I must truly thank Jerry Anderson for my years of freedom. He is a good friend from my Maryland years. He looked at my careful comb-over one day and asked a very simple question.
“Why don’t you just get on with it and shave your head?”
It took several prompts over a six-month period to become convinced that this was a good idea. While you may consult your spouse, your children, your friends, and/or just take it to the Lord in prayer, at the end of the day it is a very lonely and personal choice.
But, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ve already noticed that in the family photo album you look pretty damned bald anyway and that is the way most of the world sees you. So, like, who are you kidding?
Jerry, who had done the deed some years before, kept telling me to simplify my morning. Go “low maintenance” he would say. Jerry was very familiar with the time it took to arrange the meager top crop into a spatially adjusted distribution and then spray industrial strength glue to maintain the spider-like structure. He was right. I looked at the mirror more that Snow White’s Evil Queen and the result was still more Seven Dwarfs than it was the handsome Prince.
I wasn’t ever going to be the fairest of them all and I just needed to get over it.
And those windy days (when the radio hosts joke about comb-over warnings) are really no joke at all. You can’t wear a hat because that will dent your sculpture, but if you don’t wear a hat your science project might look like a lightning rod by the time you get to the office.
And how ‘bout a day at the beach, Bubba? A dip in the ocean or the pool? You might look like Richard Gere going in, but you look like Yul Brynner coming out. (yes, I know he’s dead…get my point?)
So, one fine day I gave in. Armed with a new set of electric hair clippers, I became a self-taught stylist. Or, maybe more accurately, a lumber jack in a dying forest. I said goodbye to the failed crop and made myself officially a bald guy.
I then went public and waited for the reaction.
Nothing. No comments. No reaction. Not even from my spouse.
I knew that I was missing those 17 lonely locks. My head screamed, BALD!!!!! Every time I looked in the mirror, I said, “Damn. Look. I’m bald now”.
But the aforementioned world had thought of me as bald for a long time. I was just catching up with their perception of my head.
So, I embraced it. I started to develop a category of schtick entitled, “hey, I’m bald and I’ll laugh about it before you get the chance.”
Here is my bald man lexicon for those considered a transition:
I have enough forehead for four heads.
It now takes me less time to comb my hair, but more time to wash my face.
My face is not the map of Ireland, but my head has been inscribed by the trunk lid of my car.
I’m the first one at the family picnic to know it’s raining.
I have discovered that hat hair is not caused by the hat, it is caused by the hair.
I have saved over $1,000 a year in haircuts but have no idea what I’ve done with the extra money.
Jerry was right. I can take a shower, dry my head and be out the door in nothing flat. I do not fear the wind, rain, or snow; I can take off a sweater in the middle of a sporting event and put it back on 10 minutes later with no impact on my hair. I can work out without searching for a mirror or a reflective surface in the gym to determine my fright show factor.
In addition to haircuts, I have saved on combs, brushes, hair dryers, hair spray, hair coloring, and dandruff shampoo.
But most importantly, I’ve saved on that one thing we never have enough of in this life.
I am free. I am low maintenance. I am happy. I am bald.