March 17, 2009

As a lame man to his cane, so is a bald man to his...

[The riddle's answer is at the end of this post]

My dad-- a.k.a., 'The Silver Fox'

I was going through the photos in my computer-- about 8,000 of them-- and was sorting some old photos of my dad. Dad had gray hair from my earliest memories, although at first only at his temples. I thought it looked great-- and it still does, into his 80s. So I never minded the thought of going gray. However, things didn't develop quite as I expected.

My first hint came in India, when a serious eight year-old Phil told me, “Dad, you're not bald, you just have a really tall forehead.” I hadn't even thought about it, but, after checking in the mirror, I discovered that there was a very good reason that my hair had become increasingly easy to comb.

Then, a few years later, a friend introduced me to a barber shop cheap enough to indulge myself in a 'store-bought' trim. The old East Los Angeles shop actually looked new compared to it's owner, who proceeded to give me his standard '50's cut-- in the early '90's.

“You know, he told me loudly, “if you part your hair on the other side, you can cover up most of this here bald spot.”

“Bald spot?” I squeaked-- an octave or two higher than I'd have liked.

“Oh, yeah.” I mumbled, as I observed my high forehead approaching a bald spot -- both clearly visible in the mirror he'd lofted to give me a view.

My surprise, apparently, came primarily as a gift from heredity. For example, all my mother's sons are brilliant beacons of baldness. 'Male baldness pattern' is mostly inherited from one's maternal grandfather-- with some influence from one's father. Therefore, you can probably relax, dear sons, your grandfathers both kept their hair. However, my dear daughters' sons...

Have I missed my my top thatching? Not much-- except for the lack of insulation in winter and extra sunscreen in summer. Nor do I mourn as the brittle final product of each fading follicle passes into history; and as I slowly pass from balding-- to bald.

Me, a.k.a. 'The Shiny Fox'

Answer to the riddle:

'As a lame man to his cane, so is a bald man to his cap.'