A reader this morning remarked, speaking, I take it, to the rest of us, “You all seem as if you’re 70 years old.” As if being 70 were a bad thing. “Sometimes a haircut is just a haircut”–referring to someone going around with half his or her head shaved–“and it means nothing except style.”
As far as I can see, those who adopt this style are imitating certain Grade B celebrities that I never heard of. To go to this much trouble is to be making some kind of statement. It may be as simple a statement as “I am an idiot,” or it may be something as profound as “I are a Intyerllectural and i re-ject yore stopid borzoueis socile confentions!”
It used to be that being 70 years old entitled you to a modicum of respect, owing to the experience one accumulates over the course of seven decades.
Speaking only for myself, I do try very hard not to move with the times, because the times are evil and increasingly insane. If it seems to me that a lot of people are going out of their way to look ugly, it’s because a lot of people are going out of their way to look ugly.
Yes, I know–my father, in the 1960s, worried about young people turning into “the bell-bottom type,” although he himself wore bell-bottoms for a couple of years: in the Navy. When he volunteered to serve his country, at risk of life and limb. But I was 18 and I could only laugh at him. What a fool I was!
Now I’m the one who’s pushing 70, and I can look back over the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 17 years of a new century–and see how far we’ve slid down the pipe.
I am proud of my grey hairs. I think I’ve earned them. And I’ve earned the right, by looking back on my own damned foolishness, to say that a society that thinks the shorter a time you’ve lived, the wiser you must be, is headed for a real hard time.