"What's your story? When did you get to the US?"
At the end of a day of listening to presentations by budding and mature scholars, we were at dinner. At my table, I was one of the three---at that table of six--who has made a home in America. Of course, I was only one who looked like I might have come from somewhere else--the other two are Scotland and Israel.
"Interesting you should ask me that," I said. "I often review my life and look at the photographs. What shocks me the most is how young I look in those photos when I was fresh off the boat."
And then I laid out my worst problem in life. "I had lots of hair back then. And black."
I am now a bald professor with a grey beard. I have now become the cliché. I suppose I can make a complete caricature of myself if I wore a tweed jacket with elbow-patches and smoked a pipe as well ;)
Of course, it is all because of the male pattern baldness. It is not my fault; shit happens!
Here is W.B. Yeats beginning a poem with "bald heads" as if I need any reminder!
By W.B. Yeats
BALD heads forgetful of their sins,
Old, learned, respectable bald heads
Edit and annotate the lines
That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love’s despair
To flatter beauty’s ignorant ear.
They’ll cough in the ink to the world’s end;
Wear out the carpet with their shoes
Earning respect; have no strange friend;
If they have sinned nobody knows.
Lord, what would they say
Did their Catullus walk that way?
In a few minutes, this bald head will find out what the young women and men bring to the class. And later I will edit their lines. Maybe a bald head is an asset that makes me seem more learned than I really am. ;)