Randall stood before his bathroom mirror – gazing at the enormous, glistening dome that was his head. Creams, lotions, infused oils, battery-powered skull caps; he had deployed them all in his battle against baldness. And they had all failed.
Now Randall was finished with products that complied with health and safety regulations. In his hand he clutched a small, unmarked bottle containing a remedy once used by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The eBay seller from whom he purchased the elixir swore that just a few swallows would cover even the most barren scalp with soft and luxurious hair.
Randall uncorked the bottle and hesitated – his intellect and reason were trying to exert their dominance. He had no earthly idea what he was about to drink. The syrupy liquid might send him into convulsions and cause his slow and excruciatingly painful death. On the other hand, it might cure baldness.
He put the bottle to his lips and drank.
Every gulp was more painful than the last. His eyes watered as the bitter fluid burned his throat and curdled in his stomach. The empty bottle fell from his hands and shattered on the floor. He grabbed the sink to keep from dropping to his knees. He cursed himself as he wondered if PayPal would refund the four-hundred dollars he had foolishly spent on a bottle of poison.
But then, the enormous dome that was his head began to ripple – as if a crazed colony of ants was swarming just beneath the skin. His tear-filled eyes widened in amazement as strands of hair began to erupt from his long-dormant follicles. It was like watching time-lapse photography of beans sprouting through fertile earth and reaching for the sun. A few minutes later, Randall gasped as he ran his trembling fingers through his full head of thick and curly hair.
Randall bolted out of his apartment, raced down five flights of stairs and sprinted to his local drug store. Once there, he grabbed a shopping cart and barreled to the hair care products.
Shampoos! Conditioners! Combs! Brushes! Volumizers! Randall had to have it all! He giggled like a four-year-old as he yanked the colorful bottles from the shelves, filled his shopping cart and sauntered to the self-checkout kiosk. Randall was happier than he'd been in years.
Randall's hair, however, was not happy at all. It had expected to find itself growing atop a youthful head, filled with wild ideas and uninhibited fantasies. Instead, the hair was bound to the pate of an older, more sedentary man. A man whose brain was no longer filled with the optimistic and foolish dreams needed to nourish such a full head of shimmering hair. Randall's hair was living a horrible lie and it did not like it.
Lacking a voice to raise in protest, the hair expressed its displeasure by becoming dull and flaccid. A sense of dread overwhelmed Randall as he felt his bouncy curls melting into a limp and droopy tangle. Randall's fellow shoppers backed away from him in horror. Some abandoned their carts and fled the store.
Randall was mortified. The experience of appearing in public with a head of hair that resembled a plate of slimy, overcooked noodles was an entirely new and unwelcome form of humiliation. He hurriedly paid for his hair care products, shoved them into plastic bags and ran all the way home.
Randall dashed into his apartment and tore open his shopping bags – letting their contents fall to the floor as he frantically searched for a jar of pomade. He found one that promised superior hold, scooped its contents into his hand and went to work on the lifeless strands hanging from his scalp. But his hair did not respond.
He tried everything: sprays, waxes, styling gels. They were all useless. Randall's hair stubbornly refused to be sculpted or revitalized. It was an unkempt mess and there was nothing Randall could do about it. He was left with only one option. Start over.
Randall strode to his desk, pulled a pair of scissors from a drawer and raised them to his head.
The unruly strands of hair immediately came to life – writhing like the hideous serpents that sprang from Medusa's scalp. The hairs snared Randall's fingers – holding them tight and barring him from using the deadly scissors. Randall's other hand entered the fray but was quickly captured and restrained by the remainder of his rebellious hair.
Randall struggled to free his hands, but his hair was not merely silky and smooth, it was tenacious and strong. His fingers went numb as the hairs continued to tighten around them. He careened recklessly around his apartment – cursing the unscrupulous eBay seller as he stomped on the bottles of hair care products that were scattered on the floor. His foot came down hard in a puddle of lemongrass curl refiner and his balance was lost. He was still struggling to free his hands as he slid across the floor and tumbled out of the window.
In a desperate bid to save them both, Randall's hair released his hands and clamped onto the window sill.
As Randall hung there, suspended above the street by his unmanageable hair, his intellect and reason returned to him.
Maybe being bald wasn't so bad.
Randall thought about some of the great men who had not only come to terms with their baldness, but flaunted it. LL Cool J. Gandhi. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The Dalai Lama. Patrick freakin' Stewart!
For the first time in his life, Randall felt completely at ease with his hair loss. He smiled knowing that he would soon be able to, once again, count himself among these great bald heroes.
Randall put the scissors to his hair and made the cut.