I used to feel a bit of scorn for women who groused about gravity, and its effects on them as they age. They’d complain about how things were sagging, drooping, and in general being pulled down by gravity as they grew older. I thought that they were making excuses for their own failings in not keeping themselves up.
That changed recently, and I now have a great deal of sympathy for them. And that’s because lately I’ve discovered that gravity is no sexist force — it’s starting to wear on me, too.
Recently, a visit to the doctor’s gave me some horrifying news. The nurse asked me my height, and I answered as I have for over 20 years — just under six feet tall. (Saying 5’11 3/4″ seemed a bit vain.) She frowned and measured, and pronounced me 5’10”. I was shocked and demanded a second opinion. Then a third. And they all agreed — gravity had robbed me of almost 2 inches of height.
As I thought about that, I realized that gravity has been wearing on me in other ways, too. The hair on the top of my head has been thinning more and more, my receding hairline and my expanding bald spot growing closer and closer until they have finall merged and given me a nearly-perfect “monk’s fringe.” I blamed it on genetics and dying hair follicles, but the incident about my stolen height suddenly crystallized matters:
The hair hadn’t fallen out. It had fallen victim to gravity, and had ceased growing up and out. Instead, it was growing inward and down, and was now emerging from my nose and ears.
Gravity, you may be the weakest of the four fundamental forces, but you are certainly the cruelest.