Gettin' old ain't for sissies

By Tom Mark

I'll admit there are times when I tend to embellish a bit in this space. Most of the following, I'm sad to report, actually happened.

The setting was the kitchen table where my family was finishing up a delicious brunch prepared by my beautiful, doting wife - waffles, eggs, toast, the works. My daughter, who is quickly establishing herself as the most astute member of the clan, was sitting across the table from me when she mentioned that I had a dab of butter on my mustache.

As we all do when someone points out something of that nature, I quickly wiped it off.

"Still there," she said.

I wiped again.

"Nope," she shook her head.

It was then I realized that what she was looking at wasn't butter at all. I pointed out that the light color under my nose was in fact hair. Gray ones.

As if she couldn't believe that her father (still possessing most of his boyish good looks and charm) couldn't possibly have any gray hair, my daughter came around the table for a closer look. While still more than a couple of feet away she exclaimed, "my gosh, you've got a ton of them!"

My first thought was that I'd like to get my hands on the well-meaning adult who taught my five-year-old daughter just how much ton is. Then I realized she was right. While it seems that just a day or so ago there may have been one or two white stalks in the field of amber, suddenly the landscape is littered with gray.

Later in the day (okay, so it was more like five minutes) I found myself in front of the bathroom mirror accessing the damage. The mustache thing would be easy to fix. All I need is a razor. But I discovered other things that I hadn't noticed before.

For instance, it seems like my eyes have moved closer together. Then I realized that there was simply more face surrounding them, giving the illusion of a shift in the geographic location of my baby blues. When this swelling took place I have no idea.

I almost hated to look at the side of my head.

Yep. Not exactly grandpa ears yet, but the potential is definitely there for them to one day be covered in fur. Do they even make ear shavers?

Then I decided I'm being silly. For crying out loud I haven't even had my first heart attack, bankruptcy or divorce yet and here I am worried about a little gray hair.

I suppose this is just part of the process. And further, I guess I should be glad that the signs of aging have been subtle. What are a few gray (and extra) hairs when everything else seems to be working all right?

So I decided not to worry about it, remembering what a late, favorite aunt told me once. "Getting old ain't for sissies," she said. She was right. Not to mention, it beats the alternative.

Gosh, all this worrying has worn me out. I think I'll go take a nap.

Tom Mark is the sports editor of The Tifton Gazette. You can reach him at 382-4321, ext. 213 or online at

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