“Is that your natural color?”

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Blame it on genetics.

My dad’s hair turned white (not gray) when he was still quite young; the same thing happened to yours truly. I hadn’t thought much about it. The phenomenon did not make me look “distinguished,” let alone “mature.” If having white hair is one of life’s “punches,” I pretty much rolled with it. Until now.

What white hair and a beard did do though is . . . wait for it . . . make kids think I am Santa Claus. For several years this was cute, even funny. In recent times I’ve come to resent it, at least a little bit. I haven’t turned into the Grinch. For that I would have to be all green, and have a voice like Jim Carey’s. (Apparently at the seaside I would also have to don a woman’s one-piece bathing suit, too. Meh.)

White Hair Phenomenon (hereafter referred to as WHP) finally got the best of me. For some months I had had two boxes of A Product That Shall Not Be Named (one variant for hair, the other for beards) in the bedroom closet. For no particular reason, this week I decided to modify my appearance.

The test procedure one goes through before putting the stuff on for real echoes myriad drug adverts on TV or in magazines. They might address what ails you, but there’s a teeny tiny chance you will turn all green. Or sound like Jim Cary. Or be killed outright. In excruciating pain.

I’m happy to report that I did not experience any of the advertised potential nasty side effects. I began by applying the binary mixture (yeah, it’s like epoxy glue) to my beard. After letting it set for the specified five minutes – no more, no less – I showered off the residue. I now have the promised “ash-colored” beard . . . and (for now) white hair. To conquer WHP completely I will also have to color my hair.

Has what I have done made me feel younger, or better looking? Nope. I look a little different, and perhaps that’s all one could hope for. Time, as they say, marches on. Regardless of chemical additives.

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