Saturday, January 26, 2008

Looking for the Philosopher's Stone

Last week I wrote about my love of Neil Young and his folk/rock music and within a few days I was called-out as an "old man" on the Baytown Sun Forum, albeit in reference to my article, which they read, but it kinda shocked me too. Like Steve Zissou said "It may be true, but it still hurts. It hurts bad". I'm 55 and yes, I realize I am old. Is it that obvious?

Within this same week I received a letter from Granny Adcock, our Highlands jewel and she always assures me I am a "young-un" along with many other words of support, so I guess it all balances out. Thanks, Granny; you are truly a blessing to us, almost one foot on a banana skin geezer columnists (read - Jim Finley and I).

My son tells me his longtime buddy Bryan "Peanut" White reads all my articles and this brings me mild surprise and also assurance that maybe I haven't lost my youthful touchstone/karma. Peanut, wherever you are – thank you for humoring an old feller in his last golden days. I promised Nick I would give you 2 thumbs up from now on.

One of the many outspoken process operators at my Chemical Plant, who is a "Devil dog Marine in reserve" (someone who at one time served with honor in the USMC), now in his late fifties and still strutting his stuff was put down decisively the other day as a "washed-up old man", by one of the younger operators. I guess his Marine mojo has faded and he doesn't even know it… Poor fellow. Semper Fi anyway, my hat's off to him.

My beautiful and talented daughter Melody is attempting to turn me into a cultured and coiffed man (read – probable impossible task) and has provided me with a couple of liters of hair-growth shampoo and conditioner. I supposedly have a smallish area on the back of my head that is slightly thinning (read – barren as a cueball and the size of a grapefruit) and this topical panacea will remove my social stigma and restore this fallow field to it's former state of rich and full lustrous growth (according to the label on the bottle it will grow hair on an onion, or something – it was smudged). I want Billy Mays hair!

I see myself as a lump of coal, not a diamond, so if it happens…well, fine, but if not, then okeedokee – no damage done. I wouldn't want all those folks at the Baytown Sun to get me confused with someone polished and dignified, like Garry Brumback and Don Coffey or heckfire, even that handsome Peter Fonda look alike T-Bone Schaffer.

As I've said before, I'm more of a fashion terrorist with my shorts, hairy legs and sandals than a model for the cover of GQ magazine and I have to admit, often an embarrassment to my bride. What I need is the Philosopher's Stone, that alchemist's dream medium that can turn me into something totally opposite of what I am wont to be. Then I could be someone special. I could be a trendsetter! Yes!

With my new bushy hair and feet shod in shiny new Crocs, I could saunter down to Starbucks with the best of them. Folks would comment that it looked like I was a millionaire, or something. Of course, I'd have to get one of those Apple iPod telephone thingamagiggies, so I could whip it out while waiting for my double espresso-choco-latte with extra sprinkles and stuff…

I would get a tattoo of Chinese letters (never mind what it actually says, as until Baytown fills up with genuine Chinese-reading people, it's just cool looking and cryptic) and I would get it in a mysterious place, so I could tell folks who ask... and they would.

Maybe I'll take a drive over to Florida to see if I can find something Ol' Ponce de Leon might have missed. I read on the Internet that the actual "Fountain of Youth" is really there, just a well-kept secret. Based on the Geico commercial with Joan Rivers, I think there might be some truth to it too.

Of course I will just have to take a lot of vitamins and work out vigorously. Sheesh, that goes without saying, but since this is so obviously the answer and heretofore has evaded me, I just had to mention it. I think about an hour a day on the "stairmaster " will do the trick – wait a minute! I walked up real stairs for about 5 minutes and almost dropped my uppers! Who am I kidding?

I told my bride that folks simply expect me to be me and they are never disappointed, so until the day I wake up and all my lead has turned into gold…I'll just continue on being me.

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