A dear friend and writer of speculative fiction, Terry Hill, shared with us on Facebook the other day this conversation after his celebration of his recent birthday.
This evening as my family was giving their gifts to me, I was reminded about a conversation I had with my daughter a few weeks ago.
My daughter, not so subtly probing for ideas for my birthday gifts.
“Hey Dad, if you were to get something, say for a present or something, what would you like?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I have everything I need and most of what I want,” I replied.
“Well, okay. What about a different flavor of coffee?”
“That sounds nice.”
“Or maybe some more hair?”
After picking my jaw up off the floor and then awkwardly rubbing my own clean-shaven head, I realized my friend needed a public service announcement that I hadn’t thought about in a long time but knew it was time for the OTHER TALK…
You know its time for the Other Talk when you get up in the morning with the same vigor a vampire rises from the torpor of his undead state, hungry for life, but so tired from being dead most of the day.
You know that awkward conversation about how you are getting older and will not be looking the same as you might have a decade or so ago, since your child was born. There will be some noticeable changes in your appearance, your habits and ultimately your lifestyle as you age.
Make sure you include in this conversation:
The incredible ever-increasing waistline. How the slow and steady-widening of your waistline will inevitably allow you to play Santa instead of hiring one at Christmas in just a few years. Something for your younger kids to look forward to.
You’ll want to explain how a lack of hair is a sign of virility not weakness. It is an increase in your testosterone levels which kills the roots of your hair follicles. The faster you go bald, the faster they may end up with another sibling. Just repeat the mantra and you will be fine.
When you can see the baldness, when it is a pronounced aspect of your daily hair inspection with increasing efforts to comb over, style over, gel over the offending region, it’s time to call it a day.
Remember your mane fondly, pore over your library of Polaroids regaling yourself of the amazing adventures you and your hair had together. Like Sampson, your belief in your hair made you better, stronger, more virile. Acknowledge its passing. Have a drink in its honor. Hold a wake if you must.
But maintain your dignity. Just let it go. Say the mantra every day until you believe it: “Bald is sexy. Bald-ing is not.”
Don’t forget to cover your increased need for oxygen after any exertion. They need to understand early that one day they will have to eventually BUY oxygen for you to live, so you need to keep them aware of this early. Huff and puff at the top of every flight of stairs or whenever you carry laundry baskets or groceries. Suggest to your kids that in light of your impending infirmary they should always be ready to relieve you of anything heavier than a sandwich.
Please don’t forget to mention the change in your personal scent. Smokers, you can probably ignore this, since no one in your house will have an appreciable sense of smell to speak of.
But for the rest of you, your kids need to start recognizing you with the scent of your various medications, ointments, unguents, salves, creams and rubs which will ease your various and likely ever-increasing number of difficulties like: dry skin, varicose veins, medically-induced rashes, likely the side effect of your male enhancement medication you started taking last week to combat the stress of your third new job this year or any of the oily flatulence you hear about only if you read that tiny scroll that came with the medication with only 4 point type labeled: possible side effects include…
Not that you can read that because your vision has also gone bad as well. You just don’t talk about it. Everyone has always had that slight fuzzy halo, right?
Please have this talk with your kids. It’s almost as important as that OTHER talk you need to have with your kids starting at about eight.
Anyway, it’s important for them to know that you are aging, have needs and will continue to plague them for decades to come. Remind them of your impending return to infancy and the special uncomfortable needs in your coming future. See: the Depend line of product offerings for further information.
This was a public service announcement. Print it out. You know you can’t remember a damn thing anymore.
The ‘Other’ Talk with Your Kids © Thaddeus Howze 2016. All Rights Reserved
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. You can follow him on Twitter or support his writings on Patreon.