October 26th, 2021


Secrets of Life

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published March 20, 2015

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
--- Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

There are so many things that we mere mortals will never know. Those big questions of life to which there are no answers, at least not in this world: How did the universe begin? Why are we here? Is time travel possible? What is death? What is the point of living? Which e-mail documents did Hillary Clinton delete? These are the ultimate riddles, the conundrums of mankind, the mysteries of the universe that we may never, never have answers for.

The secrets of life and death have been perplexing the human mind since the dawn of man, not to mention the dawn of woman when things really got enigmatic. Yep, life was complicated enough, and then along came the girls who gave men a mystery that they've been trying to unravel ever since. Lots of luck with that one, boys.

But not all secrets of life stay a mystery. There are some secrets that reveal themselves to us as we grow older. I'm just discovering, for example, a little known secret about thinning hair. Guess what? Hair doesn't fall out in an evenly distributed way.

What I mean is, I always had the impression that as a man got older, hair loss was gradual and sort of symmetrical. You know, the hairline receding evenly on both sides of the head. Or maybe a thin bald spot might appear in the back of the head, but it would be centered. Surprise! It's not true. The hair on your head doesn't fall out evenly, it falls out stupidly.

Honest to G0D, I don't mind losing my hair. I just don't want to lose it in a goofy-looking way. I have no problem with a gradual, evenly receding hairline. It gives an older man kind of a dapper, sophisticated appearance. But my dumb hair isn't doing that. It's getting thinner on one side than it is on the other. I'm losing my hair LOPSIDED. Even in the back of my head one side is thinner than the other.

Here's another dopey thing my hair has been doing; it sticks up now. In my entire life I've never had a problem with cowlicks or hair sticking up until the last couple of years since my hair has been thinning. There's a spot in the back that I can't get to flatten down no matter what I put on it. You name the product, hair tonic, hair cream, hair gel, spray, even water, nothing keeps it down. What is it with this thing?

Don't tell me to try a new cut. I don't want to change the way I cut my hair. I don't want one of those super short cuts where you comb your hair down in front like Julius Caesar. I want to keep my hair the way it is, combed straight back. I don't care if there is less of it, just as long as the hair stays down.

Another little known secret of life is the fact that losing weight will not change your natural body shape. I know. I've been dieting all my life, lost weight, gained weight, lost weight, gained weight, and my body shape never changed. The SIZE of the body changed, there wasn't as much of me, but the shape--the form--was still intact. Oh yeah, the ol' spare tire was deflated but it didn't go away completely. It was just a smaller tire size.

Think of it this way: let's say you had a pineapple and wrapped it up with bubble wrap to mail to someone. When the package arrives the person you mailed it to starts to unwind the bubble wrap. What do they find once they unwrap it? Do they find a banana? No, they find a pineapple. The fat on your body is like the bubble wrap on the pineapple. You can lose the fat but underneath you're still a pineapple. (How's that for a nifty analogy?)

Another secret I learned as I got older is some parts of you never stop growing. Like for instance your feet and your ears. Your ears just keep getting bigger and longer and thicker the older you get. Not a very pretty picture, but that's the way it is, sorry.

And your feet (which weren't the most attractive part of your anatomy to begin with) grow uglier and gnarlier and more repulsive with each passing year. Unlike the rest of your body that never changes shape (see the previous paragraph) your feet go through constant metamorphosis for your entire life until finally at the end they start to look like those woodsy horseradish branches you see in the supermarket produce section.

There are so many other secrets of life, but if I told you any more I would ruin all the surprises for you.

My advice? Wait around and find out for yourself.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's also a Southern California-based freelance writer.