One fine morning, getting ready for work, I picked out my favorite Jerry Garcia necktie and started tying a simple knot, something I’ve done thousands of times. Only this time, I was stopped cold. Halfway through, I couldn’t remember how to finish it.

This was not a good sign. I was pushing 60 and my father had died of dementia. Visions of loudly announcing every erratic maneuver I made while driving and stacking the living room furniture to the ceiling in the middle of the night ran through my head. These were things my father had actually done in his last year of life, and they haunted me.

Had I gone senile overnight?

I didn’t feel old. I didn’t think I looked old, at least not until I saw photos of myself.

Like a modern-day Dorian Gray, my pictures on Facebook were aging but I was forever young. Or so I believed. Until another morning when, after waking, I stumbled groggily into the bathroom and encountered my visage in the mirror. I was startled by what I saw.

While absurdly hoping to see something akin to a craggy Robert Redford, or at least a grizzled Clint Eastwood, what stared back at me from the mirror was Mr. Potato Head with an Einstein fright wig. I went back to bed, hoping it was all a bad dream.


My six-year-old grandson, a wicked-tongued wag, is a critical observer of hair and all its faults. One evening, arriving home from work and discovering him playing in the TV room, I said, “Hi, Rowan, what are you doing?” Seeing me, he immediately announced, “You’re bald!”

If I’d had my wits about me, I would have responded, “No! When did that happen?” Or something clever, rather than being embarrassed and dumbstruck. I remembered the fright wig in the mirror and thought, maybe that’s not such a bad look.

This is a kid who, the year before, spotted a scruffy, long-haired, bearded fellow at the entrance of the Trolley Museum in Kennebunk and turned to me and his grandmother and said, loud enough for everyone around us to hear, “Looks like somebody’s having a bad hair day!”

Fortunately the scruffy fellow had a sense of humor. We smiled sheepishly, quickly steered Rowan through the door and slinked into the museum.

But I digress. I’m getting old and not liking it one bit. I spend half of the day looking for my reading glasses and the other half of the day looking for my walking-around glasses. Always with the wrong glasses on.

At the gym, I sit down at the bench-press machine and marvel at the huge amount of weight the previous user – obviously a muscle-bound fellow – just pressed, only to notice it was a skinny teenaged girl.

I never again had trouble with my necktie. Just the other morning, on a tie-wearing day, I breezed through entire process without a hitch. A perfect knot. Then I walked out of the house without my shoes.

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