Thursday, June 24, 2010

58 days to Bar Mitzvah: unrelated rant

Dear hair,

I hate you because you lied to me. You gave me no more than 28 years that I won't even call good because for the last sixteen of them -- when it really counted -- you refused to obey any kind of orders, or even suggestions, that might have made our life together more enjoyable. And then, just when everyone else in Seattle was enjoying their hair the most, just when it looked like volume -- the one thing we had in spades -- was something they might value over all else, you abandoned me.

Actually, that's not accurate. You didn't abandon me. You're still here, just not where I'd like you to be. Thanks for deciding that it might be more fun to appear everywhere except on top of my head. It only makes me loathe you even more.

It's not like you were so great when you were around. Your unwavering commitment to unruliness just about ruined by teenage years. All around me people were doing interesting, eye-catching things with their hair. They were growing out different parts of it, letting it fall over their eyes, dying it different colors. Didn't it bother you at all to see the fruits of these positive, cooperative relationships between people and their hair? Didn't you just once wonder what it would have been like to relax and hang loosely, instead of standing at attention all the time?

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't have minded having someone run their hands through my hair back then. But that wasn't an option for us, was it? Our lot -- thanks to you -- was hour-long sessions with "thinning shears" and what I thought then was a life sentence of being compared to Big Blue, the Brillo pad spokescharacter.

Your left me no choice. I had to keep you short, lest whispered asides about someone's "Jewfro" ever reach my ears. So don't try to push it all back on me. That dull, helmet-like cut we sported from 1980-1984? That's all you.

Did you think that I was supposed to coast for the rest of my life on the two years during adolescence when it was cool to be the only guy with chest hair? Did you think you were doing me a favor? I've got news for you, hair; pop culture did not end with the pilot episode of "Magnum, P.I." And just our luck to come of age during a period that celebrated all that is waspish (and hairless). Everyone else is running around sockless in their Topsiders while I'm rocking the sock tan? No socks means four more inches of noticeable hair. Thanks for that, too.

And all along, the consolation -- what they'd tell me over and over as I struggled to tame you, having given up early on the options of a long or stylish coif -- was that I'd "never lose (my) hair." To that I can now only ruefully laugh; more of a snort than a chuckle, completely lacking in mirth.

One day in British Lit., Jay Everett and Kim Senft decided that my hair was "dense." Which is, we all know, the exact word everyone wishes people would use to describe their hair. How I hated to hear that my hair was "dense," closer in consistency to a particularly intricate bird's nest than spun silk. And how ironic that term became later on. I wouldn't mind hearing that my hair was "dense" now. I'd settle for "present."

Because it was only ten years later that John Roderick, now an indie rock star whose every iconoclastic word, it seems, ends up as a quote on someone's facebook page, pointed out loudly to me, in front of everyone at Piper Jaffray, where we were both temping, that it wasn't going to be "if" I lost my hair but "when." Thanks, John. And thanks for showing off now, seventeen years later, your ability to grow so much hair as to eventually resemble one of the Hatfields or McCoys whereas I go four days without shaving and i look like one of those drawings that looks like a face whether you hold it right side up or upside down.

"Oh, it's just your part," my supportive wife told me when I pointed out the clearing in the forest. In Seattle, those were the years of great, flowing, curly locks, when "big hair" was no longer a handicap. "Finally," I thought. "My unruly hair has found its place in society."

But of course, it wasn't to be so. You, hair, had other plans. Those plans were to slowly abandon ship, leaving me, at 45, to look like I borrowed someone's grandfather's forehead, to become one of those guys who always wears a hat at the gym, and no matter how much I protest and point out that, without a hat and without hair, there is nothing to stop sweat from pouring into your eyes, how could you blame fellow gym-goers if they assumed that I was sporting a lid to hide a follicle-free dome?

You don't care about that, do you, hair?

No. You made that obvious when you let me walk around Seattle during the 90s looking like some pathetically deluded baby-boomer, with this growing spot of nothing in the middle of otherwise ponytailable-length locks. For however many other members of the scene up there, at that time, who thought me the pitiful hanger-on, possessed of a hairstyle that would later find a home at ComicCon conventions and in the secret hidden dens of hardcore computer hackers, I hate you. You, hair, let me look like an idiot.

And then I saw the fateful photo, taken in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1995, of me walking around at an air show. "What's that spot at the top of my head?" I asked my wife, who years before had made the mistake of saying, "Yeah, I'm not really into bald guys."

But who knew then that it would turn out to be a mistake? At the time, my head lay under several cubic feet of "dense" hair. Dense, unethical, truth-averse hair. Hair with its own agenda. Hair that is not a team player. Thanks alot.

It's been over a decade-and-a-half since my hair revealed its true colors and began to betray me. Thank you, Roger A. Hunt and the Legendary Dr. Bandeau for being considerate enough to lose yours along with me.

And I breathe a sigh of relief every time I consider that present-day popular culture insists that balding men take a pair of razor shears to their heads and keep their remaining lettuce tight. Otherwise, who knows what I'd be doing? Jewfros don't translate into combovers, so I'd be walking around looking like Prototypical Middle-Aged Jewish Man, all crescent-shaped, with random strays sticking out all over the place.

But I don't forgive you, hair. I never will. You have earned an eternal spot on my blacklist, as if you care, and I rue any day I spent as a child enjoying your presence, including you in any of my boyhood secrets or trusting you to keep me looking at least presentable.

Shame on you.


Butter Goats said...

Oh don't worry. I would have set you straight long before any random strays sprouted. And as for your "supportive wife", have I met her?

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