Stay on My Bald Head

A difficult picture for me in multiple ways.

A difficult picture for me in multiple ways.

I’m folliclely challenged. It doesn’t hurt to say it. Too much.It’s not like being follicely challenged came as a surprise when I hit my 40’s.

Oh no. I didn’t spend the years prior with a thick and full head of hair. I had few options upon my trips to the barber. Shampoo costs were minimal.

Sigh.

When I was a senior in college, my roommates played a prank on me. One night I pulled down the sheets of my bed and saw multiple advertisements for Rogaine stuffed into a paper bag.

Ahh, college.

Anyway, those pricks played this prank for a reason. My hairline was already heading south. Yup, there was no hair swaying when my head bopped to the music.

For further confirmation of where my hair line was headed, I could look at my older brother. My second oldest brother and I bare a resemblance. I can look at him and see where my hair is headed. I love him anyway.

My parents felt bad about this. My mother would lament, “My father died with a full head of hair. I always learned that if your maternal grandfather had hair that his grandsons would have his hair.”

As you can imagine, that did not make me feel better. At all. My parents actually sprung for Rogaine for me. I delicately massaged into my hair every night. I prayed I would be like Karl Malone.

For six months, I put the Rogaine in regularly. Waiting, hoping. At the end of six months with little progress, my excitement waned. I applied the Rogaine on a less regular basis till I eventually just stop. Alas, there was little progress.

As my 20’s progressed, I became interested and eventually an adherent to my religion – Judaism. There are many reasons why the religion appealed to me. The biggest one is belief in G-d and his role in the world.

Yes, I was content with my new found faith. You want to know the best benefit? The yarmulke. You see as part of the religion, men are supposed to keep their heads covered.

So, following my religion meant covering my bald spot. Isn’t life beautiful? There is a G-d, and he is good!

As the years have gone by, my bald spot has turned into a bald head. Yet, I have not upgraded the size of my yarmulke. However, G-d gave again. He really is good.

How so you may be wondering? Well, shaving one’s head became fashionable. I was halfway (okay, maybe 2/3) to a shaved head naturally. I simply had to sit in the barber’s chair and instruct him/her to shave off the sides.

That’s it. My disappointment over baldness would fall away like the remaining hairs that surround the barber’s chair. I would be hip and cool.

For the last year, I have been thinking – really thinking about it. I was going to shave my head. I decided when it got warm, I was going to go for it.

So, back in May, I strolled into the barber shop ready to go for it.

Except I couldn’t do it. I was reluctant to join the club. Not quite an early adopter here.

Instead, I got an extremely short hair cut. Baby steps, I suppose.

I actually like the look. However, I’d still prefer hair. Some things you never get over.

I digress.

A problem has arisen. My yarmulke keeps falling off my head. You see I normally clip the yarmulke to my hair. But now my hair is so short that the clips are not secure.

This is making for a dilemma. My yarmulke is flying off with any dramatic movement. Playing baseball – with my son? Forget about it. The yarmulke falls to the ground more often than a baby does when learning how to walk.

I just wish yarmulkes came with suction cups or velcro. Then, I could move about freely  without worry of my yarmulke flying off my head all frisbee like.

Ahh, what to do? I have neither answer nor clue. I think I need G-d to step in again and answer another prayer.

Why This Middle Aged Man Loves Summer Camp

 

BR & SJ headed off to camp. Yes, I gave them a ride.

BR & SJ headed off to camp.
Yes, I gave them a ride.

I love Summer Camp. I am in my early 40’s, and I love Summer Camp. It is a beautiful and wonderful thing.

Summer Camp is:

boys out of the house early.

boys staying out of the house for hours at a time.

boys coming home tired.

boys having no homework.

Yes, Summer Camp is awesome!

In fact, Summer Camp is my ticket to heaven on Earth. I get to hang out on a deserted island. Deserted of people that is. I am home alone (by the way, I recently watched those movies with my boys, and we loved them).

Movie Poster courtesy of Google.

Movie Poster courtesy of Google.

For the record, I do love my family and enjoy spending time with them. Well most of the time I love them, but that’s another story. Anyway, I am a subscriber to absence makes the heart grow fonder, distance is a good thing. There is truth in those sayings. You may be thinking what does Mrs. MMK think about this? She is not offended at all. She is the same way – loves to have some space.

Anyway, I never get the house to myself. In fact, if you added up all the time I was home alone from September till June, it would come out to 92 minutes and 23 seconds. Or something like that.

So, what do I do when I am home alone? Whatever I want! Well, I’m not too crazy these days, and I have a plethora of goals to accomplish this summer. Still, I find time to do what I want. Want to hear what I did during my alone time? Hold tight cause here I go:

1.       I went to the bathroom and left the door open. My wife hates when I do this.  Sometimes, I actually leave the door open when she is home figuring that she won’t be coming up the stairs anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I had to quickly shuffle over and shut the door so my wife does not see me committing this cardinal offense.

2.       I watched a full episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. Yeah, I know the show has been off the air for eight years already. But I like it and besides, I never saw this episode. It’s called Blabbermouths and the characters gossip about each other. It was entertaining and educational. I laughed loudly and held the remote and no one cared.

3.       I ate lunch – slowly and care free. I did not think about getting drinks for anyone (I am referring to the children – no alcohol intended). I was unconcerned about what I ate, when I ate, and where I ate. I may not have even have used a plate. I don’t recall. And it doesn’t matter. Luxurious.

Okay, so it’s not quite Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear in an empty house. But there is plenty of Summer Camp left. And I am feeling pretty crazy.

Movie photo courtesy of Google.

Movie photo courtesy of Google.

You must love being home alone too – right? What crazy things do you do when you are home alone?

