What’s in a Year?

I often lament Facebook’s On This Day feature. Future generations will know no such burden, having outlawed Facebook after the torture of gazing upon every unfortunate event and terrible decision they ever made on a daily basis finally overwhelms the entire human race to exhaustion.

There are beautiful things on there too, and here I go again with the lamentations of hiding such things inside a swollen cow’s anus just to be forced to plunge in shoulder deep to retrieve them.

Hopefully I’ve learned something from this, but we all know that hope is a mistake.

Today while I pushed down the malaise of retail life by gazing deeply into my not-yet-exploded Samsung, I was caught off guard by a juxtaposition of two selfies taken on this day, exactly one year apart.

Exhibit A, Young Bob, September 19, 2010

There he is, Liz Taylor blurry, looking grizzled and dreamy. There’s a tuft of wispy hair up top, which I carefully managed with precise, nerve-wracking haircuts performed by the fine follicular surgeons at SportClips. These were always accompanied by a massage, which I recommend, and a generous tip, which was to compensate for forcing some poor wage slave to touch my shoulders when they’d probably rather be eating safety glass.

Oh, and the sideburns. Can’t leave that out. I’d been rocking those since high school. They once provoked my district manager at Sam’s Club to ask me, point blank, “What is the deal with those sideburns?” I laughed and told her we weren’t far from Memphis, and Elvis was still King.

I’m always struck by my photographs as the years flip by me daily, back and forth, 2008, 2014, 2011, 2009. Something happened in there, somewhere. There’s a point where I go from looking like balding Bill the Vampire to Old Bob, and I never could quite put my finger on it until today, when this popped up:

Exhibit B, Old Bob, September 19, 2011

The first thing I thought was, “Dad died,” and that has plenty to do with it. I’d started shaving my head and quickly got lazy about it. I still sport old man fuzz half the time because the thought of getting all itchy is excuse enough to stay my buzzin’ hand.

Yeah, I can still pull off Young Picard when I take a razor to everything except my eyebrows, but this is when it happened. This is when I went from being a Young Man to being a Man. Don’t get me wrong, I am in my goddamned prime, and this isn’t supposed to be accompanied by sad violin music.

Still, I notice these things, and like those before and after slideshows of Obama or Dubya, something happened in there, whether it was overwhelming stress, Lovecraftian horror, or plain old boring mortality.
Shit has occurred. I got divorced, Dad died, I got married, and yeah, two-thirds of that was my fault, but it doesn’t change the fact that Bob was going to carry that weight a long time.

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