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I have a love-hate relationship with my hair.

The hate comes from it being lousy hair. It’s very fine and straight, apparently a product of my Native American ancestry. Thanks a lot, Grandpa! Couldn’t you have left me a casino, or at least a nice collection of arrowheads?

It’s also always been thin (although not as thin as it is now), and I guess I’ve got my DNA to thank for that growing space on the back of my head, too. (On a related note, Emily and I have been discussing whether those little doily type hats worn by the officials of so many religions are really for religious purposes, or were they invented to hide male pattern baldness?)

I usually cut my hair fairly short during grass fire season, because it reacts to helmets the way my daughter’s hair reacts to her hair curler, only not on purpose. I put on a fire helmet, and when I take it off people start leading me to an ambulance, convinced I’ve just touched a live power line.

Also, I sleep during the day, so during grass fire season I often have to go straight from bed to outside. When I come off that pillow, it can look like anything from a purposeful Mohawk to someone who just got attacked by a power mixer in a Stephen King novel.

Not that bed hair isn’t a problem for volunteers all year round, but spring is our
busy season -- kind of like winter for psychiatrists, or October for canceling Fox Network shows.

If given a chance, I wash my hair immediately after getting out of bed. It’s not that I want to look good – it’s that I don’t want to look bad. It’s the same reason I rarely wear a hat during winter, even though my normal body temperature is somewhere between hypothermia and Walt Disney in a tub of nitrogen.

So I’ve got bad hair. Why not just get a buzz cut, then? What do I like about my hair?

What I like about my hair is having some. Mine may be no great shakes, but I’ve seen myself with very short hair, in pictures from when I was a kid, and I do not have the head to go without something over it. Someday I’ll be a prime candidate to bring the toupee back into style. Maybe I’ll get tips from William Shatner or Burt Reynolds.

I told you all this so you’ll understand why the announcement I’m about to make is a pretty darn big deal for me:

I’m going to shave my head.

I got the idea from Ed Anderson, who works where I do at the Sheriff’s Department. Ed is the chairman of this year’s Noble County Relay for Life, and he came up with the idea as part of raising funds for the American Cancer Society. He, along with Mark O’Maley, the Community Representative for the American Cancer Society, has agreed to have his head shaved if Relay for Life teams raise $100,000 this year.

Fighting cancer is a pretty good reason to do anything, but Ed has one of those military type cuts, anyway – what we really need is someone with longer hair, someone who treasures it and would be truly bothered if it was gone, someone who, if bald, would frighteningly resemble Uncle Fester from The Adams Family.

Someone like me.

Personally, I’d rather urinate on a live electric fence instead, and don’t think I didn’t offer. Maybe that would have finally put some body into my hair.

So I e-mailed my girlfriend about it. Why not speak to her in person? Well, she likes long hair on men, and complains every time I get an inch cut off, so I was a little worried she’d take the idea badly. “So,” I wrote, “how do you feel about the idea of me allowing them to shave my head if the Relay for Life teams raise at least $100,000 to fight cancer?”

She replied:

“I will kill you.


“Until you die.”

Emily is a person of strong feeling.

Eventually we came to a compromise. You see, I like her hair, but she’s not satisfied with it at present. So, I can shave my head -- if she can get a Mohawk.

Here’s the deal: If this year’s Relay for Life raises $100,000, I will show up at the Relay as one of three people to have my head shaved, in public, for all the world to see. Yes, there will be pictures, which I will proceed to post in the newspaper and on the internet. Whether you’re willing to look at the pictures is something you have to decide for yourself.

So here’s all that info, one more time: go online at, join a team (or contact team recruitment chairperson Stacey Lang at (260) 894-1418, or by e-mail at, or contact Ed Anderson at or

For $100,000, I’ll be rewarded with a free haircut and another column, with pictures. Do it for me. Do it for the people who don’t have a choice but to lose their hair, during their personal fight against cancer.

Do it for the chance to make fun of me. Whatever makes you do it.

It's not much ... but it's there for now ...


