20121128-085216.jpgYOUNG LIEF

Many years ago when I was a young college student I attended a party at which an intriguing game was played. The game went like this: one person was selected at random to wear a mask chosen by the other people in the room. The chosen person didn’t get to see the mask before donning it. Some of the masks were female, some male, some old, some young. Various professions as well as mythical characters were also represented. Wearing the mask, the chosen person was then instructed to interact with the group in a variety of situations, e.g. asking for a date, interviewing for a job, teaching a class, etc. The object of the game was to see how close the chosen person could come to guessing the identity of the mask he was wearing based solely on how other people responded to his assumed persona.

When my turn came to wear a mask I noticed that people treated “me” cordially but indifferently. Girls acted offended when I showed interest in them. Employers seemed to question my ability to adapt to a new job. I was frankly stumped by who “I” might be. When I got to see my mask it was the face of a balding, sixty-ish man.

These day I am a bald, sixty-two-year-old man. Whenever I happen to be wearing my glasses and looking at myself in the mirror (which is not something I do often), my reaction is a snap of the head and a startled “WHOA! Who is that old guy?” As I go through life day-to-day I still think of myself as Young Lief. After all, I don’t feel any different than Young Lief did. I’m still reasonably fit and flexible. I have no health problems. This disconnect from reality sets up the odd situation where the world addresses itself to Old Lief while, blissfully ignorant behind the mask, I continue to see the world through Young Lief’s eyes. We could be looking at a problem here.

Mary assures me that as long as “Young Lief” doesn’t try to pick up any college chicks he is relatively safe.


p.s. Forget the bald head, whatever happened to my eyebrows? The next time I trim my beard I think I’ll gather some of the whiskers from the sink and glue them above my eyes. Whattaya think?