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Reflections April 2012

It's Blond, Not White

By Jim Cotsana

They comment that she is in very good shape but notice all the "white" on her paws and muzzle. I tell people "it's not white but blond like the color of my mustache and the limited hair around the sides and back of my head."

Most mornings during the year when the weather is nice, I take my 11-year-old black lab, Maggie, for a walk and swim along the trails by a very nice local river. She really looks forward to this as much as I do. We park in the lot next to a bridge, I let her out and she runs and bounces around as she heads to the boat ramp for a quick dip.

It is a very popular spot and we frequently meet others walking their dogs and the vast majority are very friendly like Maggie. She is still very active -- people can't believe she's 11. They comment that she is in very good shape but notice all the "white" on her paws and muzzle. I tell people "it's not white but blond like the color of my mustache and the limited hair around the sides and back of my head." Most of the people I meet that are around my age get a good chuckle out of my comment and they start calling their white hair blond as well.

Why can't I say it's blond? A number of years ago when I had a full head of brown hair, I was in Helsinki, Finland on business. While eating in the hotel restaurant, there was wedding reception taking place. The bride and groom, along with the vast majority of the guest had platinum blond hair which actually looked white. At the time, my full head of brown hair really stood out but the very limited hair I have now is the same color of the platinum blonds. Hence, why can't I call it blond?

But I guess this color has a different perception for a 63 year old which was evident while grocery shopping at the local super market. As I was in the process of paying for my purchases, the gentleman putting them in my cart pulled out some coupons for an amusement park. He asked, "Would you like to buy some discount coupons for your grandkids?"

I said, "No thank you" and proceeded to my car. Not only do I not have grandchildren, I have no children. What made him think I was a grandfather? When I got in my car, I looked intently in my rearview mirror and scrutinized my appearance. I guess I do look like I could be someone's grandfather with the baldness on the top of my head and the wrinkles on my forehead, although I certainly don't feel it.

Now I want to be clear. I have absolutely nothing against grandfathers since I suspect the majority of them take great pride in their grandchildren and enjoy being called "grandpa." They probably would have jumped at the chance to purchase discount tickets for an amusement park to further spoil and spend time with the children. To be honest, if I had had grandchildren I suppose I would be in this category. But not being a grandfather (or father), I was briefly stunned.

I guess saying my hair is blond and not white only goes so far. But at least my lady friends with their dogs at the river have a good laugh when we refer to our white hair as blond. It's all in the eyes of the beholder.

 

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