Willie is growing his hair out.
Despite having the follicle wherewithal to produce a full head of hair, he’s been shaving it since before we met.
“That’s how they get ya,” he says, mugging for himself in the mirror. “Big Hair wants you to give up your ability to shave your head and pay them to do it for you.”
“Yeah, you know. Like Big Pharma. The industrial complex behind the hair-cutting industry. It won’t be long before only outlaws are cutting their own hair.”
“So what do you suppose the thinking behind that is?”
Willie rolls his eyes. “Isn’t it obvious? First we’re paying to have someone else cut our hair, next thing you know we’re paying others to wash our cars –“
“—or shave our cats’ butts.”
“That,” he says, pointing a warning finger at me, “is a necessary part of our economy.”
“Hmm,” I concede. No point getting into an argument over that one.
I glance at Willie. His hair is much darker than one would expect, had one only seen him clean shaven. Not quite black but darker than brown, he has one of the most pronounced widow’s peaks I’ve ever seen. A cross between Bela Lugosi and Count Chocula, his hair appears to have been drawn onto his skull by someone with a cartoon-ish sense of humor and more felt-tip markers than he knows what to do with.
He’s done this before, tried to grow his hair out. His stick-straight hair grows, reaching for the sun, refusing to lie down until it is well over two inches long, giving him the appearance of having recently discovered something quite shocking…
I snap my fingers. “I just figured it out,” I say.
He looks at me expectantly.
“Wooly Willy. Remember the guy with the magnetic filings? You dragged them around with a special pen, gave Wooly Willy different hairstyles, facial hair?”
Willie shakes his head somewhat sadly. Once again, I’ve failed to appreciate his struggles. One can almost hear him: Today it is his hair; tomorrow it will be my suspicions that one of the reasons he refuses to fix the car’s passenger door – it can only be opened from the outside – is that he enjoys the admiring glances so many women shoot him when he opens my door.
You can almost hear them thinking aloud. “That car appears to be on its last legs – is that balsa shims and shoelaces holding the front bumper on? – yet he comes around to open the door for her. What a gentleman!”
“I do not look like Wooly Willy,” he says, perhaps a trifle defiantly.
“No, no, of course you don’t,” I demur.
But he does.