Hair. Most people have some, if not on their head, then surely elsewhere, although then it becomes a private matter.
As my hair became more sparse, partly in response to parenthood, which gives even hair follicles suicidal tendencies, I decided to keep mine short. My thinning hair looks less noticeable now. I look just like all the other dads whose hair has fallen out. Life is easier now as well, at least in regard to hair maintenance. I look exactly the same whether freshly showered or just awakened, hungover, and wondering why there are two lipstick-wearing alpacas in my bed, one crookedly chewing on my underwear, and the other smoking a cigarette. Alpacas have a lot of hair, by the way. I was a bit jealous. As a side note, I’m never drinking tequila again.
The boy is nine. The first twitches of self-awareness are itching, crawling around in his mind like the ticks he often brings home from the woods and nearby fields. Fashion sense is beginning to render him senseless. He had decided to grow his hair long in front and on top. Apparently someone famous, of whose existence I was not even aware until told, wears their hair that way, and all the nine year old girls like this famous person.
There was a time, not too long ago, when he was quite taken by Justin Bieber, specifically his hair. I don’t know much about Justin Bieber other than what I have seen on TV, and on the internet. I know he had some trouble walking a straight line.
I found myself trying to coach Justin as I watched the footage, “Aim for the line in the middle, Justin! You can do it!” It’s unknown if he tried to snort the line or not. It was a short clip.
In any case, the boy doesn’t have the right kind of hair for Justin Bieber hair. Like mine, his hair is thick and wavy, and when it grows out a bit, there exists what is known as, “Bushman Phenomenon”. When this happens, the hair lunges at odd angles, as though leaping out, attacking anyone nearby, and perhaps itself. Entire spear and machete battles can be seen being waged amid the dense brush atop one’s head. Onlookers withdraw, stepping back a few feet, without really knowing why. They pull their children closer. It’s a quiet spectacle, one without definition.
Tonight, the boy has reluctantly agreed to get a haircut. I’ve invited the entire defense line of the Philadelphia Eagles to my house to help hold him down when he changes his mind mid-cut. Nine year olds, while not terribly strong, can be difficult to subdue, as they writhe and scream of tyranny, complaining that somehow, their hair hurts. Their one superpower is their vocal ability, a sound blast which can knock satellites out of orbit.
After the screaming subsides and the wayward hair is collected from the floor, I intend to make another boy from it. Perhaps, this one will listen when told not to burp in church, though I have my doubts. I was nine once too. Now, I am forty four, and I still don’t listen.
An older piece saved from the ashes of an older blog.