Entering college in the years after punk eviscerated the remains of shaggy hippiedom — Berkeley excepted — my hair has always been short. Which may explain why, as my mid-life crisis curled its bony digits around my fragile psychology, and my corporate haircut stared back from the bathroom mirror, I decided to grow my hair.
“I'm going Fabio,” I announced to my wife. "Rocky is gonna have to get along without me," I said, referring to Oakland's most famous barber, who, he tells me, tended Al Davis’ unruly locks for 40 years. He seems proud of this.
With my hair testing the hitherto unexplored expanse of my ears, I passed Rocky enjoying a smoke at the door of his Montclair barbershop. He eyed me suspiciously. "I'm growing it," I pleaded, arms wide, open palms emphasizing fidelity.
But then a funny thing happened. People started treating me differently. "I can tell, you're an artist," a new acquaintance assured me at a cocktail party.
My reply that actually I was a mid-level engineer for a multinational pharmaceutical conglomerate disappointed her. It disappointed me as well. I imagined a different life in which my youth had been wasted swapping hits with Keith Richards in the back of blues bars.
I googled Fabio. Sadly for Fabio, time and gravity have scarred that iconic image. Sadly for me, my wiry coif recalled neither the younger nor the more mature Fabio, but fell midway between Richard Simmons and Donald Trump.
At work, a colleague suggested I was doing mid-life all wrong, and that a Porsche might be more appropriate.
Eventually, with my hair blowin' like a haystack in the wind, I went to a hairstylist, emerging once again within the bounds of corporate respectability.
People tell me I look younger, and that short hair suits me. Maybe, but when I look in the mirror, blandness stares back.
I’m growing my hair again.
With a perspective, I’m Luke Pease.
Luke Pease plans to up the excitement in his life next year.