I sometimes think I was born with wrinkles. I’ve had them around my eyes and on my forehead since I was at least a teenager.
I used to work for my father who had his own business building houses. Working for Dad had a bonus attached with it; a lot of outside work in the sun, all year long. I adored the sun, still do as a matter of fact. I think this adoration, combined with smoking, laughing a lot, and squinting laid the foundation for my facial lines and creases.
About the squinting. I read a book about Clint Eastwood when I was roughly fifteen or sixteen years old.. The book revealed that when Clint was working on his first “Spaghetti Western,” A Fistful Of Dollars, he would set in the sun and squint into it between takes to give him that “laconic” look.
I read this and had an instant epiphany. Laconic equalled older looking! Plus it gave my face “character.” With my new found knowledge in place, I spent every spare moment of my break-times squinting into the sun.
It obviously worked. At the sprightly age of seventeen I could buy booze with out being “carded.” The drinking age was twenty-one in Arkansas back then. Similarly, I could also watch ‘R’ rated films with no one asking me for proof that I was at least eighteen years old.. This fact annoyed the hell out of some of my older friends, most of whom constantly got asked for proof of age at the cinema door.
Not everyone liked my “character” filled face. I remember wondering what was wrong with my Senior Yearbook picture. It just didn’t look right. I discovered, upon closer inspection, that the school photographer had air-brushed out my facial lines and creases.
Now that I’m older and my face is literally filled to the brim with character, I sort of wish I’d not emulated Clint’s sun worshipping habits in my youth. I was in such a hurry to look older. In my rush I never realised that I would get there soon enough, naturally, just by getting older. I also forgot that wrinkles get deeper and more defined as you get older. They don’t fade or get less wrinkly unless you get surgery.
Still I do have to admit that I like my wrinkles. They show that I like to laugh and that I’ve lived my life instead of just watched it go by. Even though they are a sign of age – something that is universally despised and avoided at all costs in this day and age of face creams and potions for men – I still think they give my face “character.”