Dancing Towards Death
Bishop Richard Holloway argues that losing his hair was a good preparation for ageing and death. 'The skeleton is the ultimate baldy. That's how we're all going to end up'.
Bishop Richard Holloway, with the aid of great poets and writers, looks back on his life now that he has passed his allotted three score years and ten and wonders what his decreasing future holds and how best to cope with it.
In this third episode, Richard is coming to terms with having exceeded his allotted Biblical span of three score years and ten while watching the world around him change out of all recognition and renewing itself in a way that he cannot.
He explains that he knew that the dissolution of his body had begun and he had started the dance to the grave when he noticed the skin on his arms developing the wavy alligator look of skin that was wearing out and coloured patches began appearing on his face like 'stains on old stone'.
In fact, he recalls, the process had started for him when he began to go bald in his twenties. He hated it and fought it in all the usual hopeless ways - buying pills advertised in a church magazine and combing what was left on top to the front of his head .
Caesar had been bald too and had actually started the comb-over fashion but, unlike Caesar, Richard's comb-over was never convincing and always looked sad to him. So one day he just shaved the whole thing off .
Now he suggests that losing his hair was a good preparation for ageing and for death - the final loss. "You could say that the skeleton is the ultimate baldy. That's how we're all going to end up so maybe I've been lucky to have had a bit of a rehearsal."
A Butterfly Wings production for BBC Radio 4.