Reflections in the recession of my hairline, and stuff…

Grey hair fell into my lap today. There seemed to be as many of them, as there were brown ones. Talking with my ‘stylist’ about my ridiculously receded hairline and what she recommended to do with it, (other than to wear a hat), I felt comfortable, engaged. She’s a hair expert, I was asking hair questions. Simple enough, right?

Much later in the evening, I was holding a pool stick, and then broke the rack hard. Thud’clapping into the pockets they went. I haven’t played pool in years. Literally, years. But the little tricks and touches and cuts and banks came back. Just like riding a bicycle. Won three, lost one.

Earlier this week, I came across a television series on YouTube. It was released in 2002 on PBS and I remembered it vividly. Frontier House is an incredible 6 part ‘reality show’, in which the three families spend 4 and half months living in the past, 1883 to be exact. They lived like homesteaders staking their claim. Arriving in late spring to the Montana valley,  they built homes, grew their own food and prepared for winter. Amazing show. They did it as close to historically accurate as possible. I watched it originally when I was age 23, and loved it.

This week, in these moments I could literally feel and see and enact, the passage of time. In seeing those grey hairs, they were unmistakable. Too many to count, too many to dismiss. At 34, I may look older than I am, or would like to. Returning to a game that I played so many drunken nights. The quarters dropping into the side-by-side slots. Choosing a straight stick. I knew this game long ago. I felt the expanse of time shrink with each ball that dropped. These people playing ‘Little House on the Prairie’, but not. Playing it for real. Really starving, really working, really fighting for survival. I remember the 23 year-old-me-version of my thoughts of that show. I ached to be like them. I yearned to get outside and head west. To be a pioneer and struggle to survive, but be proud of the accomplishment of survival itself, against nature and odds…

Each of these things had a ‘ring’ a true-ness and golden-ness about my awareness of them. They had a resonance and tone of the cognition that I had been there before, or that I know where I am at, right now. I could ‘land’ within the context of my life, by experiencing the playback. I ‘got it’…

Hmm… such a wonderful feeling to ‘get it’. That is why I didn’t blink or shrink when asking my stylist about my embarrassing looking hair. She get’s it. She sees lots of hair. It’s okay to ask all the questions I want. And to demand that she be straight with me. If it needs buzzed… buzz it.

I loved to aim down the stick, and just feel the alignment and geometry was right. I knew it. I didn’t have to wonder. I could foresee the shot going in. I got it. Not every shot. But enough. That confidence was locked in. When I missed, it was rust, when I hit, it was that old honed skill re-awakened.

When I decided to re-watch all six episodes of Frontier House, on YouTube, I could feel that younger me, show back up. Each thought from the past was tangible. I knew that less mature, less experienced, more anxious and simpler mind still echoed as the show played on. I remember wishing I could do what they did. But I would have wanted to party. I would have wanted to have nights off from 1883. I wanted the pioneering part, but I still wanted to play like I was in college and out at the bars and running around. I didn’t want to just live in a cabin in the woods by myself. I wanted more action than that…

Now, I don’t mind all that grey hair, too much. My gal gave me a good cut. I don’t mind picking up the pool stick, to pass the last 30 minutes of the night, while a table of customers finishes their drinks. And I don’t mind, not living inside a PBS series based on the untamed frontier.

Truth is, in the last 10 years or so, I have done some pioneering. I am lucky enough to have traveled west, and have seen some things. I would love to see much more. I know now, that I am not the person today, that I always have been. I have transformed and grown, and stepped forward on this path. Maybe just as naturally as everyone does. Maybe just as violently beautiful and hideously graceful as everyone does. How should I know? I can only really speak for me.

I know that I watched another interview today, with Jack White and Conan O’Brien. It is a very raw and honest talk between two obvious friends. Two pioneers. Men who have created something in their respective worlds. They talk about how ‘it’ happens for them. They banter and acknowledge, real hard work, artistry, honesty, integrity and getting dirty.

To me, they ‘get it’. I think to the world at-large, it seems their results prove, that they ‘get it’. Something they are about, is something that connects with fans and followers and other artists too. They talk about mentors and study and dedication. They aren’t talking about being ‘busy’ and ‘just getting by’ and ‘living the dream’, just as a sarcastic reply. They don’t say, ‘same thing, different day.’ Nope.

I love to watch or read or hear about someone out there, who I think ‘get’s it’. In my opinion, these folks are few and far between. I really love the awareness that what someone else values, I value also. I want to know that I’m not alone in my thinking. My real thinking.

That must be what this place is about. A place to share some real thinking. The desperate hope is that someone, sometime, will read weirdforgood, and think ‘This guy get’s it. I connect with what he’s saying here. I understand where he’s coming from.’

The world can be a lonely place. It can feel competitive or repetitive or tense, in the pressure to keep up some certain unspoken version of ‘normal-ness’ that can appease a quick conversation about ‘how are you doing?’…

I want to sometimes know a different question, and I want to sometimes give a different answer, about ‘how are you really doing? In the way that I really care, and can really show up in a way that fosters possibility and fertilizes artistic creation. A collaboration of problem-solving, more than problem-sulking.

I need these moments to get the reality, that I am allowed to really enjoy life, right now, under these exact circumstances. Not in the future, when everything will be better, but right now. Exactly as it all is. Because I am like all other artists. I live with a gut-full of fire of anger and of contempt, it burns against what it is, and ignites creativity to make something new always. I will drive forward, ever forward, but sometimes it’s good to feel the calming waters of ‘now, everything is okay.’

Eight ball, corner pocket. Kerplunk.


Aaron Nichols

2 thoughts on “Reflections in the recession of my hairline, and stuff…

  1. Aaron–What a treat and a good way to “unwind”. I just arrived back home after
    spending 5 hours at the hospital with a neighbor getting her 90 something yr. old
    husband checked into ICU.
    You are getting closer to writing that book, so spit it out!! You have got style!!
    Thanks!! I look forward to the next chapter!!

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