It’s funny how some things and people change with the passage of time while others don’t.
I went to the barber shop the other day. I have been going to the same shop for the last 14 or 15 years. It may not seem like a long time compared to other people who have seen the same barber since the day after they were born, but it took me a long time to find someone that I was comfortable with touching me and an environment that I could fully relax in. As a result, over the years I have met and seen many of the customers who frequent the place. I may not be close enough for movie and dinner invitations, but I know many of them by face at least.
This time, I was sitting in the shop waiting my turn, staring up at the TV looking at the news when Mario came in. I had seen him there one time before, but had not been sure that it was him. This time I was. In fact he came up to me, recognized me and offered his hand.
He stood over me and I looked at his graying hair, the scar over his left eyebrow and the twinkle in his eyes that I remembered from before. He was slightly heavier than when I last saw him about fifteen years ago, but he still held an attractiveness that was not overwhelming but appealing.
I thought about how he would be the only one to wear a thong in the whirlpool at Bally’s. He would have both the boys and the girls stare and want him as he entered or left. He had such an aura about him that his masculinity would never be questioned and that made him even sexier. He was my rival, but he was also someone that I wanted.
Now as he turned away, I noticed the bald spot in the back of his head and the lines in his face that had deepened with time. I thought to myself how old he had become and the quick youthful step that he carried himself with was just a memory replaced now by that belly that protruded. I compared myself to him and I thought about how I looked and felt good about myself.
Then I remembered the old joke where a man goes to see a dentist and while looking up at her from the chair, he realizes that she was a former high school class mate. He wonders to himself how old she looks and how she could have let herself go like that. The man decides to tell the dentist that he knows her.
“Excuse me, but I think you were in my class in high school,” he says.
“Really,” she said without blinking. “What class did you teach?”
There is a lesson there. Something about age, beauty and humility I think, but until I can figure it out, I will just go on thinking about how some people change with age while I remain as constant as the Northern Star...except for that click in my right knee whenever I walk that is.