The Hairpiece


First of all, it’s called a “Hair System” and those that know me well (and some that don’t know me that well) know that I had one for quite a few years.  I started thinning on top when I got into my late twenties and it really bothered me.  When I was a kid I had a really full, thick head of hair. But I had a nervous habit of twisting it into knots and then pulling it out. I would later find out that this is called trichotillomania. Although back in the seventies, it was called, “PAT, DAMMIT, QUIT TWISTING YOUR HAIR!”.  I didn’t always pull it out, sometimes I left the knots in. Then  Mom or dad or Grandpa Fahrenkrug would take me in to see Nick the Barber to which he would always say in his Greek accent, “Whadya got gum in your hair?” Needless to say, I think this is why my hair starting thinning.   So, I think I was about 27 or 28 when I  went and got a hair loss consultation and a couple of weeks later, I had a FULL head of hair again! 

Having a full head of hair made me feel really good.  I always said it is no different than getting cosmetic surgery, but this was easy and there was no pain or botox involved.   All those infomercials about hair replacement systems??  They are absolutely true.  You CAN go swimming, drive in the convertible with the top down, wash your hair every day, etc.  There are A LOT of people running around with these “systems” and you would never know it.  Of course I…….. could spot one a mile away.  It should not be a surprise to anyone that I was EXTREMELY self conscious about my hair system and how it looked.  My stylists who all became great friends, knew how fussy I was and they also knew that there was probably an 85% chance that I was going to be coming back the morning after I got a new “fitting” because I couldn’t style it like they did.  I often joked about hiring them to come to my house every morning to do my hair.

Even though I liked my hair system, there were a couple of things that didn’t always go well.   For those that don’t know (which is probably most) what happens is you go in about every two weeks to get your system revitalized which is why you always have two.  When you go in they take the soon to be revitalized one off and put the newly revitalized one on.  The top of your head is shaved completely bald, but the hair on the back and sides of your head stays and just gets trimmed up, like a regular haircut.  The goal is to have your real hair blend in with the hair system on top. It actually works really well as long as you can get the color to match. The system is glued to your scalp with a type of cosmetic adhesive.  In my case, I also needed some tape because the glue didn’t always stick around the edges.   As I got closer to my two week appointment, sometimes the edges would start to lift up.  Now……. not an issue, as long as I didn’t go for that convertible ride without a hat on.  I will never forget one of the days before I was due for my appointment.  It was an extremely windy day….I mean, brutally windy……. and I was at a cemetery for a burial.  I was seriously concerned that the “flaps” (edges) were going to be lifting and of course I couldn’t wear a hat.  I was the funeral director.  Besides it was about 95 degrees.  Well, everything worked out fine and my hair didn’t fly away with the wind.  But, on the way to the car after the burial was over, the Priest said to me, “Boy it sure was windy, I wonder what somebody with a hairpiece would have done…….. it probably would have flown away”.  Then he looked at me and kind of smiled………I couldn’t believe it!  He knew!  All I could do was laugh and say, “Yeah, that might have been kind of funny”.

There was also another day I will never forget, and the reason I had the idea for this blog:

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was out Sturgeon spearing with my friend. This was back when you could sit all morning, from sun up till sun down.   They were always long days, but we had a lot of fun.  We probably missed a lot of Sturgeon swimming through because of all the goofing around we did.   Well, it was getting close to the end of the day and I was getting bored.   My friend was standing up and I was sitting on a chair and so just for the hell of it, I wound up and pretended like I was going to give him a huge Charlie Horse.  A “two for flinchin” kind of thing.  Now, might I mention…….. the next day I had an appointment at the hair system place.  My hair system was loose.  Very loose.  In fact, I was debating whether or not I could even go in to the funeral home in the morning without a hat on.  If we had anything going on,  I was kind of screwed.  So, needless to say, sitting in the Sturgeon shack, I had a baseball cap on.    Well, as soon as my friend realized he was going to get a Charlie Horse from me, he grabbed my hat and pulled it off my head making like he was going to throw it into the Sturgeon hole.  It took him (and me) about a half of a second to realize that more than my hat came off my head.  There I sat, looking like a clown (cause of the two puffs of hair on each side of my head) with no hat and no hair!  If I would have had a camera to take a picture of the look on my friend’s face…….I think I might have had to frame it.  Although it is etched in my memory forever. He did know I had a hair system and knew how it worked, so that was good, otherwise I don’t know what would have happened  All he could do was say, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, and I was laughing so hard I almost died.  I said, “Give it back to me so I can put it back on!”  So he handed it over, kind of treating it like it was a dead animal.  I put it back on the best I knew how and said, “How does this look”?  All he could do was shake his head.  So, I re-positioned it.  “How about this”?  Still shaking his head.  “Nope”, he said.  I said, “Hmmm.  Well, okay”.  So, I threw it in my backpack and put my hat back on.  We finished out the day with no fish, but a great story.  A story that I have told a few times to select people.  I’m not sure if my friend ever shared it or not, but my guess is that he probably did.  How could you not?  It is a classic.  Oh and by the way, I still have my Hair System somewhere I think.  Image


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