It was never a relationship that was going to last. There were too many factors involved. Genetics, for one, probably played the biggest role. Irresponsible decisions I made in my youth had something to do with it, too. Eventually, the decisions you make do have a way of catching up to you.
So, based on the fact that my Grandfather was bald, and that I was promiscuous with a variety of baseball caps and gel products for nearly two decades, I stand here before the mirror, visually confirming the baldness I have feared for so many years.
“Whoa, Dad,” said my son the other day, as I knelt down to retrieve the basketball we were shooting. “You have a hole in your hair.”
“Huh?” I said.
“I’m not joking.” I knew he wasn’t, based on his truly mortified look. He even reached up to his head to ensure that this hair loss wasn’t some sort of family epidemic.
I implored my son to take a photo of my diminished scalp so that I would have visual proof. He hesitated at first but knew he had to do this, despite how it might break my heart.
The evidence was stark. My head was beginning to adopt the familiar horseshoe look I have so feared since the mid-1990s. It was like an alien had secretly landed on my head and designed a personal crop circle just for me.
“Holy shit,” I said, apologizing to my son immediately for my outburst.
“I get it, Dad,” he said. “I’m nine. I’ve heard it all before.”
My hair had been receding for years, but that was never alarming to me. Receding hairlines are kind of cool. As long as the recession wasn’t meeting up with an emerging bald spot, I was in a good place.
Not that my hair was ever glorious or anything, even when it was fully maned. I never had grand illusions of looking like Bon Jovi, circa 1986. The mini-mullet I grew in 1989 didn’t go very well.
My Grandfather and one uncle had the horseshoe for as long as I could remember. “You get your hair from your mom’s dad,” came all the warnings. Time was on my side all those years ago, so I was unflustered by these unnecessary proclamations.
In my twenties, I would utilize a tight-fitting baseball cap to participate in athletics, and then gel the hell out of my hair when I went out. Guilty of laughing at the television testimonials from men who regrew their hair from a variety of chemical-laden products, I vowed never to resort to such vanity. However, a man who can’t relate to a situation through personal experience should not make such bold statements. Once karma and fate get wind of it, you are in deep trouble.
Nowadays, I look at combs with melancholy, knowing that I’ll never again run one through my once flowing locks. I also envy older gentlemen with gray hair. I always thought of gray hair as a rite of passage from youth to wisdom and insight. Like flabby necks and age spots, however, we must endure these harrowing inevitabilities. Hair today, gone tomorrow.