Monday, May 30, 2011

The Toupee

The toupee sat atop its styrofoam head in the bathroom. Its job was done for the day, and this meant that my mom and dad had gone to bed for the evening. If I knocked on the door and entered in my parents' bedroom to wish them a good night, my dad would drape his arm over the top of his head, as though trying to hide the truth of his perceived imperfection.

I am 59 and I will soon mark the 32nd Father's Day since I last saw that toupee. It always surprised me that my Dad chose to alter his look. For when I viewed him, I saw a handsome, funny, articulate, productive, passionate, protective, supremely bright man who needed no tweaking, no revisions. How could I imagine that he would have some of the same insecurities and doubts that plague most of the rest of us? Only after his death did my mom speak of my dad never believing and understanding all that was so exceptional about him. Only after his death could I gain some comprehension of why that toupee entered his life, and mine.

I am a numbers person, but it is hard for me to fathom that so much of my life has been spent without seeing that toupee. Each day I still fervently wish it served a purpose and rose to spend time with someone who showed all of us the best this universe has to offer.

The last time I saw my dad before he passed away, he was lying in a hospital bed. He was too sick at that moment to care how the world viewed him. The toupee was no where in evidence, and he did not cover his head with his arm. It was an image that haunts me over 3 decades later.

So, on this 32nd Father's Day that isn't, I remember that toupee with much fondness. It gave me many a laugh as it sat motionless, staring at me in the bathroom. I only hope that it appreciated the greatness to which it had attached itself. On a December day in 1979, the toupee firmly upon my father's head, was laid to rest.

If I could tell my dad one thing on this Father's Day, it would be that he never needed that toupee to cover his faults, for in my eyes he was perfect without it.


Marc said...

As you can imagine, this brought back a lot of fond memories. Funny, though, whenever I think of him I always picture him without it. Only on reading this did a picture of him pop into my mind wearing it. Either way, a truly wonderful “uncle” to me and friend to my dad.

Robert said...

We were 2 very lucky sons, of 2 very exceptional dads.