Monday, January 14, 2008


It isn't as if my being follicly-challenged is of recent origin. I remember 15 years ago attending a Halloween party, and being offered my choice of tacky wigs out of a large punchbowl. From the lime green, blaze orange and mange brown offerings, I selected a bright red nylon hairpiece on a stiff fabric back that perched as snug on my slick pate as a baseball in a dimestore leather ballglove.
The part in this assemblage began over my left eye, but when I turned my head suddenly, the part remained the part of the first part, while my head became the part without the first part. I had turned west, but like some stubborn furry compass card the hairpiece kept its original position, the part a fabric needle that pointed north and south, bisecting my head from ear to ear.
Then there was the time in a local discount store when a Latino gentleman explained in broken English that he was looking for something to prevent hair loss. I walked down the pharmacy row, looking at the various products, and helped him choose among two or three Rogaine goos. My last act was to pull off my baseball cap, point to my scalp, and offer glumly "I don't know whether I'm the right person to ask, though."

Recently I walked into a warm hallway from the frosty outdoors, pulled off my stocking cap and then...I tossed my head.
Was I waiting for the sensation of hair brushing back and forth across the back of my neck, the way it did in the psychedelic 70s?
Was there some sense of recovering long-gone follicles, waves of hair gone by?
Perhaps I was enjoying a sensation of "phantom hair", the way an amputee gets an itch in a dearly-departed limb?
I don't regret the lack of hair. Instead, I live in hopes it may portend the future, sort of a reverse take on reading the future in the entrails of a chicken.
After all, my father and brother were graced with full heads of hair, which they both took to their graves at 56. My paternal grandfather, on the other hand, enjoyed the sun on his bare scalp as long as I can remember, and died at 96. Perhaps the resemblance in hairlines foreshadows a resemblance in longevity. One can only hope, can't one?

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