went ahead and did it today.
Or, rather, had it done.
Still enough of it left to tie it back if I need to or just feel like it.
No biggie, just got tired of having to tie it back all the time.
The young lady who cut it told me I was having enough cut off to donate it to Locks of Love. They give it to cancer patients. I had done that a bunch of times before, but this time I decided I wanted to keep it. Have my reasons.
And back in 2007, right after Thanksgiving weekend, I donated bone marrow through the national Donation Registry, so I figured karma would let me slide on this one pony tail.
Got a call about 11:15 on a Sunday night. On my cell. Didn’t recognize the number, didn’t answer.
And they called again at 11:25. Then at 11:30.
Three calls later, at about 11:45, I got pissed. Whatever asshole it was didn’t get the idea and I was about to let them know that it no uncertain terms.
They identified themselves as being from the National Bone Marrow Donation Registry, apologized for calling me that late and asked if I could be in Berkeley the next morning at 9AM.
I was the match for someone who had run out of all other options.
Like I really need a reason to go visit Berkeley.
I called in to work the next morning, told them what was going on, and they said if I brought verification of the reason for the visit they’d give me a day off with pay.
Liz called in for a substitute teacher, took the day off with me to visit the shops on Telegraph Avenue by Cal. Look for neat turquoise jewelry and hippie dresses.
Down at Alta Bates they ran some preliminary tests, asked me a bunch of questions about my general health and asked if I might consider donating.
They told me that there were (at the time) nine million people in the United States in their data base. Another seven million world wide. If I passed, if the match was fully confirmed, my marrow would be going to a young lady in her twenties with leukemia. They asked if I would please consider the donation.
What’s there to consider?
They set me up with a series of tests closer to home, and within three weeks they called me to set up a date.
The Monday after Thanksgiving. For the five days prior a home nurse came to our house to give me shots to prepare me for the procedure. The first thing she did was give me an informational print-out on the concoction she would be pumping into me. Damned sheet was about the size of a wall poster, ten-point font, single-spaced, both sides of the sheet top to bottom, and I got no farther than the first paragraph:
“… this injection includes a strain of botulism ….”
Double shit and a righteous “the fuck you say?”
Seems it cranks your immune system into over-drive – uhhh, y’think? – and produces extra white cells.
Okay. Load me up.
Five days of feeling like I over-did things at a really sleazy sushi bar and I’m on my way down to Berzerkely.
My wife couldn’t take off the two or three days I’d need, so I had called upon my brother-from-a-Dago-mother, Don Bruno the Six-Toed Bear. He had owed me a favor, and being a Cal Berkeley grad he was more than happy to return the favor by accompanying me down to his old stomping grounds. Gas, food, pocket money provided. And they put us up in a suite at a local Bed & Breakfast.
The night before I checked into the hospital I bought a Cal Berkeley Golden Bears hoodie that I wanted to wear into the hospital, wear while I was recovering, and have it sent to the young lady as gift wrapping for the marrow.
Couldn’t do it. While they usually leave it up to the recipient if they want any contact with the donor, this time around there was no option.
Young lady was in the Middle East. Somewhere. And that was more than I was supposed to be told.
I made them promise me she would at least know it was an American that saved her life. A blonde-haired, blue-eyed American.
They couldn’t make that promise.
And we did it.
Six months later the only information they had for me was that she was healthy. She had beat it.
She lost out on a really cool hoodie, though.
Every time I get my hair cut and Yen asks me to donate my pony-tail, I remind her of the story. And I donate. But not this time.
Haven’t done it too many times since then. The haircut, not the donation. Not many haircuts in these seven years but donated every time but today.
A lady sitting next to me today asked if my hair grew really quickly, and I couldn’t tell her. My haircuts are obviously not on a regular schedule. Like today: you know how we have mid-term elections coming up? Well, this was pretty much my mid-term trim. Take care of the split ends and give it the appearance of more volume.
Took off a little bit more than what I had planned, but not enough to still her on the tip.
I hate having my hair cut. It’s just that I never know how much to have taken off. I can’t reach behind my back, over my shoulder to accurately point out where I’d like it to fall, and trying to tie it off just in the right spot and tell her to do it right there has never quite worked out.
I used to have my hair cut for free by a young women whose case I had at Child Support. She figured it was the least she could do to thank me for whatever it was I was able to do with, to or about her deadbeat boyfriend.
Fact of the matter is I would gladly have paid her just to sit and talk and have her run her fingers through my hair. An absolutely delightful soul, most assuredly easy on the eyes. Very easy. And she knew exactly how I wanted my hair – in the back to wherever the urge hit, layered on the side so I might be able to comb it back somewhat and have it stay in place for a change. My hair’s really fine, so it took some doing.
She always would ask me how much I wanted off, just to play it safe. Just to be sure.
“I don’t know. Just to where you usually cut it.”
“How far do you want me to go?”
“Uhhh… little bit past the shoulders, I guess. Middle of my shoulder blades. Maybe a bit shorter.”
“How many inches?”
And one time I turned around and just looked her in the eyes. Maybe, in hindsight, looked a little too long, but there was a point I had to make and I wanted to be sure I had her attention.
“Hope, my dear… that’s not the type of question you want to ask a guy twenty years older than you. Especially not a married guy twenty years older than you.”
She laughed (always a joy to behold) and assured me she was just being professional. “C’mon, how many inches?”
I pointed out to her that it’s not the type of question you really want to ask any guy…
… “I just need to know how inches to cut” …
… the reason being that we just don’t think in those terms.
At least, not accurately we don’t.
“Seriously, kid. What’s that gonna tell you? I mean, how many guys have ever tried to tell you…
I think I made my point.