Still in the Game

bballI’m fourteen years old. Tall and wide for my age, I’ve determined I can play basketball with the big boys or in this case with my older brothers. They let me join their weekly game made up primarily of guys anywhere from 19-21. I am the mascot, the youngest, the kid. However, I play hard and with a chip on my shoulder. I don’t back down from contact or a shot.   Eventually, I gain acceptance and am recognized as a good player.

Basketball has always been my favorite sport to play. It started with little league – Bustleton Bengals Boys Club. I was an all-star a couple of times and one of my teams lost in the championship game. Great times, fun times, young times.  Then came the games with my older brothers that were full of camaraderie and competitiveness though they often included a yelling match between my brothers or another player out of frustration.

As the years have added up, I’ve continued to play basketball sporadically including pick-up and leagues. A scrappy player is the way to describe me – never the tallest, strongest, or most athletic; I was full of wanting to win.

When I moved out to New Jersey, some people from my congregation invited me to play basketball with them. There were a range of people aged from teens to upper forties. I held my own and in fact, was often one of the better players.

Fast forward to this year – 2013. After not playing for about a year and a half, a few guys once again showed interest in starting up a regular Sunday game.  Was I interested? Hell yes!! I could not wait to play again. However, I was nervous. I had not played basketball competitively in a year and a half though I had been working out (http://larrydbernstein.com/trying-to-make-it-a-habit/). Also, the old guys had dropped out. The players left were young enough to be my children (I would have had to be a young father but you get my point).

I wasn’t sure playing was smart. Neither was my wife, children, mother, or friends. However, I was not going to let these obstacles or sanity stop me.

Well, we’ve played two sessions so far. After the first week which was only 2 on 2, when I played on 4 hours of sleep and a funny stomach, I was completely wiped. Not quite Willis Reed limping on the court for the Knicks but impressive for a 40 something marginally athletic English teacher. I played decently. Yesterday, or session number two, was three on three. With more sleep and no stomach ailments, I was looking for and expecting improvement. It did not arrive. My play was mediocre at best, and I got frustrated.

I have come full circle. Once the youngest on the court, I am now the oldest. I watch these early twenty-somethings jump, react, and move in a way that I am not capable of at this point. I am a bit jealous and long for my glory days. Instead, I find way to compensate.

Really, it does not matter. I still love to play, the camaraderie, and competition. Now, if I could just remember how to jump, I might be on to something.

P.S. Enjoy some photos from the game courtesy of my photographer – BR.

Old man in the middle - too tired to smile

Old man in the middle – too tired to smile.

 

I am dribbling and in no rush.  Slow it down - my new motto.

I am dribbling and in no rush. Slow it down – my new motto.

I was going to get that rebound.

I was going to get that rebound.

Surveying the court - hmm who to pass to?

Surveying the court – hmm who to pass to?

Look carefully - my feet are actually off the ground - might have been able to do one of those old Toyota commercials.

Look carefully – my feet are actually off the ground – might have been able to do one of those old Toyota commercials.

The Fabulous Baking Bernstein Boys!

That is our new moniker. Kindly refer to my boys and I as such.

Let me tell you of our exploits and you will surely agree we are worthy of such an esteemed title.

My boys and I entered the kitchen, and together, we produced a cake.

It gets better. The cake was edible. Shooting for the moon there – I know. Anyway, success becomes much more achievable if you have no standards and low expectations.

Let me back up. Yesterday, I decided I was going to take my rapidly browning bananas and make a cake (http://larrydbernstein.com/bake-me-a-cake/). It was a hasty decision for this self-proclaimed unskilled cook.

While driving to get BR from karate, I asked SJ if he wanted to join me in baking a cake. After answering a few of his questions (Who is going to make a cake? Why are we making a cake? Who is going to eat the cake?), he said, “Sure!” He suggested we ask BR. I was skeptical. BR rarely is interested in helping me prepare dinner. On the way home from karate, SJ and I asked BR if he wanted to help us make a cake, he consented – after a series of questions (Why are we making a cake? Who is going to eat the cake? Is mommy going to help?).

Silly Fabulous Cooks

Silly Fabulous Cooks

The boys were excited to start, so we began as soon as we got home. Well, that is after four phone conversations with my wife and mother. Where is the recipe? Is orange juice really needed for this recipe? We have no oil, but is that really necessary? If we have no baking soda, can I just put in more baking powder? My mother was flummoxed – “Most people make sure they have all the ingredients before they start.” My wife just laughed, “Sure, try it.”

I made an executive decision. I would add an extra cup of milk and another egg. We had sugar, flower, eggs, bananas – I figured everything else was optional.

SJ adding flower

SJ adding flower

BR gathering ingredients.

BR gathering ingredients.

Together the Fabulous Baking Bernstein Boys toiled – we gathered the ingredients we had. We took out the measuring utensils. We poured in the ingredients. We mixed the concoction, poured it into the pan, and placed it into the oven. One hour and fifteen minutes at 325 degrees – just as the instruction said.After eating some of the leftover batter, each of us bakers went off to do his own thing.

At 8:00, I received a frantic call from BR (I had gone to the library). “Daddy. Mommy wants to put SJ to sleep, and the cake is still in the oven.”

“I’m two minutes away. Ask mommy to hold off putting SJ to bed.”

I ran into the house, turned off the oven, and gathered my family. Plates, forks, and slices of cake were served.

Fabulous Bernstein Baker Boys sample their fare.

Fabulous Bernstein Baker Boys sample their fare.

A mmoment later the reviews were in. SJ – “You can have the rest of mine, Daddy.” BR – “It’s good. I just don’t want anymore.” Mrs. MMK – “It’s good. Really. I think we should take it to your Mom’s house.”

Oh well – more for me. I like banana cake better than them anyway even if it is dense as a rock.