Of my many faults, some stand out more than others in my day-to-day activities. Being born to Irish descent, I contend with more than a few stereotypical issues I feared my first son would inherit, namely: bad teeth, skin and devout stubbornness. I am piously pigheaded. When my first son was born with a pretty good head of brown hair I felt like he was leaning towards his mom’s side. Good teeth, great skin and hair.
Then it all fell out.
Since then his hair grew back in but it transformed into a reddish, gold – something neither of us can claim to have had as babies or later, without the use of a colorist or bleach – and it’s now sort of a lighter brown. It just points straight down to the ground.
If you look at pictures of me as a baby, my hair was all in the back of my head. I looked like Gallagher (without the sledgehammer) or perhaps a very distinguished Jewish accountant named Sol. Growing up goy, I actually yearned to be Jewish, especially when I went to Temple with my friends or to their Bar Mitzvahs. I loved the experience, the community. I felt at home. And the potato pancakes? I was a lock.
Baby number #2 was a hair color crapshoot as well. He was born with almost no hair, and it’s slowly grown in over time. I’m hoping he keeps his hair. Hell, I hope they both hold on to it as I continue to shampoo, and take vitamins and count the lost strands in my hands every day. My hair’s not even that far gone, but I feel like a gardener who like to count his blades of grass. And we all know California’s in a drought.
Any other dads think about this stuff? Or am I insane? Some days, I feel like my life is a race against my receding hairline. It’s not something I enjoy talking about, but qualifying for the Hairlympics is just something some of us destined to do. And no one wants to medal.