Getting old sucks. I wake up in the middle of the night and pee like a race horse. My knees ache constantly. I have to eat gross Cheerios every morning to avoid heart disease. But the worst thing about getting old is the balding. About three months ago I noticed that I was beginning to thin on the crown of my head. I didn’t think much of it until my five year old son pointed at the television and said, “look daddy, it’s you.” He was pointing at George Costanza from Seinfeld. It was a low point in my life and I knew I had to make a change. I browsed the internet for a few hours but couldn’t find a single answer to my problem. I decided to attack the problem from several different angles.
First, I decided to get a free consultation from a local hair restoration facility. The online reviews were suspect but I knew I had to take the risk in order to get my life back. My appointment was scheduled on a Tuesday evening and I arrived early. Upon entering the waiting room I immediately felt a wave of anxiety. For one, all of the posters on the wall were at least twenty years old and pictured exotic, shirtless men with really thick and dark chest hair. It was confusing and for a second I thought I had entered the wrong facility. That’s when I noticed a young twenty-something guy sitting in the lobby reading a magazine. He had a bandage wrapped all the way around his head, with only the dome of his head visible. There was dried up blood on the bandage and he looked exhausted. He gazed up from his magazine to see me staring at him and said, “just got a transplant.” I gave him a faint smile and went back to scanning the room. The room was dusty and smelled like wet dandruff. The lights kept flickering and I saw the secretary fall asleep three times in five minutes. I was getting nervous and thought about leaving until I saw a reflection of myself in the window and could see parts of my scalp. I knew I had to see this through, so I waited for my doctor.
Unfortunately for me I would never actually talk to a real doctor. Instead, they sent out Scott, a middle-aged man who referred to himself as the “liaison” between myself and the doctor. His shirt was slightly untucked, he had several spots on his face where he had missed shaving, his hair was slicked back and leaked of gel, and he smelled like he had just bathed in cheap cologne. I had a brief flashback of when I had purchased my first car from a car lot by the airport. I was confident this guy had sold cars in his past. He brought me into his office and closed the door. I was tense and was ready to fend off any possible sexual advances. The blinds were closed and his desk was a mess. He sat me down at a round table and grabbed his camera. Without any advanced notice, he started taking pictures of my head. He then displayed them on his laptop. He had taken perfect angles and used perfect lighting in order to make my hair look extremely thin. This guy was good. I immediately felt like a piece of shit and was eager for help.
Scott proceeded to review my hair restoration options with me. Pills, transplants, PRP treatment and laser therapy were all discussed. And yes, they were all really expensive. He kept writing down payment options on a scrap piece of paper and sliding the paper across the table. It felt like some sort of negotiation. The lights started to flicker again and then I heard a loud scream from the neighboring room. He laughed and told me not to worry. I could tell it was a patient yelling and I began to perspire. I gathered the paperwork and told him I would go home and consider my options. He didn’t budge and started to write down more payment options. Again, I told him thank you and that I would consider all options but that I had to get going. He took a deep sigh and tossed his pen on the table. He shook my hand and pulled me in close. He started rubbing his hand through my hair and nodding his head. He said, “two months” and then walked away. I put my thinning head down and walked out of the office in shame.
Although the consultation was a disaster, I knew now that I had options. So, I went home and jumped back on the computer to do a little more research before making a plan. After two straight hours of neglecting my wife and kids, I finally made a decision. First, I emailed my doctor and asked him to prescribe me a hair loss pill. The pill, which was also used by men with enlarged prostates, supposedly helped slow down hair loss. There were several side effects, but I had to take the risk in order to save my hair and my marriage. Second, I purchased a six month supply of Minoxodil. This was a topical solution that I placed on the crown of my head two times a day. The only gripe people had about it is that it caused heart palpitations and left the hair oily. Finally, I purchased a laser therapy helmet. The online pictures made the helmet look a little bulky but I only had to wear it three times a week for thirty minutes sessions. The only major side effect was light shedding of the hair within the first few months. It had guaranteed results and was relatively affordable. So, I loaded up my credit card and took a deep sigh of relief. I was eager to get started. I was eager to get my hair back and renew my self-confidence. Five days later I had received all of my restoration items and started my self-treatment. I took my pill, placed the topical solution on my head and wore my new helmet for thirty minutes before going to bed. I already felt better just by administering the treatment. I made sure to follow protocol for the next several weeks. And then, my life started to change for the worse.
