BULLshot: James Tadd Adcox

BULLshot: James Tadd Adcox

PW: Does aging terrify you? Despite our best efforts, do we all become our

JTA: Ever since I was a little kid, my mother told me that I would go gray
early. All the men in my family did. My dad was mostly gray by the
time he was nineteen years old. I looked forward to it. I really
wanted to go gray at a young age, I wanted that contrast, a teenager
with gray hair. I pictured how I would dress, to go along with my
hair: scarves, button-down shirts, black pea-coats, fall colors. It
helped, too, that none of the men in my family went bald, so I didn’t
have to worry about that.

When I was around twelve years old, my dad stopped talking to me. I
lived with my mom, and normally I saw him a couple of times a year, at
least. But then it stopped. I gathered later that there were some
legal problems between him and my mother, something to do with money,
but I didn’t know that at the time. Perhaps he was embarrassed: he was
having lots of financial problems at the time, not just with my
mother. I can understand how embarrassment stretches out like that,
compounds itself: how one puts something off because it’s
uncomfortable, then discovers, before long, that the thing has been
put off so long that it has become impossible, psychologically at the
very least. Anyhow, I didn’t see or hear from my father for six years.

My first year of college it came to me like an epiphany that I could
just call him on the phone, that there was nothing stopping me. That
if I called him he would either answer, or he wouldn’t, and in any
case the world would remain otherwise the same. So I called him. When
he answered, his voice, at the other end, sounded exactly how my voice
sounds, whenever I’ve heard my voice on a recording. When we finally
met, several weeks or maybe a month later, he looked exactly like I
do, except with a full head of beautiful gray hair.

I still have not gone gray, don’t have a single gray hair in fact, and
I am now thirty. I worry that by the time I do go gray, I will just
look old.


About the Author

Pete Witte writes and is the BULLshot Editor for BULL. He lives with his family in Arlington, Virginia.