Samson’s Lent

I forgot how to smile like a normal person. I get crap about this a lot, but it’s just a habit, developed back in the years when I neglected to see a dentist and drank gallons of tea and smoked. Lots of stained teeth, so keep that mouth shut. One of my upper front ones still tends to get darker than the rest, and I could have used an orthodontist at some point along the line, but this is all water under the bridge (got one of those, too). I just forgot. I should work on that.

Yesterday I was sort of idly figuring out how to put together this video showing Bixie that grandpa is still grandpa, even beardless. When I upgraded my computer, I somehow misplaced my web cam, so I set up my Nikon on a tripod behind the monitor to see if that would work. And, as it turned out, while I was recording myself for about 30 seconds to see if I was in focus, I smiled. Took some effort but I did, just to see what it looks like.


So there you go. As I told JK this morning, this wasn’t a casual thing. I was used to having a beard. I figured I’d probably just always have one. No one seemed to think getting rid of it was a good idea. There was no imperative. And I’m pushing 60 and there’s no one clamoring for a change in my appearance, because all changes are likely to be unpleasant from here on out. Better to cover up what you can.

It was just Lent, and my strong desire to reevaluate and pivot off this season, which I normally only nominally observe. Figure out what I’m doing, where I’m heading, what I want from the rest of this life and how I can achieve that. Shaving was symbolic but then. This is really what we’re talking about, anyway.

And yet, it’s helpful. That guy there isn’t dead yet, and doesn’t look like he’s dancing around the grave. That’s important to remember, or it is for me. I’ve got friends who are now happily retired, and some looking forward to that. And some who struggle, who face eviction because they’re over 60 and no one wants to give them a job and you try affording an apartment in Seattle on Social Security.

Here we are, then. Heading into Lent, not knowing what I’m going to do but feeling as though I really should do something. I started small. We shall see.

And I can always grow it back. Look, it’s easy.


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