by Dale Burgos
Me – circa 1986
My bathroom mirror is full of lies. Let me explain.
My hot shower has fogged up the mirror. I wipe off the condensation and continue with my daily ritual. Shave my head and face. All looks fine at a distance. It is when I get up close that all hell breaks loose.
Why is my hairline retreating as if scared by my furry eyebrows? How is there more hair in my ears and nose than on my head? What are those horizontal lines forming on my forehead and around my eyes? I choose to ignore this on the daily, but some days, I stare at the mirror in shock. In my mind, I am still that young kid with the spikey hair who swore he’d never wear khakis and sweater vests.
Not long ago (Grade 7 to be exact), I would be shaking a bottle of Salon Selectives mousse and applying it liberally to my thick black hair. I would next take out the small bottle of Oxy 10 acne cover up and applying it to my forehead. Next, I would trim the few hairs forming an almost-full moustache on my upper lip. “Damn I look good!” I would say to myself, as I would put on my new outfit from the Randy River clothing store. That was almost 33 years ago, yet I remember it vividly.
Now, almost 45, I am happily married, have five kids, a house, a dog and a full time job. I’m full-on adulting! Why can’t I be that pimply kid growing up in the Maples again? If only I had a time machine.
Let’s say for the sake of this article I could travel back to 1987. This is what I would do.
First things first, no need to watch my diet. I would eat as many Fat Boy burgers my stomach could hold. Salad, that’s just boring filler; give me the good stuff, with a side of fries and mayo for dipping sauce. That is just for lunch. For mid-afternoon snack I would hit up the Koya Japan in the Garden City food court. Large teriyaki beef extra sauce please! And because I’m a teenager and I am hungry every two hours, I would stop in at Bonanza and have a T-bone steak and unlimited fried shrimp.
It not just about food, I would try and get in a lot of face time (I’m talking original face time where we talk to people in person, not the Apple inspired video calling app) with my family and friends. I would ask my parents to go on a lengthy road trip to a place we’ve never been. I would ask my dad to take up golfing right away instead of waiting until I was in my twenties. I would tell my friends about a future where we wouldn’t see each other anymore and ask that we spend an extra hour playing Nintendo every night before going home.
I would also have saved the toys that would one day be hot collectibles. I would then sell them and invest in small Internet companies called Google and Amazon.
Shoulda woulda coulda…
Instead, here I am horrified that I am kalbo and looking at spending my paycheques on mortgage and car payments, taxes, bills, school fees – you get the idea. Sadly, time travel does not exist, so there is no sense reliving the past. So let us talk future, shall we?
Can’t do anything about the hairline, no sense dwelling on something I have no control over. What can I control? A lot, actually.
I used to suffer from what I call, “old man stick-in-the-butt syndrome.” My motto was to work hard now and play later. I would not settle in a job for very long, as there were many more opportunities for advancement out there. It seemed that I was switching jobs every two years or so. I was also very cheap. I did not like to spend money on frivolous items.
Then some big things happened in my life. I had kids and lost my dad the year I turned 30. Having kids sucked every penny I had in savings and losing my dad made me pause and think about what is most important – memories, and making lots of them.
Extended road trips to places we have never been? Sure! Taking a day off to hang with the fam? Heck yeah! Kids want the newest pair of Air Jordans? Ask your mom!
Long story short, those lines on my face not disappearing after I smile, the never-ending ear hair, or the fact that I cannot drink cola anymore - that stuff is minor and it comes with getting older. The quicker I can get over that stuff, the sooner I can start enjoying the next part of my life. Now if you excuse me, I have to change into my khakis and sweater vest.
Dale manages the communications department for a school district in B.C.