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 30th, 2009 10:08 am (UTC)
Why did you have to frighten me like that?

What have I ever done to you?

Looks at my fanfic postings, oh never mind, I know what I did....
May. 1st, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
Sorry, man -- I'll post a warning next time! :->
Apr. 30th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
Brave man. I am sure you will be happy to know, from Jenny's experience that it grows in remarkably quickly.
May. 1st, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
Yep, I remember Jenny! I have to say, it's probably braver for a woman to do this than for a man, but either way it's good to know that eventually it'll grow back out.
Apr. 30th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
Good luck raising the funds! And I have to agree with you. Head shaving tends to mean more if the person doing it is attached to their hair.
May. 1st, 2009 05:47 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm not a bit happy about the idea of being totally bald, but if it'll make a difference in the money that gets raised I'm ready to go. Besides, it'll all grow back out, right? Right? ;-)
Apr. 30th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Oh - you are brave! Good luck! *g*
May. 1st, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
Well, this might actually be the bravest thing I've ever done!
Apr. 30th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
Good luck with Relay for Life! My sisters did it and this year we're trying to get my brothers involved in it at high school. (Both brothers did St. Baldrick's Day, another shave-your-head-for-cancer-funds event.) I, too, have a love-hate relationship with my hair: it's a great color when summer comes--kinda reddish--and it's very soft, but it's too damn thin. My dad and both grandfathers have/had good hair, but I seem to take after my maternal grandmother instead, who also has issues with thin hair and hair loss due to diet and medications.
May. 1st, 2009 05:54 am (UTC)
I've wondered if my diet might not have something to do with how much thinner my hair has gotten in the last several years -- or if I'm just fooling myself and it's all aging. In any case, it's *always* been too thin, so there's something we can agree on!

I've got my fingers crossed for the Relay -- we don't seem to be doing as well this year as last, probably owing to the economy.
Apr. 30th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
Well good luck with the fund raising man, I am sure you will do well!
May. 1st, 2009 05:54 am (UTC)
I hope so -- thanks!
May. 1st, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Heh. Just watch out for people who think you're a skinhead. Though I suppose a firefighter is in no danger of getting beaten up.

I recently had my hair buzzed off and was almost immediately the subject of angry glares and shouts from passing trucks. (It's light enough that, cut very short, it can appear to be gone.)
May. 2nd, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
hey, I'm 46 years old and holding down two desk jobs -- I'm not the firefighter I used to be! Working on it, though.

I never thought about being mistaken for a skinhead, but you're right -- that would be a danger. Maybe I'll have to get a t-shirt that says, "I cut my hair for a cure!" or something. But the truth is, donations are light this year -- it'll take a miracle for us to make it to the $100,000 mark.
May. 6th, 2009 09:44 am (UTC)
I always thought native American hair was rather coarse. Anyway, I can understand where bed head would be a huge occupational hazard. Your hair looks really good short, though. In my opinion, anyway, so maybe it's a win-win!

I'm glad that you're shaving it off for a good cause. Sometimes it takes spomething like that to actually cause a person to make a big change in their appearance. Maybe you'll end up liking it! I'm getting my hair cut into bangs today - not for any good cause - and short, so may we both have luck!

Can people make donations outside of the county? I'll see if I can make a donation to help you guys get there. Not much, unfortunately, on a babysitter's salary, but I'm sure I could do something.

May. 6th, 2009 11:01 am (UTC)
Well, I haven't been around a lot of full blooded native Americans, but the hair in my family, and my girlfriend's hair (she's part Cherokee, like me) is fine (and I don't mean "great looking"!) Maybe it from a mix of other nationalities? My last girlfriend was black, and I was surprised at how course *her* hair was.

You should be able to make donations through the website: there's a place to give a general donation to the event -- but you'll have to check to see what the best way to do it is for you. Any amount is appreciated, of course -- it's not looking too good for us raising the $100,000 that's needed for that shaving event, but it could still happen! Maybe you could sell your hair. ;-)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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