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puberty punched me in the face so hard i was nearly unrecognizable on the other side. the greatest victim to this unprovoked mauling was my hair, which is certainly no secret to anyone who has met me since the age of thirteen. before this adolescent milestone, i had silky strands just like the other kids, but as a teenager i was the sole member of a yet-to-be-established support-group for people with schizophrenic follicles. now i could enumerate a host of traumas i've endured because of this unusualness although the wounds are still tender and best left unprodded. but as evidence i will share one such event from 8th grade biology.

our class was asked to pluck a head hair and place it on a slide next to our lab partners. my cohort was mark davin, a stereotypically aggressive redhead who would go on to create great mayhem in later life. we did as instructed, getting our hairs on the slide and under the scope. we were then to study the hairs and sketch in our notebooks what we saw. i went first. it took me a moment to get the lens trained on the specimen and then fix the focus. i found davin's hair first. it was perfectly sleek and shiny. then i brought mine under the lens. it was not sleek or shiny. it was immensely thick with daunting barbs jutting out of its sides. truthfully it looked like a predator about to violate its wispy and unwise neighbor. and even more truthfully, it appeared to be the most horrible of miscalculation in genetic coupling.

my eyes darted from one to the other, horrified at the blatant disparity. i'm not sure how much time passed but mark became impatient and started pushing me out of the way. i panicked, fearful of what would happen if my secret was viewed in this magnified manner. after he cleared the way and began to look through the eyepiece, i grabbed the slide from the tray and let it fall to the floor where it broke in several pieces. what he or the teacher didn't understand was that i had to do this. i couldn't have let davin complete his assignment. he would have known. and with time others would have also. this is where my life began to get unique.

i consulted experts regarding my malady. these were hair stylists. these were also vulnerable times because not only could i not conceal my disfigurement from them (they actually had to touch it), i had to confide in them for help. imagine the looks on their faces as i walked in and sat in their chair. i can only liken these polite faces to what john merrick must have experienced when he stood next to someone on public transportation (this to a 14 year old at least).

after many years of this i met larry. larry evilsizor. he used his skills and healing hands to exorcise the demons that constantly grew out of me. he was the first to take my abomination and tame it, teaching me to live with it and for this i am forever in his debt. sadly larry has left our humid city for the utopian state of california, his birthplace. larry's legacy will be setting a lofty precedent for an as of yet unidentified sap who will be asked to replicate his genius. well, that and being a compelling friend over the years. best of luck lawrence. my hair will miss you.

SEP2004

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