humor, life, new old age, Writing

The baldfaced (sort of) truth

So you’re feeling pretty good. True, you’re coming up fast on one of the round birthdays, as they call them in Scandinavia, the ones that mark off decades. This happens to be the one with the 6 in front of the zero, but that’s fine! You’re happy, your looks don’t fracture mirrors or frighten cats, and most of all you feel just great.

You’ve got no suspicious bumps, rashes, patches, pains, shivers, wheezes, or excessive senior moments. You can still see where you’re going and hear what’s going on around you, especially some bozo squawking into a cellphone on the train all the way downtown. Your bad back has been tamed and you’ve probably gotten a grip on your more unhealthful habits. Why, it’s been years since you bought a fifth of something, threw away the top, and ended up in a strange bed or the neighbor’s flower bed.

It’s just another b-day! Heck, you’ve probably got two or three more round ones to look forward to! Life begins at _0. And then you see this:

Male-Pattern Baldness Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer.

No joke. This new study finds that guys with with “moderate baldness in the front and crown” at age 45 had about a 40 percent increased risk of developing this aggressive kind of cancer compared to others with all their hair. It’s not a cause-and-effect relationship, but a correlation that has to do with testosterone and a substance derived from it, dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Believe me, if it was a cause-and-effect, I’d be gobbling Minoxidil and frantically planting plugs all over my denuded zone.

I don’t know if my baldness is the suspect type. All I know is that before I was even 30, my hairs started abandoning their posts. At first they were discreet, like couples slipping out of the theater at intermission, but before long it was like the rout at First Bull Run. For a while I resorted to one of those hopeless comb-overs favored by members of Congress and middle-aged car salesmen. (If anybody has any pictures of me from those days, blackmail terms are negotiable.)

Eventually I figured out that lacking hair was one of life’s bigger “So what?” issues, and jumped on Tony Kornheiser’s bandwagon of being “Bald As I Wanna Be.” I’d tell people, “I’m not bald, I’m just taller than my hair.” But you can’t get taller than cancer.

I know I’m not Job, with “loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” I just wish the crown of my head wasn’t causing anxiety again, right now. Wonder if I could hold a birthday party in a flower bed?


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