I'm speaking at a hostess dinner, a fund-raiser for a Christian school not all that far down the road. It's at least 20 years ago, and the committee in charge of the doings asked me to read a story or something. So I got my script in my hand when the school principal introduces me.
Not a line, not a jot, not a tittle of that joke remains in my memory; but it's a bald joke. It's a cute reference to what's showing between and behind the meager hair I could shape into a comb-over.
I thought no one knew. I thought I had hair, and I did. Just not enough. I felt slain. The butt of the bald joke was yours truly.
I could just as well have walked up on the stage in my underwear. He'd grabbed that deception over my head and pulled it away, leaving me naked before a gym full of people.
They thought it was a scream.
I haven't forgotten.
According to Rebecca Herzig, in Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, we're odd balls--humans that is--because in the animal world from whence we supposedly sprang, we're the only item on two or four legs who deliberately crop our manes, we're the only ones who manage our sideburns, our eyebrows, our nose and ear hairs (I'm 67 years old, for pity sake), even our (gasp!) genitalia. All our beastly forbearers just let it all go.
Don't I wish. I'd love to. And I would. If I could.
The fact is, I sin quite regularly, not having hair. I see a man my age with luxurious lawn up top, and I fall into awful covetousness, sure as Adam. Envy is one of the Seven Deadlies.
Herzig has much to say about our hairyness--or lack of it. She claims bushy 19th century beards grew abundant and abundantly among people from the west at a time when beardlessness, as in Native Americans, was determined to indicate, well, a certain "feebleness of constitution." Such a assertion made despite the fact that most white folks hadn't weathered February in a wigwam.
But all of that changed, she says, with Darwin, when no one wanted to claim a monkey on the tree that goes public on ancestry.com. Bearded ladies were sideshow acts. Today, hygiene-driven Americans spend a fortune on their follicles, except me, of course. It's been years since I spent a dime on a haircut. On that score, I'm perfectly righteous.
But then I do have a shadowy beard, very stylish, I might add, itself a determined assertion to make clear that I can as yet grow hair. So there.
I doubt Rebecca Herzig believes in a Judgment Day or the bodily resurrection, so she doesn't say much about what shape cemeteries might be in when the trumpet shall sound. I've heard--I don't know this of course--that when we've breathed our last, our hair doesn't just, well, quit. It keeps growing. Orange City cemetery will have more Nazarenes than the New Testament.
I'm not worried about it. I'd guess our glorified bodies will look just fine. Either that or our glorified eyes won't make human judgments.
I don't know what to think about all of this hair business quite frankly, and I don't have any choice in the matter anyway.
I just want to give a big thank you to Michael Jordan who, more than anyone, made bald beautiful. I'm not making claims for myself here; all I'm saying is he paved the way, so to speak.
You want a testimony? How's this. I'm thankful I'm the way I am because it's been years since I lived a lie. From falsehood over the top, I'm free at last.
|This morning: me, my baldness, and my buffalo.|