Friday, January 22, 2010

Old Hippy

It's official, I'm an old hippie. It's your grandkids that'll let you know, without meaning to let you know.

My 3 year old granddaughter, Lily, wants her hair in a pony tail tied with a black hair tie -just like her grandfather.

Yep, I'm old enough to have grandkids, and I've got my hair in a pony tail. Old hippy.

I'm not that old. 51 isn't old. My lovely wife and I married young and had kids right off.

I suppose I do look like an old hippy. There's the long hair and beard. Of course, with a leather jacket on, I blend in really well with a group of bikers. The facial scars help. Another group of fat guys with long hair and beards is Science Fiction authors. Having written Science Fiction, it only makes sense that I'd look like one of those guys. I suspect Science Fiction writers have beards and long hair because they don't go out much and can't afford a good barber.

When I was a Firefighter, I couldn't have a beard. Can't get a good seal with an air pack's face mask. My hair, while not pony tail long, was over my ears and shirt collar. Hey, we weren't cops. My face did sport a mustache. They almost issue you one when you join up.

After I left the fire department, the beard came on. Facial hair was one way of telling my subconscious to get over not being a Firefighter anymore. Think it helped. Also starting letting the hair grow longer. Why not?

So that's the look I settled into. Once in a while I get the hedge clippers out and knock the beard back a bit. Don't want to look like Santa Claus around Christmas, nor like the guys in ZZ Top. Occasionally, my wife sneaks up behind me and hacks a few ratty inches off the pony tail

I'm sure the look got me out of jury duty once. Instead of my normal extremely casual clothes, I put a suit and tie on when my number came up. Twice I got picked for juries. Once the prosecution asked to have me removed. The other time the defense asked to have me removed. Lawyers don't like people who seem unpredictable. They couldn't guess what I'd do. It got me out of jury duty.

For about 8 years my wife and I traveled the country for months on end. The first year I cut my hair extremely short, about 1/8 inch. Thought it might be easier to blend in while in red neck country. Shouldn't have bothered. Most of the people I hit it off with either didn't mind long hair or had hair longer than mine. There are plenty of red necks with long hair. Besides, I traveled with a canoe on my car. All I had to do was ask how the fishing was around these parts and people tended to open up.

I look like an old hippy -or an old biker -or a red neck -or a writer -or . . . whatever. I'm just another American exercising my right to look the way I want to.

Of course, since I don't work for the man, I don't need to follow his dress code.

That's the hippy part coming out.


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