I may have finally found my sport.
Mind you, I’m not without competitive talent. If someone announces a punning decathlon, I’ll be right at the starting line. The 100-meter deadline-anxiety dash has my name written all over it. And my skill at the Orchestra Pit Diving Invitational has become legend among Longmont actors, and at least one surprised musical director. (Hey, I didn’t miss my cue!)
But no, those are warmups. My new ideal venue is a Japanese tug-of-war. This one doesn’t require you to be Hercules – but Curly Howard would have a field day.
“Members of (Tsuruta City’s) Bald Men Club took turns competing in a unique game of tug-of-war by sticking a suction cup, which is attached to a single red rope, to each of their heads,” Megumi Lim of Reuters reported recently. “Both sides then attempt to pull the cup off of their opponent’s head.”
That’s right. This is a sport where you really use your head.
It’s true that I haven’t parted ways with my comb yet. But my hairline left on an expedition to the North Pole long ago and has begun sending back detailed reports of the Arctic Circle. As the old comics used to put it, I have wavy hair – it’s just that it’s mostly waving good-bye.
I come by my natural highlights honestly. The Rochat men typically wear their foreheads high enough for me to see my future in the reflection. My Dad likes to say, “They don’t put marble tops on cheap furniture,” and I know my place in the department store is coming.
“But wait,” someone’s bound to ask, “doesn’t baldness come from the mother’s side of the family?” Well, maybe – but Granddad Bill made the rest of us look like Rapunzel, so there’s not a lot of help there.
Bothered? Not as much as I used to be, and not just because I still have enough to need a trim. (“Short back and sides” is now a description as well as a haircut.) Yes, I know there is a difference between “balding” and “bald” and I don’t mind that I haven’t crossed over to the Mr. Clean side yet. But it’ll come.
And when it does, I hope I can celebrate it.
There are a lot of things to worry about in this world – hate and prejudice, surveillance and privacy, factions breaking the human race into a jigsaw puzzle gone wild. But for most of us, the truly primal fear is aging and dying. A lot of money gets made off the difference between what we expect and what we see in the mirror, convincing us that our bodies are betraying us rather than doing what comes naturally.
Some of it’s understandable. Things wear out or wear down; repairs do become necessary, aches and pains never become welcome. Offer me a back that’s never been thrown out and I’d jump at the chance. But some is an attempt to freeze a moment or to hide from one.
I want to trust what I am and what I’m becoming.
Things will always change and some of it we’ll have to live with, from the minor to the major. But we need to be able to gauge which is which. We need to trust that our selves are more than our packaging, that there can still be joy despite change – or even in change.
And when we trust ourselves, maybe we can build a more trusting world.
Or at least one with plenty of ointment for those head-mounted suction cups.