Many years ago, when I was in my mid 20's, I began noticing something most of us men dread more than anything: I was balding. My head was beginning to look like a beige Easter Egg. And so I began to panic and frantically started looking around for some quick-fix solutions in the hopes that I'd be able to preserve my youth and avoid looking like Humpty Dumpty. At all costs, I had to preserve the nest on my head or risk succumbing to the Great Fall.
I went on a wild goose chase on the internet, in stores, flipped through dozens of magazines (no not those ones), in the hopes of trying to find a solution. I eventually went to seek the advice of a doctor (both a medical one and one working in a dark room in Venice beach).
Alas, outside of getting a very expensive hair transplant (or wearing a Turban), I was told that there was little that could be done. I just had to accept it. I would end up looking like Kojac in a few short years. A few weeks later, I was advised that there was an opening in a Sales role at a top Financial firm. The opportunity seemed too attractive to pass away and I decided to pursue it. My interview was set for next week. In preparation for it, I went to ask for advice from a successful colleague of mine. He immediately looked at me from top to bottom. "Well, in sales, they look for three things...". "Yes" I said, eagerly awaiting for him to say a good personality, strong communication skills, something along those lines. "The car, the shoes, and...the hair". This was like a dagger to my already aching heart. Face it, I told myself, my situation seemed pathetic at best: I had essentially no car (wasn’t sure if a second-hand bike would count), my shoes were hand-me downs, and, well, my hair was more like an abandoned garden with little patches of grass scattered throughout aka a malfunctioning chia pet. Was I doomed? Should I even bother applying for this sales job? Worse, should I enroll in biblical or pastoral studies and become a priest? Or perhaps I could study Buddhism and become a monk, meditating and making Monastic cheeses for a living, seeing as no one would hire me in the career I wanted to pursue, and likely no girls would ever date me either.
What I had forgotten at the time was that my roommate was going through the same issues with his hair (only he was in the latter stages of his demise). I went to ask him what he’d been doing to kind of ‘patch things up’ on his receding hairline. He told me he’d bought a coloring spray. All you had to do was apply it on your bald spots, and it would blend in with the rest of your hair. Simple enough right? I mean what could go wrong. Well, everything actually..
I rushed home that evening, and, seeing that my roommate was not home, I began to go through his personal belongings, desperately looking for this magical hairspray. Considering we both had the same hair color, I figured this would be failproof. The morning of my interview, after my shower, I began spraying my buddy’s coloring spray all over my bald patches. I waited a few minutes and looked at my head again, this time in amazement. It had worked, and my head now seemed fuller than Samson's (how else do you think he got Delilah??). Off I went, determined to land this job.
It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day, in mid June. It was, also, much to my displeasure, the beginning of hay fever season. Today though, the pollen must have been worse than ever, and the urge to rub my itching eyes got the best of me. I arrived at the meeting 10 minutes early, as per usual. I sat there and, being the anxious type, I began to sweat a little. I felt nervous despite the fact I firmly believed I was the ideal candidate for the job. I was then called into a room and was told to wait there and that three people would be interviewing me: The Sales Director, a lady in HR, and another person from the Sales team. In they came moments later, and I noticed, as I assertively walked towards them with my shining new shoes and “enhanced” looks, that the HR lady was looking at me in a peculiar fashion. They began by thanking me for attending and we all sat down. The HR lady, clearly looking uncomfortable, asked me if I wanted a glass of water. Not a coffee or tea, as they usually ask before the "grilling" session begins, but just plain old water (how cheap of them I thought). “Are you feeling ok?” asked the Sales Director, while the HR lady was out of the room. “I feel great, it’s such a beautiful day outside” I answered, thinking, naively, that he was just doing some small talk. "Would you like some more water?". "No, no I'm fine thanks". The interview lasted a mere 15 minutes, until they decided to wrap it up by asking me if I had any further questions. I asked a couple of questions, and concluded by asking what the timeline was for the future hiring. “We’ll keep you posted, we have many, many candidates” the Director responded, oddly putting a lot of emphasis on the word ‘many’. As I left the interview room I headed to the washroom, downstairs in the food court. I was walking over to the urinal, when something shocking caught my attention and got my heart rate racing as if I’d just seen a ghost. You see, much to my horror, the spray paint I’d used for camouflaging my bald spots, had dripped down all over my forehead and cheeks. I looked like a hybrid of Frankenstein and Mikhail Gorbatchev. To make matters worse, my eyes were completely puffed up and bulging out like an alien (happens during allergy season when you rub your eyes profusely), as well as being pitch -red. To boot, my hair was all over the place thanks to the strong wind tunnel I had encountered on my way to the interview. At best, I looked like someone who’d spent the night sucking on a gravity bong in a jail cell. I stared at myself in the mirror for a few minutes, shaken and embarrassed. But instead of bursting out in tears and getting angry, I inexplicably exploded into a bout of uncontrollable laughter, oblivious to the fact there was an older man washing his hands next to me and who seemed amused as well.
How could this have happened to me on such an important day? I immediately called my friend and told him what had happened. “You imbecile” he scoffed on the other line “You were supposed to use a second spray to keep the head paint in place, to keep it from dripping all over!”. Needless to say, I did not get that coveted sales job. But I did learn a lesson that day: You CAN'T fight what Mother Nature has intended for you. That afternoon, on my way back home, I kept repeating to myself over and over again: LEAVE THE HAIR ALONE, Humpty Dumpty, and just focus on getting the shiny shoes and that beautiful car.