The Long Tale of Silver Hair

09/08/2012 By Shawn Burns

I was up late last night, surmounting the midnight peak. I strolled Facebook, and noticed a friend’s birthday was suddenly upon her. (Emily and I are going out with her, her husband, and another couple tonight in celebration of this birthday. A triple date without kids! Such a thing! Such a thing.) I wished her a happy birthday on her FaceWall:

“Happy happy birthday

From all of us to you.

We wish it were our birthday

So we could party too. Hey!”

I always write that when I wish someone a happy birthday. It’s what the wait staff at TGI Friday’s, all flared-up and in suspenders, would yell at their customers as they brought a sad dessert over. I think they would say “We wish it was our birthday” though. But grammar is one’s friend. “Was” is about the past. “Were” is for hypotheticals.

I woke up sore, so sore, from a workout the day before that had near unmanned me. I stumbled around preparing breakfast and limped around as I dressed. After making myself presentable, I had an unusual desire to splash on some aftershave. I hadn’t shaved, I just wanted to smell different. I also didn’t want to use my every shave aftershave. I thought I would try something new, something from the Drawer O’ Smell, full of aftershaves and colognes that have been sent to me for birthdays and Christmases and Father’s Days over the years. I grabbed one small, green, bottle, that said “Aspen” on it. I unscrewed the top, then poured some out on my hand. I splashed the Aspen over my cheeks and neck, and then I finished reading the bottle. “Cologne”, it said, in letters I should not have been able to miss.

I’m not a cologne guy; no expert at things like this. But I’m confident that one of the differences between aftershave and cologne is that one is not supposed to splash cologne all over one’s body. One dabs cologne.

I tried to rinse Aspen away, but nothing short of an hour-long shower will remove this clinging scent now. Adrian, across the room and playing with his trucks on the floor, looked up at me and asked, “Hey! What smells like silver hair?”

Silver hair. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A man puts on a cologne called “Aspen” and immediately smells so much like an old man that his three-year old son picks up on it. Punchline.

I wandered back down Facebook’s streets, and saw a note Emily had posted on the same Happy Birthday message I’d left our friend the night before: “We can still party, dumbass.” We can, and will, indeed. Triple date! Without the kids! Such a thing.

When Emily joined me on the couch where I sat, reflecting on how deep for her my love goes, I protested, playfully, “I’m not a dumbass! I’m so very, very smart!”

“Whatever,” she retorted, sniffing, “Silver Hair.”

My love for her is deep.