Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself and the situation you find yourself in.
Yesterday, my 14-year-old son came to the supermarket with me (mostly because we went somewhere he wanted to go first and was forced to) and found himself accompanying me to the hair color aisle. I was quickly becoming annoyed because my brand was on sale, yet my shade was not there. Not one to keep silent about it, I began to complain, “Sure, they have #2, #3, #5, #6… but no #4 – why no #4? Because they knew I was coming, that’s why.” In a show of feigned solidarity, my son checks the shelf, picking up boxes with blonde models on them to check the numbers, “Nope, this one says #8.” For those who don’t know, #4 is DARK brown… :-/
A moment later, as I’m leaning over looking behind some boxes, my son happens to gaze down at the top of my head and notices my roots. With a giggle, he says, “Man, you DO need to color your hair… look at all that gray starting to show.” But it gets worse. Before I could respond to that, he said the unthinkable: “You ARE old,” and laughed even harder.
I spun around, prepared to offer my defense of how I wasn’t that old, how heredity on my mother’s side is responsible for graying at a young age (for me, 29), and how my gray is concentrated only in the front.
But, before I could, a laugh from the shampoo area alerted me that we were no longer alone in the aisle. A handsome man with salt and pepper hair was looking at us – at me – as if to judge for himself if I really was old. His reaction and his hair made me feel as though I had an ally, so I decided to address him directly: “I’ll hold him, and you hit him,” I said. Mr. Salt & Pepper replied, “Oh, you can take him”.
Though I was only kidding (and Mr. S&P knew this, of course) I can’t, in fact, “take him”. My son may only be 14, but is taller and broader than me and plays high school football. Yet, he is generally a kind soul who is more sensitive to the way I react to jokes about my age… :-/
Maybe he just caught me in one of my cantankerous moods…. :-)
* not me in the picture (!) :-)