It’s Sunday. I’ve decided to make it a lazy day. The weeds in the driveway will have to get pulled next week. The hedge can keep reminding my neighbours how I’m not holding up my end. And those damned never-ending maple keys can go rake themselves for all I care. Instead, I’m standing in the Sunset Grill, ordering a toasted western on dark rye, for takeout. My old standard work-from-home Covid lunch go-to. In fact, it might as well still be the middle of Covid, as I haven’t shaved in three days or showered in two. Except I’m not wearing food-stained pajamas.
Linda asks how I am and says, “Stay. Sit down. Relax.”
She tells me I look good. She’s just being nice, of course, but it has its effect and I decide to grab a table. Why not, it’s my lazy day. I’m going to sit down. Treat myself to doing nothing but ponder the big questions and mysteries of life.
I take my seat and catch my reflection in the mirror on the far wall. As luck would have it, I’m seated directly under a spotlight. It’s penetrating my “hair.” Ugh. I can see scalp. Hovering above it is a Gaussian blur that can only be described as a thin atmosphere. A fragile ozone layer trying its best to guard against the overhead halogen. The glow of my pate reminds me of garden lights under a thin blanket of snow. But not nearly as pretty. No warm fuzzy feelings are evoked looking at this despair. Just a twinge of panic. And hopelessness. It must be the lighting, I think. Yes, the lighting, I’m sure of it.
I look for others unlucky enough to sit under these lights. There’s the guy who has a mini-barbell pierced through his septum and what looks like mini ram horns filling two large holes in his ear lobes. But he’s got a ball cap on. A shroud of shame for his shiny secret, no doubt. Chicken.
There’s the guy directly across from me, eating with his girlfriend. He uses some kind of thick cream. Brylcreem? “Putta dabba Brylcreem on your hair. Brow-wow.” (Great, now that jingle is going to be stuck in my head all day.) He has lots of scalp, this one. But the cream sticks the hairs together in clumps and actually shows more skin than necessary. And the guy one table over looks like his hair product of choice is barbecue sauce. He sips his coffee, looking a little hungover, and exhorts, “Oh yeah, that’s the business, right there.” I wonder what “the business” is. Is it the same as “the ticket”? Regardless, he’s as follicly challenged as the others. I’m pretty sure I’m winning against these guys. I start to feel better.
I order my usual eat-in mainstay: Eggs Benedict. As I eat, I contemplate how it seems only winos and rock stars have good hair. Why is that? Maybe I need to punish my body more. Drink more. Do illicit drugs. Get into a garage band.
Soon, I pay my bill, and tip Linda extra for the earlier compliment. I make my way along the Smart Centre path to the liquor store. I grumble internally about how this plaza looks like a transplant from a New Mexico suburb. Inside the refrigerated room of the LCBO, I spot a guy who looks like an aging rock star. Neon green leather jacket. White sneakers. Incredible hair. So long and thick. So luxurious. He’s like Trooper and Led Zeppelin’s love child. Around 70 years of age. He might just be the world’s most interesting man. What’s he picking up? Guinness. Of course. Makes perfect sense. He leaves, and I put down my low-sugar cider and grab some Guinness. If it works for him….
I’m home now, sitting on my front step, hedge clippers beside me, a cracked Guinness in hand, deciding how much I’m going to scalp my hedge. Ironic. I take a sip and contemplate the big questions. Why can’t hair be like hedges? Why can’t I have been a rock star? Why the hell did I buy this Guinness? I hate Guinness.
Along with being co-founder of advertising agency Grip Limited, and partner in ManleyUnderwear.com, David Crichton has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Club Silver Trophy, in Grade 7.