Monday, April 30, 2012

The Birthday Post

It was Saturday.  I had checked with the Mrs. and made sure I had space to swing by the barber shop; she had errands she could do with the children.  Had to make sure I had extra time to do what had to be done.  I dreaded the visit, but there was no way around it.


Frank turned to me and nodded.  I put the copy of Men's Health down and slowly slithered to the waiting chair.  Thankfully, the last customer had left the shop.  Frank took one look at my head and lowered his head solemnly.  "I anticipated this the last time you were here."  His tone was conciliatory.  It provided the needed comfort I was looking for.

My receding hairline.

I knew it was coming.  I saw it about eight months ago.  I would towel dry my hair after the shower, then brush it back...then the right side...then to the left.  And at each brush, a small little hair would float from my head down to the sink.  "No!  That's not your home!" I'd cry out.  "Fly back!  Fly back!  You belong up here."  But the crying out didn't help, because my daughter Tessa would come running into the room and yell, "Where's the butterfly?".  She'd look down into the sink, say "oh", then run back to continue her drawing.

"So, how do we fix it?" I asked Frank.  He stood back and looked down at the project in front of him.  He turned his head to the right, muttered "nuh-uh", then walked behind me.  I heard a soft clicking noise.  "So, how do we fix it?" I asked again, getting a little annoyed.  I felt like a '72 Ford after 350 miles, two engine replacements and rags wrapped around the radiator lines with Frank acting like the resigned engineer.

"Well, there's not too much we can do for the gap at the top." he replied.  "It's just going to get bigger and bigger.  I should have measured the space last time, just so I could start charting it's progress."

"You know, when you sweep up the hair after I leave, be sure to mop up what's left of my ego."

"Can't get around it.  We can try curling the wisps that are left in the front, but they're so thin I don't think it'll be worth it.  With your permission, though, I'd like to interest you in a new product I just got in this last week."

Uh-oh, I thought.  Here come the sales.  The formula that will add fatness to my stringy hair with the low cost of $45.00 per 16 ounces.  Just 15 minutes of massaging each morning, and I could walk around with a glowing head that will blind everyone within a 10 mile radius.  "Let me guess: quick results within six months or my money back?

"  It's a new product that's being marketed by one of the heads of makeup down in one of those Hollywood studios.  There're fifteen different cans, and each one promises the look of a popular actor.  It produces strands of life-like hair.  Sticks on pretty well.  I got my order in a little late, but was able to get some very promising samples."  He walked over to the corner and pulled out a small aerosol bottle with a strange shaped nozzle at the top.  Looking down at the label, he read "'Brad Pitt'."  He squinted, then walked over to the cash register and picked up his glasses.  "No, that's not right. 'Brad Pitt After a Monsoon'"


Frank looked over at me sheepishly.  "Well, I told you I got my order in late.  'George Clooney at the Red Carpet' was on back-order, and 'Ryan Gosling After Dark' was all sold out."  He walked over, still holding the can an inch from his eyes.  "'Expect the Angela Jolie's of your life to come chasing after you... the hottest man on screen.'"

"Frank, why would I want to look like I just survived a storm?  And why would I want to have another man's hair?"

"All of my styles are the trend these days.  I can fix any man's hair to look like Tom Cruise's, or John Cusack's, or even Harrison Ford.  But yours...well..."  He paused, turned his head this way then that, then said, "I might be able to fix it into a Jason Alexander."

"Fine!  I get it!  It's impossible and you're trying to be nice.  I'll try anything.  I'm just tired of having more hair on my back than on my head.  But I'm a redhead, and Brad Pitt is blond.  And I don't want to look like I just took a shower in a gale!"

"Well, your hair isn't as red as it used to be.  It's kind of faded with a little white show..."

"You know, I can't sink any lower into this seat.  Perhaps we could look in that magic box and pick out a red-headed actor and douse the whole head."

"Not many red-headed actors in Hollywood."

"The injustice of the entertainment industry." I muttered.

Frank began picking up cans then tossing them back.  "Let's see.  'Christian Bale with Bat-Hair'.  No.  'Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt'.  No.  Hey, here's Seth Green.  He's red-headed."

I was skeptical.  "What's the catch?"

"'Seth Green's Transformation in Buffy the Vampire Slayer'.  Don't remember that show that well.  Did you ever watch Sarah Michelle Geller a lot?"

"No.  But Seth Green's a great writer and actor.  'Transformed' may be a good thing.  Let's give it a shot."  Frank held the can 8 inches from my head and pressed the trigger.

There was an explosion.

"Aaaaauuuuugggghhhhh!!  I can't see!" I cried.

It was at that moment that Tessa walked through the door.  "Dad, Mom wants to know if we can go to Panda Expre...Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"  My supportive and sensitive daughter ran out the shop screaming.

"What happened?!" I asked, trying to blink the spray out of my eyes.  Frank was looking at me wide-eyed, his face molded somewhere between a scowl and indecision.  He glanced down at the bottle, then looked back up with an apologetic expression.  "Well, there was a smudge on the title.  I think it says 'Wearwolf Transformation' or something."  He reached for a hand-mirror and began to raise it slowly up.  "There shouldn't be any lasting effect, at least not for too long".

My face was a mask of hair.  Strands were pointing in every direction.  Frank tried to pull some of the hair back and make it straight, but it went "twang" and reverted back to the original position.

"Oh my gosh!!  I look like 'Teen Wolf''! Who would buy this thing?!" I screamed.

"You know, I think the make-up artist may have been on the B-movie list.  And I believe she also came out with a Michael J. Fox can that can do better than this."


Frank stood there, staring at my head for a while, then looked up.  "Want a shave?"

I walked through the front door with my jacket over my head.  Frank had shaved my face, then tried to even the top out with a crew cut.  The hair still pointed in different directions, but at least I didn't look like I was about to bite someone's neck off.

Annie called out from the kitchen.  "You're daughter is in her room, hiding under her covers.  Seems that she went to let you know where we were, and ran into someone in a Hallowee..."  She stopped mid-sentence, closed her mouth, then pressed her lips together..

"Comment...criticism...short editorial?" I prompted her.

She stood looking at me in silence, turning a towel over and over in her hand.  "You know, we've been teaching Tessa a lot about not judging people on the outside, but appreciating the work God does on the inside.  You might be a good example for that lesson."

Cruel, cruel comment, I thought.  I stumbled to the computer room and closed the door.  Dropping to my knees, I knelt there in silence.  The door opened and Tessa walked up and stood next to me.  She patted down the hair, and laughed as it popped back up.  I endured it in painful silence.  Then she knelt down next to me.

"Dad, are you sad?"

"Yes.  I'm not having a good day."

"Do you want to say Psalm 23 together?  We do that whenever I'm scared or sad."

"That'd be nice.  This is just something I need to...grow out of."

We knelt there together, my daughter sticking next to me through this short...though somewhat insecure...time.  "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..."


  1. Aww...Jim! Just remember Jean Luc Picard is a handsome dude...and so is my James! He just shaves it and I think he's plenty handsome. Hang in there....and Happy Birthday! :) Deb

  2. Thanks, Debbie! Then again...James plays bass guitar, and all bass-guitar-playing-shaved-head dudes are pretty cool!