I sat staring at myself in the bathroom mirror today. More specifically, I was looking at all the grey hairs that have been springing up all over my head with as much gusto as you'd find emanating out of a High School Cheerleader. "Yep....they're multiplying." I thought.
Soon enough, my George Clooney-esque salt and pepper look would make way for a full Ted Danson-like coif. Don't get me wrong...the look works for him. He is a powerful and attractive man and I have much respect for his follicles.
You see, I was beginning to feel my age. At that particular moment, my mind chose that opportunity to wander away from work, responsibility and reality. At that particular moment; standing amongst the soft whooshing noises echoing from the Urinals; I drifted. My thoughts turned towards that gnawing question that never really goes answered: Have I done enough?
At the end of the day, when I'm ready to shuffle off this mortal coil, have I done enough?
I know...I know. You're saying 'Buddy, you're in the can. Not the best spot to have a crisis moment.' But I wholeheartedly disagree. The bathroom offers solace.
As my eyes wandered over the outline of my face, I took notice of the wrinkles that had slowly begun forming around the corners of my mouth, my eyes, my forehead. I saw my skin; sickly sallow (could've been the halogen lights above me) and I sighed.
'You're getting old.' my reflection said.
'So are you.' I snidely retorted.
'So what do you have to show for it old man?'
'I brought my bang-o-rang. Every chance I got.'
Now, for those of you that had a childhood and an imagination, the term Bang-o-Rang might hold some meaning for you. It does for me. Essentially, it's what the Lost Boys screamed out when they had amazing adventures with Peter Pan. Whether it be fighting the evil Captain Hook, or rescuing Tiger Lily from the Braves....Bang-o-Rang. Childish....but I love it. Bang-o-rang. Say it. Respect it.
As the seconds ticked by and my reflection decided to hang around until I provided him with sufficient explanation to validate my ridiculous claim, I started my response with an apology.
"I'm sorry I'm fat. Sorry I've always been and always will be a fat guy. Even if I lose the gut, I will still be jumbo size; the kind of guy that needs 'circus-tent' large when he shops for shirts. I'm sorry that my idea of working on getting a six pack involves me getting in my car and driving to the beer store rather than doing sit ups and crunches.
My weight has prevented you/me/us from doing many of the adventurous things that western society tells us we must do like climb mountains, run a marathon and go cliff diving. Magazines, TV, the Internet all push us to believe that unless we are active and dashing and rugged 24 hours a day, then we have failed....miserably. But I refuse to believe that I must accomplish these things to be happy. To do what I love. To be Bang-o-rang.
You see, these people they want you to be aren't real. The man standing in front of the mirror is. With all his faults and flaws and inconsistencies....he is R-E-A-L. He takes the last cold drink out of the fridge and doesn't replace it. He clogs the toilet from time to time. He makes his wife and kids sad when he loses his temper. But he is R-E-A-L.
And here you stand across from me.....asking me what I have to show for my years on this planet? I have grey hair. Each one represents an accomplishment in my inconsequential life. These hairs represent the countless hours I've spent helping businesses stay afloat. These hairs represent the people that I have influenced, angered, educated and loved. These hairs represent thousands of miles traveled; from the steps of the Taj Mahal to the shores of Malibu. These hairs represent the stolen moments between my wife and I when the kids are sleeping and the exhausting yet rewarding backaches, skinned knees and snotty noses that come with raising two wonderful children. They represent lust and hate and regret and redemption.
They represent me.
So what have I got to show for it? Bang-o-Rang. That's what.
So for those of you that have those quiet in-front-of-the-mirror moments where you find yourself critiquing the ever-aging landscape of your face and asking yourself "What have I got to show for it?" Run your fingers through your hair and smile at all those greys. They are what make you. Find your Bang-o-Rang.