After coming home from an afternoon jog, I noticed a tender feeling in my breasts. I removed my shirt and found that my nipples were bleeding. This had never happened before but I could tell it was because my breasts were larger. They weren’t inflamed or anything, they were just bigger and fuller. This was causing severe chafing during running, which led to the bleeding. I wasn’t too concerned, but decided to keep a close eye on the situation in the event it got any worse. However, when I got in the shower I noticed an entirely different problem. After rinsing my hair, I discovered the drain was clogged, leading to a pool of bloody water at my feet. I reached down and pulled up a handful of my hair. I began to freak out because I could tell it was all from the top of my head and had just fallen out. I reached up to feel my head and could instantly tell I had gotten balder. Was this what they meant by “a little shedding?” If so, this was definitely not a little. I got out of the shower and gently wiped off my tender breasts. Unfortunately they had not stopped bleeding and I ruined a brand new white towel.
The mirror was foggy from the moisture in the bathroom so I couldn’t see the top of my head. I was too nervous to wipe it off. I didn’t want to see the aftermath of the shedding. I brushed my teeth and searched the bathroom cabinets for bandages for my nipples. Unfortunately, I was only able to find pink bandaids featuring inspirational quotes. So, my left nipple said, “You go girl” and my right nipple said, “You are a princess.” By this time the mirror had cleared up and I was able to see myself. The hair had definitely shed and now I had a giant bare spot on the top of my head. I was beginning to look like a medieval friar. I cried for about thirty minutes before finally pulling it together and getting dressed. I walked into the kitchen to find my wife and kids eating lunch. They all looked at my like I was some primitive species. My wife rolled her eyes and started scrolling Instagram. My son hid under the table. And my daughter informed me that I didn’t have to take her to the father-daughter dance and that she would just go with friends. I was not only losing my hair, but I was also losing my family. I was devastated.
The next day was even worse. After arriving to work, I began having really intense heart palpitations. By the time my students entered the classroom I was clutching the podium trying not to collapse. All of my students stared at me like I was pathetic. One punk even started to whistle the Mr. Clean theme song while the other students tried not to laugh. My heart was beating out of control so I started to rub my chest to calm down. In doing so I accidentally peeled off my left bandage and started to bleed through my polo shirt. I tried my best to keep it together and tried to pawn it off as a stain from my morning coffee but they didn’t buy it. The palpitations were getting worse by the second so I excused myself and walked to the nurse’s office. Upon arriving in the nurse’s office, I collapsed onto the floor. The nurse rushed over and immediately started checking my pulse. I kept clutching my chest so she thought I was having a heart attack. She went and grabbed the AED. I tried to tell her that I was not having a heart attack but she didn’t listen and proceeded to cut off my shirt with scissors. The nurse gasped once she saw the blood and the size of my breasts. Then she leaned forward and read aloud my bandage. I think she thought I was pranking her and she told me to “get the fuck out of my office you bald son of a bitch.” I stumbled out of the room shirtless and exhausted. I was able to get to the lost and found box to search for a new shirt. The only shirt I could find was a XXL Avenged Sevenfold shirt, but at least it was black and did a decent job of covering up my bloody nipples.
