News from ABC and FOX about potential hair restoration breakthroughs makes me think back to a traumatic discovery in my first year of marriage.
While descending the staircase in our first apartment, I was at just the right angle to the mirror to see the back of my head the way everyone ELSE saw it.
I’m not sure what I said when I went running to my wife for solace, but it probably bore an uncanny resemblance to the scene in the 1942 movie “Kings Row” in which Ronald Reagan awoke to find both legs amputated by a deranged surgeon and screamed, “Where’s the rest of me???”
Just 14 years earlier, some of my high school classmates and I had staged a “celebrity roast” for a follicle-challenged teacher, complete with corny gags (“Mr. Holt’s hair is wavy – it’s waving goodbye”) and everyone trying to polish his shiny dome with Windex. I guess my then-shaggy bangs kept me from seeing karma on the horizon.
Mr. Holt took the good-natured joshing well, but I now realize that our behavior was a form of bullying. Many of us lead lives of “quiet desperation”, walking the tightrope and trying to retain some shred of dignity. Having an old classmate or ornery co-worker exclaim “Whoa!” and point out a bald spot or a paunch or a facial blemish can be enough to shatter someone’s fragile self-image.
Call me overly sensitive; but at best, bald people are the object of PROFILING. Admit it: a receding hairline sends you vibes of “old” or “boring” or “unhealthy” or (my favorite) “Hey, fertile ladies, check it out – this dude would make a really great UNCLE for your children.”
We baldies are tired of hoarding caps, making excuses about “grass doesn’t grow on a busy street” or charitably describing ourselves as “balding.” (Most of us are bald-ING in the same sense that Mitt Romney is los-ING the 2012 election.)
I’m not looking for pity. I want to eliminate the condition that REQUIRES pity. I wish I could look at Ron Howard without inevitably thinking “If only Opie hadn’t killed that baby bird, maybe this curse wouldn’t have struck him.”
FDA approval of the cure can’t come too soon for me, but researchers who’ve worked wonders with mouse experiments warn that several obstacles still remain. These include “angling, positioning, hair cycling and getting the mice to quit looking at themselves in the mirror, wearing little biker jackets and smoking in the boys’ room.”
While we’re waiting for a cure, perhaps the government could make productive use of that controversial National Security Agency (NSA) data and level the playing field. People with readily apparent shortcomings such as thinning hair or a stutter need something to use against “perfect” people. Then they could say “I’ll reflect the light from my forehead into your mouth so everyone can see your malformed uvula” or “Yes, my hair has fallen out – just like I fell out of my chair after hearing that story about you that DIDN’T stay in Vegas.”
Ironically, once we finally get the cure, there will be a whole new round of baldness as pharmaceutical executives pull their hair out while whimpering, “There must be SOME way to keep this drug from becoming generic!”