if they weren't they didn't care that I was a bit odd. Girls even liked me for the first time in my life.

Approaching age 60, however, I find it's just me and the missus stranded out here amongst the Douglas firs and the roving bands of deer and psychotic squirrels. And me without a banjo!

I think God's messing with me. I suspect it's for my own good.


5 comments on “On Being Out of Fashion”

awpeeler Says:
Monday, March 3, 2014 @8:55:33 AM

Cool Blog, Tom. You are a funny guy! I enjoyed reading this.

Gittargirl Says:
Thursday, July 17, 2014 @8:31:14 PM

Tom. like Tony, I loved reading your blog. Even though I'm female, I can so relate to your aging woes. I'm 60+ and live on a farm in the ass-back of Australia where I have little in common with anybody. Nobody's interested in an old guitar player. The only jams around are young guys who play stuff from 2000 onward. So I play on the verandah for the sheep and kangaroos. They're not a very responsive audience, but at least they don't stampede. About your hair - good on ya! Wear it anyway you want. I have discovered that one of the best things about getting old is not caring what anybody thinks about your choices, and doing what you always wanted to do. Just please, please don't do a comb-over! I'm sure it's seriously painful for a guy to go bald, and I deeply sympathize, but a comb-over just looks ugly and ridiculous. The Ben Franklin look is vastly better, or a pony tail, or a braid. "That's soooooo 2009." Bet that was one of your kids!?? Oh, I have to drive 50 miles round trip to go to church. I think they would like me to wear little floral frocks and lacy collars and bake scones... I just go for the great sermons. It's hard not fitting in with other people's expectations! Keep on keeping on, brother! Maddie

twayneking Says:
Sunday, July 20, 2014 @8:50:24 AM

Maddie - No fear of a comb-over from me. One wonders who they think they are fooling. It's kind of sad. Besides, apparently men with higher levels of testosterone are the ones who tend to go bald, so at my advanced decrepitudinousness, it's kind of a badge of honor. I suspect it's why I tend to get up earlier in the morning than my Sweet Baboo who had her ovaries removed nearly 30 years ago and tends to be much less enthusiastic about things than me. In the absence of jamming partners, I've begun playing along with the guys who post their songs on the Flatpicker and Banjo Hangouts. They're very patient and don't mind repeating a passage if I'm having trouble with it. If I get tired of a song, I just clip them off and nobody's feelings get hurt. As to audiences, I always have the dog and with a laptop and my wireless network, I can play on the little porch/catwalk outside our front door and not bother my wife the musical genius with perfect pitch. She's less tolerant of my musical bumblings. Once threw a guitar at my head in frustration. People with perfect pitch are not a patient breed.

All in all I'm rather proud at having survived into my sixth decade and have decided I can now do what I want. Mike Gregory over on the Banjo Hangout sent me a Squared Eel banjo kit and I'm working on the frets now. Should have a banjo at least soon which makes me happy. The musical genius? Not so much.....

Ks_5-picker Says:
Sunday, November 2, 2014 @6:00:54 PM

I've enjoyed your ramblings on the banjo hangout for years.I'm conservative too. Just one question.Did your wife actually hit you in the head with the guitar? If not,she hasn't perfect pitch ability.

twayneking Says:
Sunday, November 2, 2014 @10:16:26 PM

No, she swung it at my head was all. I don't think her heart was quite in it, so I was spared any serious cranial damage. Once, however, she did do a pretty good impersonation of "The Who" on a 12-string guitar of mine. Bipolar is such an exciting disease. Throw in perfect pitch and a cleanliness obsession and life is a living hell sometimes for my sweetie. Now once she DID hit me in the head with a glass plate. We were having an argument and I was winning and I made the mistake of smiling. I don't remember much after that.

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