The heart palpitations ended up slowing down enough for me to finish out the school day, but I could hardly get the students to focus. They kept whispering about how bad I looked. It got so bad that the principle got on the loud speaker and announced that everyone needed to be “more understanding of our disabled staff member.” I was so embarrassed and asked my principle for the rest of the day off. As I drove home things just kept getting worse. First, my air conditioner stopped working and I was forced to drive with my windows rolled down. A few minutes into the drive I noticed something flying out of my back window. I could barley make it out but eventually discovered it was my goddamn hair. The wind was blowing hair off of my head and out the back window. I tried to lean over to avoid the wind but the hair kept blowing off. I looked like a dandelion in the wind. I must have accidentally swerved the car because a police officer pulled me over. He asked for my license and registration. He looked at my license and then at me and seemed skeptical. “This doesn’t look like you,” he exclaimed. Frustrated, I said, “It is, I’ve just lost a little hair since the picture was taken.” He laughed and made some sort of smart ass comment. Then he began to tell me that he had noticed a lot of ash flying from my vehicle as I was driving down the highway. I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t ash but was actually, believe it or not, my hair flying out the window. He didn’t believe me and asked me to get out of the vehicle where he proceeded to pat me down.
He accidentally touched my sore nipples and I let out a scream. He did it again and I screamed even louder and gently pulled away from his clutch, so he used his taser on me. I fell to the ground and started to piss my pants. A group of seniors drove by and started filming the entire ordeal. After I had stopped shaking and finished soiling myself the police officer apologized and told me that after searching my vehicle he had discovered some of the hair I had told him about. He actually helped me into my vehicle and showed sympathy for my situation. He told me about his uncle who had also went bald and how it ruined his life. This did not make me feel better. He asked that I not file a complaint to the police station for him using his taser. I agreed and continued on my way home, now driving my car wearing pants filled with urine and my Avenge Sevenfold shirt. About two blocks from my house I passed my wife driving her brand new BMW. She had a man in the passenger seat and I could see her running her hand through his thick, dark hair. It was obvious she was now cheating on me with another man. I guess I didn’t blame her. He had hair and I didn’t.
When I got home I decided to wear my helmet and sip on a cold beer. I was exhausted and needed some time to reflect on my situation. Unfortunately, I ended up falling asleep and rolling on top of the control buttons to the helmet, triggering the activation button to stay on continuously. I slept for five straight hours and entered a deep dream state. I dreamt I was at a Bruce Springsteen concert and he was singing I’m On Fire. I awoke to the sound of the smoke alarms going off and the scent of smoke in my nostrils. My face and head felt hot and I threw the helmet onto the floor. It was on fire and appeared to have been burning for a while. I put out the flames with the rest of my beer and ran into the bathroom. When I looked into the mirror I discovered that all of my remaining hair had burned off, including my eyebrows and eyelashes. I looked like Mr. Clean on meth. I was falling apart and was completely unhappy with myself. It was at that moment that I began to realize that it all wasn’t worth it. All the helmets, topical solutions and pills in the world wasn’t worth what I was enduring. I decided to ditch all of it and embrace being a bald man. I wiped away my tears and smiled into the mirror. I was happy to be alive.
Upon entering my living room, I found my wife in front of the door with her suitcase. She told me that she was leaving me for another man and that she was taking the kids. When I asked her why, she didn’t even look me in the eyes before pointing at my bald head. I told her I thought it was unfair to leave me for balding but she just said, “I didn’t sign up for that circus shit.” I started to cry and begged her to at least leave the kids with me but she informed me that the kids actually convinced her to leave me. I was in shock and started having flashbacks of when my kids were toddlers. I had a vivid vision of my daughter and son skipping down a hill in the park. They were so happy that day. And now this. What the hell was happening? Why was this happening? My wife left and started loading her brand new BMW. As I gazed out the living room window the smoke alarms started to go off again. I looked over to see the carpet was on fire from the helmet. Eventually the curtains were ablaze as well and I was forced to call the fire department. I ended up losing my wife, kids, and home that day. I now live in the basement of pharmaceutical lab. I share my room with lab rats. They are my family now. We are both currently being tested for a new hair loss topical solution. The rats and I are hopeful we can yield some positive results.